Professor Alessandro Aurigi

Professor Alessandro Aurigi

Professor of Urban Design

School of Art, Design and Architecture (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)

Professor Alessandro Aurigi can be contacted through arrangement with our Press Office, to speak to the media on these areas of expertise.
  • Architecture
  • Urban regeneration
  • Public space
  • Smart cities
  • Urban design
  • Public participation


I am Professor of Urban Design within the School of Art, Design and Architecture, and teach in the Architecture subject.
At Plymouth I have served as Head of the School of Architecture, Design and Environment (2009-2016), Associate Dean for Research in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities (2016-2019), and Associate Dean for Internationalisation in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business (2016-2022)
I have previously worked at:
Newcastle University (2001-2009) where I was Deputy Head of School and Director (Head of Dept) of Architecture within the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape
University College London (1999-2001) where I was Research Fellow at CASA (Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis) and then Lecturer at the Bartlett School of Planning


I studied Architecture and Urbanism in Florence (Italy) between 1982 and 1989, obtaining a 1st class Laurea in Architecture (110/110) [this is a long integrated degree equivalent to M.Arch in the UK]
I have a PhD in Urban Planning from Newcastle University
I am Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Roles on external bodies

2018 – to date Member of the Peer Review College of the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship Project

2016 - to date Member of the Peer Review College of the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) UK



Teaching interests

I currently teach in the 'mainstream' architectural design modules at Plymouth, leading the semester 1 design module for year 3 of the BA course.

In the past I have taught in the M.Arch at Plymouth, and led various modules in the Architecture department at Newcastle. These included design studio, but also specialist modules such as 'Architecture in the Information Age', 'The Digital City' and others, more closely associated with my research expertise. At UCL/Bartlett I was teaching in the Planning school modules like 'Planning Skills' and 'Planning Analysis'.

At Newcastle I led two postgraduate programmes: the MSc Digital Architecture and the MSc Architecture.

Apart from my directly research-related interests - urbanism in general and digital urbanism/urban design - my teaching in architecture focuses on three main areas: dealing with urban spaces / urban design; the agency of architecture/space in helping tackling social challenges; and working with students on understanding and shaping a coherent and holistic design process/approach.

Staff serving as external examiners

2016-2020 External examiner, MSc Urban Design and International Planning, School of Environment, Education and Development, University of Manchester, UK

I have also served as external examiner of PhD degrees, in the UK and abroad (Australia, Finland, South Africa, The Netherlands, and Italy)



Research interests

Research themes I am interested and involved with are:
The digitally-augmented city
Recombinant architecture and planning
Urban Design, public place-making and regeneration in the information age
Design process, methods and approaches, and tools for design thinking (pedagogical research)

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

PhD (Newcastle University) – Rodrigo Jose’ Firmino “Building the Virtual City: The Dilemmas of Integrating Strategies for Urban and Electronic Spaces”, completed August 2004

PhD (Newcastle University) – Xuefeng Wang “Defining the Role of Knowledge in Chinese Contemporary Urban Development” – supervision handed over when I left Newcastle, Xuefeng has since completed

PhD (Newcastle University) – Reham Abdelatif “Computer-Mediated Communication in the Virtual Learning of Urban Design: Can this Enhance Critical Thinking?”, supervision handed over when I left Newcastle, Reham has since completed

PhD (Newcastle University) – Abdelatif El-Allous “Adopting ICT to Atcivate Urban Public Space in the Developing World: the case of Libya”, supervision handed over when I left Newcastle, Abdelatif has since completed

MPhil (University of Plymouth) – Karol Kwiatek – completed 2012

PhD (University of Plymouth) – Eleanor Browne “Social and Commercial Enterprise Interactions: Insights from UK Business Incubators” – completed June 2021

PhD (University of Plymouth) – Gianni Corino “Internet of props. A performative ontology and design framework for the internet of things” – completed May 2017

PhD (University of Plymouth) – Fadwa Barakat “Designing Complexity: Reconstructing the National Symbol of the Jordanian Community” – completed April 2017

PhD (University of Plymouth) – Pamela Varley “Sustainable Digital Neighbourhoods: A Case Study of People, Place and Technology under the Rural Village Condition” – completed January 2019

PhD (University of Plymouth) – Hana Hapiz “Theorising the Embodiment of Materiality and Experience in Man-made Objects from a Design Perspective” – completed May 2019

Grants & contracts

2017-2019 member of the Advisory Group for the project "Smart Cities in the Making: Learning from Milton Keynes" (PI Prof Gillian Rose, Oxford University), funded by the ESRC (£750k)

