Latitude – Platform for Urban Research and Design

Via della pila
40 30175 Venezia



In the frame of the research Reducing Boundaries, Latitude research groups aims at unfolding the general question of urban security, seen from the perspective of wealthier groups in the tree case studies, from different points of view.
Latitude group will be composed by architects-urban designers, urban researchers, landscape designers and an anthropologist. The five individuals of the group, junior and senior researchers, come from different backgrounds but they all have already shared experiences (working together and individually) in urban studies.
Besides the specific ability of the group in morphological analysis and spatial description, the core interest of Latitude will be understanding the socio-cultural and political meaning of space at the different scales. Specifically, the group will start from understanding and de-composing the case studies at the different scales, producing a number of drawings and schemes that will highlight the spatial qualities and features of the observed places, including all the surveyed elements that have a direct relation with the topic of urban security (i.e. an axonometry of a park including the different fiances, informal paths, physical traces etc.).
Sticking on the material and spatial qualities of spaces will allow Latitude group to build measurable bases (drawings) that are both objective (quantitative) and subjective (qualitative): the group aims at using “classical” architectural tools (plans, sections, models etc) enriching them, or adding qualitative layers deriving from fieldwork conducted by urban designers (materials, structures etc.) and ethnographic fieldwork conducted by anthropologist (from interviews, behavioural maps etc.).

Main Research Questions:
> What kind of spaces, both shared and private, have recently been built by wealthier groups in order to guarantee their safety?
> What kind of spatial devices have recently been built and used by wealthier groups in order contrast their vulnerability?
> What kind of urban/architectural model are wealthier groups inspired by regarding the issue of urban safety?
> What kind of counter-model (urban-architectural) representing the “dangerous city” can be described taking from the discourses of wealthier groups?
> Which physical traces can reveal the behaviour of wealthier groups in reducing their vulnerability and constructing a safe environment?

Fieldwork will be one first and key actions for the group: it will allow to observe and survey in a careful way the analyzed spaces (through photos, sketches, interviews) from the physical point of view and to understand it from a socio-cultural/political point of view. Both perspectives are meant to be taken in account within the group by urban designers and anthropologists, thus it is expected already in the group a preliminary tools’ exchange.
Data and cartographic analysi will be a parallel action to be carried on by the group. Together with the information collected during the fieldwork, Latitude group will use and study the provided material on the case study in order to produce a series of outputs (drawings, schemes, visual representations) that can combine the findings/set of observations, always linking them to space.
Secondly, it is expected to produce a series of other outputs that in an experimental way (to be discussed amongst the entire group: IUAV, UFRGS and Latitude) will take advantage of the specific readings and findings of the other groups. That will mean, maybe, modifying the already produced outputs or working on other types of media/representations.
Finally, in line with the other groups, Latitude researchers will try to imagine and suggest ways of dealing with the urban security issue in the specific studied context with spatial proposals aiming at reducing the gap between risk perception and real risks and improving the public debate and feedback process by intervening on space at the different scales. Moreover, along with that it is necessary to imagine the translation of spatial suggested interventions into urban policies at the different levels.



Fabio Vanin
He graduated in Architecture (2003) at IUAV University of Venice and holds a Ph.D. in Urbanism (2008) from the same university. He is currently Assistant Porfessor in Landscape Urbanism at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and co-founder-director of Latitude Platform for Urban Research and Design, for which he is the scientific coordinator of the Marie Curie IRSES ‘Reducing Boundaries’ research project. He leads international researches and design projects, collaborating with universities and research centers. His main research topics are the contemporary Lusophone cities, with a focus on Africa and Brazil; environmental risks and spatial fragmentation; urban safety and security. He recently published ‘Maputo, open city’ (2013) and ‘Pancho Guedes – Vitruvius Mozambicanus’ (2013).


