Federico Cugurullo is Assistant Professor in Smart and Sustainable Urbanism at Trinity College Dublin. His research is positioned at the intersection of urban geography, political philosophy and experimental urbanism, and explores how ideas of sustainability are cultivated and implemented across geographical spaces, with a focus on projects for eco-cities and smart cities.
Federico has done extensive empirical research in the Middle East and Southeast Asia where he has investigated the sustainability performance of supposedly experimental cities such as Masdar City in Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong. His work has been used by the United Nations and the United Kingdom's Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to foresee future urban challenges and develop preventive policies.
Building upon empirical grounds, Federico's main theoretical aspiration (also the subject of his forthcoming book) is the development of urban equations for a sustainable urbanism. Other theoretical contributions include the concept of urban eco-modernisation, and the theory of de-composed urbanism and Frankenstein cities.
Before joining Trinity College Dublin, Federico held positions at the University of Manchester, King's College London and the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Publications and Further Research Outputs
Federico Cugurullo, Exposing smart cities and eco-cities: Frankenstein urbanism and the sustainability challenges of the experimental city, Environmental and Planning A, 50, (1), 2018, p73 - 92
Andrew Karvonen, Federico Cugurullo, Federico Caprotti, Inside Smart Cities: Place, Politics and Urban Innovation, Paperback, London, Routledge, 2018
The Smart City imaginary: from the dawn of modernity to the eclipse of reason in, editor(s)Lindner C. and Meissner M , The Routledge Companion to Urban Imaginaries, London, Routledge, 2018, [Federico Cugurullo]
The story does not remain the same: multi-scalar perspectives on sustainable urban development in Asia and Hong Kong in, editor(s)Caprotti F. and Yu L. , Sustainable Cities in Asia, London, Routledge, 2017, pp[1-9] , [Federico Cugurullo]
Frankenstein cities: (de)composed urbanism and experimental eco-cities in, editor(s)Evans J., Karvonen A. and Raven R. , The Experimental City, London, Routledge, 2016, [Federico Cugurullo]
Speed kills: fast urbanism and endangered sustainability in the Masdar City project in, editor(s)Datta A. and Shaban A. , Mega-Urbanization in the Global South: Fast Cities and New Urban Utopias of the Postcolonial State, London, Routledge, 2016, [Federico Cugurullo]
Federico Cugurullo, Urban eco-modernisation and the policy context of new eco-city projects: where Masdar City fails and why, Urban Studies, 53 , (11 ), 2015, p2417 - 2433
Federico Cugurullo, The Business of Utopia: Estidama and the road to the Sustainable City, Utopian Studies, 24, (1), 2013, p66 - 88
Federico Cugurullo, How to Build a Sandcastle: An Analysis of the Genesis and Development of Masdar City, Journal of Urban Technology , 20, (1), 2013, p23 - 37
Federico Cugurullo, Everyday Utopias: The Conceptual Life of Promising Spaces, Review of Everyday Utopias: The Conceptual Life of Promising Spaces, by Davina Cooper , Area, 46, (4), 2014, p448
Reconsidering Utopia and Dystopia: a matter of perception in, editor(s)Blaim A. and Gruszewska Blaim , Spectres of Utopia. Theory, Practice, Conventions, Oxford, Peter Lang, 2012, [Federico Cugurullo]
DescriptionMy research is on sustainable cities. I am interested in how we can develop cities in balance with nature, where people can feel happy and accomplished. As a geographer, my job is to travel the world and explore how different cities experiment with innovative sustainability strategies. So far, much of my empirical research has taken place in the Middle East and Southeast Asia where I have examined the sustainability of projects for smart cities and eco-cities, learning from both their successes and failures. From a theoretical perspective, my main aspiration is the formulation of urban equations for a sustainable urbanism, which policy-makers can use as recipes to make their cities more environmentally friendly and socially just, while maintaining a solid economy. My last research project is about autonomous cars, urban change and sustainability. We know that the diffusion of self-driving cars is likely to change cities and societies forever. This project mixes for the first time urban geography and computer science to foresee what urban changes are likely to occur in the near future, and use them as an opportunity to redesign cities in a more sustainable way.
Reviewer for top international Geography, Planning, Sustainability and Urban Studies journals: Journal of Urban and Regional Research; Geoforum; Journal of Urban Technology; Journal of Urban Design; Environment and Planning A
Organizer of 13 paper sessions and workshops as part of international Geography conferences
Awards and Honours
New Horizons Interdisciplinary Research Award, Irish Research Council, 220.000 euro, Principal Investigator, project title: Surpass - How shared autonomous cars will transform cities.
Plenary at the international winter conference of the Regional Studies Association 'New Pressures on Cities and Regions': Revealing the smart city-region: Frankenstein urbanism and the sustainability performance of alleged smart cities
Recognizing and Rewarding Exceptional Performance (RREP) - University of Manchester
Italy Made Me Award (Social Sciences and Humanities Category), Best Italian early-stage academic working in the UK, Italian Embassy
Global associate, Circles of sustainability (UN Global Compact Cities Programme; Metropolis)
Fellow, Association of American Geographers
Fellow, International Eco-Cities Initiative
Fellow, Royal Geographical Society