2015 Co-investigator (PI Prof Simon Marvin, Durham University) ‘Augmented urbanity and smart technologies: how "smart" are our cities becoming?’ ESRC-CONFAP International Network (£50k)

2013-2016 EU Marie Curie Integration Grant (with Dr Katharine Willis) on ‘Sustainable Digital Neighbourhoods’ (£80.7K)



Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Aurigi A (2023) 'The becoming of spatial planning: the contribution of Alessandro Aurigi' TeMA Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment 2023, 171-176 , DOI Open access
Luusua A, Ylipulli J, Foth M & Aurigi A (2022) 'Urban AI: understanding the emerging role of artificial intelligence in smart cities' AI & SOCIETY 38, (3) 1039-1044 , DOI Open access
Aurigi A (2022) 'Urban AI depends: the need for (wider) urban strategies' AI & Society: Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Communication , DOI Open access
Aurigi A (2022) 'Smart cities, metaverses, and the relevance of place' IET Smart Cities , DOI Open access
Aurigi A & Odendaal N (2020) 'From “Smart in the Box” to “Smart in the City”: Rethinking the Socially Sustainable Smart City in Context' Journal of Urban Technology 0, 0-0 , DOI Open access
Aurigi A (2012) 'Reflections towards an agenda for urban-designing the digital city' Urban Design International 18, (2) 131-144 Publisher Site , DOI
Aurigi A (2008) 'What you don't see is (also) what you get: Invisible flows and the shaping of media-rich cities' JOURNAL OF ARCHITECTURAL AND PLANNING RESEARCH 25, (2) 106-117
Aurigi A (2006) 'New technologies, same dilemmas: Policy and design issues for the augmented city' JOURNAL OF URBAN TECHNOLOGY 13, (3) 5-28 , DOI
Aurigi A (2005) 'Tensions in the Digital City' Town and Country Planning 143-145
Aurigi A (2005) 'Competing Urban Visions and the Shaping of the Digital City' Knowledge, Technology and Policy 18, (1) 12-26
Aurigi A (2005) 'Urban cyberspace as a social construction: non-technological factors in the shaping of Digital Bristol' DIGITAL CITIES III 3081, 97-112
Ishida T, Aurigi A & Yasuoka M (2005) 'World digital cities: Beyond heterogeneity' DIGITAL CITIES III 3081, 188-+
Aurigi A (2000) 'Digital city or urban simulator?' DIGITAL CITIES 1765, 33-44
Aurigi A, Langford D & Adam A (1998) 'Book reviews' Information, Communication & Society 1, (1) 107-111 , DOI
Graham S & Aurigi A (1997) 'Urbanising cyberspace?' City 2, (7) 18-39 , DOI
Ekkers PDJ, Hassink R, Voogd H, Thornley A & Aurigi A (1997) 'Book reviews' European Planning Studies 5, (1) 125-131 , DOI
Graham S & Aurigi A (1997) 'Virtual cities, social polarization, and the crisis in urban public space' JOURNAL OF URBAN TECHNOLOGY 4, (1) 19-52 , DOI
Graham S & Aurigi A (1997) 'Urbanising Cyberspace? The Nature and Potential of the Virtual Cities Movement' City 7-8, 18-38
Aurigi A 'Can Neighbourhoods Save the Smart City?' Built Environment Open access
Aurigi A (2000) 'Cyberdemocracy: technology, cities and civic networks' INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF URBAN AND REGIONAL RESEARCH 24, (3) 722-723
(2021) Shaping Smart for Better Cities. Elsevier , DOI
(2020) The Routledge Companion to Smart Cities. Routledge , DOI
Willis K & Aurigi A (2017) Digital and Smart Cities. Routledge Publisher Site Open access
Aurigi A & Cindio FD (2008) Augmented urban spaces. Ashgate Pub Co
Aurigi A (2008) Planning challenges in the augmented city.
Aurigi A & De Cindio F (2008) Augmented urban spaces: Articulating the physical and electronic city.
Aurigi A (2005) Making the digital city. Ashgate Pub Co
Aurigi A (2020) 'Designing Smart Places: towards a holistic, recombinant approach' Shaping Smart for Better Cities Rethinking and Shaping Relationships between Urban Space and Digital Technologies Academic Press , DOI Open access
Aurigi A & Odendaal N (2020) 'Introducing Shaping Smart for Better Cities' Shaping Smart for Better Cities Rethinking and Shaping Relationships between Urban Space and Digital Technologies Academic Press , DOI Open access
Aurigi A (2020) 'Designing the city as a place or product? How space is marginalised in the smart city' in Willis KS; Aurigi A The Routledge Companion to Smart Cities Routledge , DOI Open access
Odendaal N & Aurigi A (2020) 'Towards an agenda of place, local agency-based and inclusive smart urbanism' The Routledge Companion to Smart Cities Open access
Willis KS & Aurigi A (2020) 'Introduction' The Routledge Companion to Smart Cities Routledge 1-12 , DOI
Aurigi A (2020) 'Designing the city as a place or a product?' The Routledge Companion to Smart Cities Routledge 367-382 , DOI
Willis KS & Aurigi A (2017) 'Definitions and approaches' Digital and Smart Cities Routledge 3-24 , DOI
Willis KS & Aurigi A (2017) 'Economics, globalisation and development' Digital and Smart Cities Routledge 109-136 , DOI
