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Giulia Torino

Giulia Torino

Supervisor: Dr Felipe Hernández

Entry year: 2016/17

Architectural and Planning History & Theory

Cultural Studies

Postcolonial and Decolonial Philosophy

Urban Studies


Giulia has completed her BArch (summa cum laude) between the University IUAV of Venice and the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) of Chicago, and her MSc in Urban Design (summa cum laude) between the University of Sheffield and the University IUAV of Venice. During her Bachelor she volunteered (NGO) as assistant architect and research assistant in the Republic of Benin; during her MSc she was visiting researcher in Urban Planning at the University of Los Andes in Bogotá. After her Masters, she worked as Urban Designer at the Department of City Planning in New York City, and as editor in two academic journals of architectural and urban studies (Italy; Spain).

In the a.y. 2016/17, Giulia has co-convened the Cambridge City Seminar, the international conference "Two Mayors, Two Cities: Urban Transformation in Cali and Medellín" (Centre for Latin American Studies; Department of Architecture; King’s College), and the Research Exchange at King's College, among others; she has co-founded the King’s College Urban Network together with Professor Matthew Gandy, and the interdisciplinary working group Urbanism in the Global South based among the departments of Architecture, Geography and POLIS at the University of Cambridge.
She serves as supervisor for the BA Tripos (ARB/RIBA Part IB) individual dissertations and for the course on "Theories in Twentieth-Century Architecture". She also serves as invited reviewer for Undergraduate and Masters studio projects at the University of Cambridge and at UCL, and as invited lecturer at the University of Sheffield (Masters in Urban Design) and the University Externado of Bogotá (Undergraduate Programme in Public Policy and International Relations). Giulia has served as editor for the Cambridge-based magazine of academic journalism King's Review since October 2016.

Giulia’s research problematizes the notion of socio-spatial “segregation” in a postcolonial metropolis of Latin America from the perspective of ethno-racial and colonial marginalisation and discrimination, raising questions about the role of cities, and especially of marginal and subaltern practices of placemaking, in cultural, social and political processes of social change. In particular, her work looks at issues of Afro-descendant (in)visibility in Bogotá, Colombia, and how they affect the meaning of occupational identity in segregated and marginalised urban communities, from the epistemological positionality of post-colonial studies and de-colonial theory.

Her doctoral research is jointly funded by the AHRC DTP and King’s College, and it is hosted at the research group Cities South of Cancer, that focuses on urbanism in the cities of Africa, South East Asia, and Latin America.

Selected conferences, seminars and symposia 

“Whose narratives on urban change? Decolonising the New Urban Agenda: A view from the borderland”, Urbanism in the Global South: Building New Geographies of Development Conference, Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), University of Cambridge (June 2017)

"Urban thresholds, urban as threshold: Toward a 'line-ar' analysis of hyphenated territories," American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Conference, "Contested urban territories" Panel, Boston (April 2017)

"The Mirror City: Between imagery and reality in Bogotá’s planning model," Inside Planning Symposium, TU Munich (September 2016)

"Narratives of a transformation: The role of space in the advent of neoliberal planning in Bogotá," International Planning History Society (IPHS) Annual Conference, TU Delft (July 2016)


Research Interests

Some include:

-       The intersections of culture, politics and placemaking and their impact on identity and community development;
-       Critical geographies of segregation in postcolonial cities;
-       The symbolic and the political in urban infrastructures, at the threshold of architecture and anthropology;
-       Land occupations by informal settlers;
-       Tactics and improvisation in the city;
-       Decoloniality, Post-colonialism and Post-structuralism;
-       Urbanisation & Globalisation