From the intellectual provocation of the RIFO project to a degree course enhancing the academic quality and stature of the University of Bergamo.
The first degree program in Geourbanistics was strongly supported by the Rector of the University of Bergamo as a new major challenge for the University stemming from the RIFO Urban Regeneration and Land Restitution project.
The official presentation of the first interdepartmental degree course in Geourbanistics was held at the University of Bergamo. The event was attended by Rector Remo Morzenti Pellegrini, Professor Emanuela Casti, Secretary General of the Pesenti Foundation Sergio Crippa, Maurizio Federici representing the Lombardy Region and key community and academic stakeholders.
The Secretary General of the Pesenti Foundation, by signing the participation in the Steering Committee, recalled the RIFO project, an initiative jointly developed by the University of Bergamo and the Pesenti Foundation, named after the commonly misspoken word rifo, used by kids “when they apologize for something while wanting to do it again better. Rifo means I’ll redo, I’ll start again.”
“It was,” Sergio Crippa added “a kind of intellectual provocation, but also an important initiative, because, when faced with a ‘Mission: Impossible’, the Pesenti Foundation address the academic world to make it possible.”
The RIFO project was conducted by CST-DiathesisLab, Center for Territorial Studies, a research and experimental cartography laboratory coordinated by Emanuela Casti at the University of Bergamo. A group of 8 researchers (mostly geographers, but also urban and computer experts) and 3 students (from mid-2013 and for about 2 years) conducted the RIFO research, studying the disused and obsolete areas of Lombardy. The great building heritage, once regenerated, will respond to both the demand for social housing and land restitution.
It was from this project and “from specific competences of our University in the field of urban regeneration, deserving greater attention”, as Professor Casti pointed out, that the Geourbanistics Degree Course was created. The course will be based on an interdisciplinary teaching approach and will be taught by professors from three departments (Languages, Engineering, Humanities) with the support of the University of Bergamo, of its structures and labs.
The objective of the program is develop a professional figure that is new in Italy but already widely present abroad but already exists abroad: the Geographer-Urbanist with skills in urban and territorial analysis and planning, as well in geographic information systems, mapping and communication technologies for governance support.
The need/opportunity to train such a professional figure in Italy comes from recent international scientific and political consensus on cross-disciplinary intersection as the only possible approach to face contemporary challenges such as environmental instability and land depletion.
The course is open to three-year graduates with Degrees in Humanities and Social Sciences and Science&Technology. Their different skills are brought together aligning educational programs to facilitate the development of student-centred learning environment. This teaching approach includes project work, interactive activities with local communities, laboratories, internships and lectures by foreign visiting professors and national experts.
The degree course is also open to professionals from institutions and organizations focused on environmental restoration and urban planning, providing Universities Work-Related learning Projects. Graduates in Geourbanistics are offered job opportunities either in public and private bodies active in territorial planning management and in the new and emerging professions providing a link between sector experts and stakeholders-politicians, administrators, citizens-to promote social participation and good governance.
The adequacy of graduates professional competences in response to the emergence of new local needs will be assessed by a Steering Committee comprising course faculty members and local stakeholders. It will regularly monitor and review the educational offer also with the assistance of international experts.