Willis KS & Aurigi A (2017) 'From digital to smart and beyond' Digital and Smart Cities Routledge 226-231 , DOI
Willis KS & Aurigi A (2017) 'Governance and participation' Digital and Smart Cities Routledge 194-225 , DOI
Willis KS & Aurigi A (2017) 'Historical context' Digital and Smart Cities Routledge 25-44 , DOI
Willis KS & Aurigi A (2017) 'Mobilities' Digital and Smart Cities Routledge 170-193 , DOI
Willis KS & Aurigi A (2017) 'Planning, urban design and architecture' Digital and Smart Cities Routledge 137-169 , DOI
Willis KS & Aurigi A (2017) 'Social, cultural and political' Digital and Smart Cities Routledge 87-108 , DOI
Willis KS & Aurigi A (2017) 'Socially constructed digital and smart cities' Digital and Smart Cities Routledge 64-83 , DOI
Willis KS & Aurigi A (2017) 'Techno-centric cities' Digital and Smart Cities Routledge 47-63 , DOI
Aurigi A (2017) 'Space is not a platform - foregrounding place in smart urban design' in Zammit A; Kenna T Enhancing Places Through Technologies: Proceedings from the ICiTy conference, Valletta, Malta - 18-19 April, 2016 7-18 Publisher Site
Aurigi A, willis K & Melgaco L (2016) 'From 'digital' to 'smart': upgrading the city' in Tomitsch M; Haeusler M MAB Proceedings of the 3rd Conference on Media Architecture Biennale New York, USA ACM Publisher Site , DOI Open access
Aurigi A (2016) 'No need to fix: Strategic inclusivity in developing and managing the smart city' in Caldwell Amayo G; Smith C; Clift E Digital Futures and the City of Today Bristol Intellect 9-27 Open access
Aurigi A & De Cindio F (2016) 'Introduction: Augmented Urban Spaces' 1-3 , DOI
Aurigi A (2016) 'Epilogue: Towards Designing Augmented Places' Augmented Urban Spaces: Articulating the Physical and Electronic City 331-350 , DOI
Yasuoka M, Ishida T & Aurigi A (2010) 'The Advancement of World Digital Cities' Handbook of Ambient Intelligence and Smart Environments Springer US 939-958 , DOI
Aurigi A (2009) 'U-City: Keeping Space and Place in the Picture' in Lee SH Ubiquitous City: Future of City, City of Future Daejeon, Korea Hanbat National University Press
Aurigi A (2008) 'Epilogue: Towards Designing Augmented Places' in Aurigi A; Cindio FD Augmented urban spaces Ashgate Pub Co 331-350
Aurigi A & De Cindio F (2008) 'Introduction: Augmented urban spaces' 1-3
Aurigi A (2006) 'Interpretare la Citta’, Progettare la Telematica' in Montanari F Territorio dell'impresa, territorio della rete, territori digitali Firenze Aida 141-165
(2004) 'The ‘crisis’ in the urban public realm' Cyberspace Divide Routledge 71-94 , DOI
Aurigi A (2001) 'Spazi virtuali e sfera pubblica: verso la citta’ digitale partecipativa' in Fistola R M. E-tropolis. Funzioni, innovazioni, trasformazioni della città Napoli Giannini Editore 57-87
Aurigi A & Graham S (2000) 'Cyberspace and the City: The ‘Virtual City’ in Europe' in Bridge G; Watson S A companion to the city Wiley-Blackwell 489-502
Aurigi A & Graham S (1998) 'The ‘crisis’ in the urban public realm' in Loader B Cyberspace divide Psychology Press 57-80
Conference Papers
Ghani I, Aurigi A, Rahman NA & Abdullah M (2023) 'Constructing virtual place experience through virtual reality for architectural studies: A review' XVII MEXICAN SYMPOSIUM ON MEDICAL PHYSICS AIP Publishing , DOI Open access
Willis K, Aurigi & Varley (2016) 'Linking Public Spaces and Online Networks: A Case Study of a Regional Neighbourhood' Digital Cities 8: Communities and Technologies 2013 Munich 6-/-0/20137-/-0/2013Open access
Willis K & Aurigi A (2013) 'Beyond the digital city - Remediating space at a regional scale' Media City 2013 Buffalo, NY 5-/-0/20135-/-0/2013Open access
Willis K, Corino G, Martin K & Aurigi A (2012) 'Developing a Locative Engagement Toolkit' Media Architecture Biennale 2013 Aarhuus, Denmark 1-/-1/20131-/-1/2012New York, NY, USA ACM 75-78 , DOI
Willis K & Aurigi A (2011) 'Hybrid Spaces: Presence, Rhythms and Performativity' 2011 Seventh International Conference on Intelligent Environments Nottingham 7-/-0/20117-/-0/2011IEEE 100-106 Publisher Site , DOI
Firmino R, Aurigi A & Camargo A (2006) 'Why is it so hard to integrate ICT into the Planning agenda?' CORP 2006 - Sustainable Solutions for the Information Society - 11th International Conference on Urban Planning and Spatial Development for the Information Society Vienna 2-/-0/20062-/-0/2006143-152
Aurigi A (2002) 'Dealing With the Digital City of... Which Future?' in Braz R; Furtado G Arquitectura e Sociedade da Informacao University of Porto 6-/-0/20026-/-0/2002Porto University of Porto 82-87
Other Publications
Odendaal N & Aurigi A (2017) Digital Cities 10. ACM , DOI
Luusua A, Ylipulli J, Foth M & Aurigi A Correction: Urban AI: understanding the emerging role of artificial intelligence in smart cities. Springer Science and Business Media LLC , DOI Open access