Marta De Marchi
In 2011 obtains the master degree in Landscape Architecture at the University IUAV of Venice with a thesis on sustainable development strategies for the Po river delta region, in Italy, and in particular on the possibilities of improving the local identity and economy thorugh a new landscape concept. She is now a PhD candidate in Urbanism at Università Iuav di Venezia, with a thesis on the agro-food systems of Veneto region, read from the urban and planning point of view. She has worked as free-lance architect in professional offices in which she improved her knowledge in architectural design, urban landscape projects and international competitions. Since 2012 she is a member of Latitude Platform for Urban Research and Design, working on issues related to water management, hydrological risk, environmental and socio-economic problems.


Roberto Genna
Graduated in Architecture at the IUAV University of Venice in March 2012 under the supervision of professor Paola Viganò with a thesis that investigates how spaces of boundaries can have a potential role of mediation in the context of the “città diffusa”. Since 2012 he has started working with the office LATITUDE – Platform for Urban Research and Design, first as a collaborator and then as member. In Latitude he has worked on issues related to the urban and territorial development in relation to hydraulic risks, economic and social issues. In 2013 he started to collaborate as free-lance for the office BUUR bureau voor urbanisme in Leuven (Belgium) where he has worked on competitions and projects in the contexts of Brussels and Flanders.


Marco Ranzato
Marco Ranzato studied architecture at the University Iuav of Venice and holds a PhD in Environmental Engineering. During his doctoral studies he was visiting researcher at TU Delft (2008-2010). At present he his post-doctoral researcher at the Faculty of Architecture La Cambre-Horta in Brussels (ULB). He is co-founder and director of Latitude Platform for Urban Research and Design, an interdisciplinary platform seeking for integrated and socially inclusive projects. He is responsible of design research projects exhibited and debated in diverse cultural contexts as the Biennale of Rotterdam (2012) and the Biennale of Sao Paulo (2013).


Olivia Casagrande
Olivia Casagrande studied anthropology at the University of Bologna and Venice. She holds a PhD in Historical and Anthropological Sciences (Verona University, 2014), with a Doctor Europaeus mention. In 2011 and in 2013 she was Visiting Student at the School of Social Sciences, Visual and Social Anthropology, Manchester University (UK). She spent different periods of fieldwork in the south of Chile since 2006, working on political anthropology in the Mapuche world from the 70s until contemporaneity, and recently on the life-histories of Mapuche exiled in Europe during the Pinochet’s dictatorship. Her main research topics are: individual and collective memory, violence and social suffering, the relationship between politics and subjective experience, storytelling and life-histories, anthropology of place and political anthropology. She has published articles on the Mapuche movement, the political exile from Chile and the memories of the second generation after the dictatorship.

Chiara Ferronato
She obtained a Master of Arts in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies with a focus on cultural and social anthropology from Ca’ Foscari University, Italy (2009). She also studied at Granada University (Spain, 2004-2005), Damascus University (Siria, 2005), Cairo University (Egypt, 2007) and at the American University in Cairo (Egypt, 2007-2008) as an Associate MA Researcher. She is an independent photographer and her education has mainly been self-taught. In 2014 she attended a Masterclass with Magnum photographer Patrick Zachmann; since 2015 she has been assisting him during international workshops and exhibitions. Her work entails a search for cultural identities in various social environments. Her photos have been exhibited internationally.  She has been a member of the Venice-based photography research centre ISOLAB since 2015.


Marta Finotello
Marta (Venezia, Italy,1985) graduated in Architecture at University IUAV of Venice in 2011. From 2012 to 2014 she worked as urban designer and landscape architect in Paris. Since 2014 she is collaborating with the no-profit organization Latitude Platform. She is currently working as landscape architect for an urbanism practice, BUUR, based in Leuven, Belgium.


Thomas Stefani
He graduated in October 2015 in Architecture Sustainability and Landscape at IUAV University of Venice, under the supervision of professor Alberto Ferlenga, with a thesis titled “Alle origini di un benessere sostenibile” that focused on the development of a village for an indigenous community in Paraguay.
At the end of 2016 he started to collaborate with LATITUDE – Platform for Urban Research and Design.
In 2017 he also started a collaboration with THINK DIFFERENT – Urban actions for the collaborative city, to develop an intervention plan about rural territories and slow economy to be proposed at the municipality of Venice.