Reports & invited lectures


2021 invited keynote: ‘Smart 365 City Conference and Expo’, Expo365 International Fair and Events, Istanbul, Turkey (pre-recorded speech)

2016 invited/funded keynote: ‘ICiTy, Enhancing Places Through Technology’, international conference, University of Malta, Malta (EU COST Action TU1306)

2015 Opening address: Media City 5, international conference, University of Plymouth

2014 invited/funded speech: ‘Conceptualising Cyber-Urban Connections in Asia and the Middle East’, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

2013 invited/funded keynote: ‘Communication and the City’, international conference, University of Leeds and Urban Communication Foundation

2011 invited/funded speech: “Cidades Inovadoras’ (‘Innovative Cities’), international conference, Federacao das Industrias do Estado do Parana, Curitiba, Brazil

2010 Invited address (videoconference) ‘Citta’ 2.0’ (“City 2.0”), international debate within the ‘Social Media Week’, University of Milano, Milan, Italy

2009 Invited/funded keynote: ‘Open Ubiquitous Oulu Seminar’, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland

2009 Invited/funded keynote: ‘i-Brussels: Urbanity and Technology’, Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Brussels, Belgium

2008 Invited/funded speech: ‘Future City’, international seminar, Ubiquitous City Research Cluster (Hanbat, Seoul National and other universities), Daejeon, South Korea

2007 Invited/funded keynote: ‘Digital Cities Summit, From Virtual World to Human World’, international conference, Technical University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal

2005 Invited/funded keynote and conclusions, BRISE (Boosting Regional Information Society Expertise) international workshop, Municipality of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

2005 Workshop chair and keynote, ‘Digital Cities: The Augmented Public Space’, International workshop in conjunction with the Second International Conference on Communities and Technologies, University of Milano, Milan, Italy

2004 ‘La citta’ ed i sistemi territoriali nella societa’ dell’informazione’, international workshop, invited address (videoconference from Newcastle), Regione Piemonte/IRES, Turin, Italy

2003 ‘Digital Cities 3’, invited/funded keynote: international workshop within the ‘Communities and Technologies’ conference, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2002 ‘Architecture and the Information Society’, invited/funded keynote: Faculty of Architecture, University of Porto, Portugal

2001 ‘Socio-Economic Research and Geographic Information Systems: The Digital City’, invited/funded address, Euresco – European Science Foundation (ESF), Granada, Spain

1999 ‘Digitalcity’, international conference, invited address (videoconference from London), University of Parma, Parma, Italy

Other academic activities

I am regularly invited to review/referee grant applications, papers and book proposals by a variety of funders and publishers. I review research proposals for UKRI through Peer Review College membership, but I have also worked for the Einstein Foundation in Berlin, the REWIRE programme of the European Commission, and publishers like Routledge, MIT Press and Wiley.