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Dr Federico Cugurullo

Assistant Professor in Smart and Sustainable Urbanism

Tel: + 353 1 896 4915
Postal Address:
Department of Geography
Museum Building
Trinity College Dublin
Dublin 2

Research profile

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.

His last strand of research investigates the impact that artificial intelligence is having on urban living and design. He is currently the Principal Investigator of Surpass, a project funded by the Irish Research Council, to study the sustainability potential of self-driving cars -

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.

Animated urbanism

Federico’s work on eco-cities illustrated and animated -

Postgraduate opportunities

I am happy to supervise PhD students keen to explore, empirically and theoretically, the following topics:

  • Sustainable urban development
  • Urban automation and the impact of artificial intelligence on cities
  • Smart cities
  • Self-driving cars, intelligent transport and urban change
  • Eco-cities
  • Ecological urbanism
  • Sustainable urban design
  • Happiness in/of cities
  • History, philosophy and architecture of the ideal city

Peer-reviewed articles

Cugurullo, F. (2017). Exposing smart cities and eco-cities: Frankenstein urbanism and the sustainability challenges of the experimental city. Environmental and Planning A, DOI: 10.1177/0308518X17738535

Cugurullo F. (2015), Urban eco-modernisation and the policy context of new eco-city projects: where Masdar City fails and why, Urban Studies. Vol. 53 no. 11 2417-2433

Cugurullo F. (2013) How to Build a Sandcastle: An Analysis of the Genesis and Development of Masdar City, Journal of Urban Technology Vol. 20, No. 1, 23–37.

Cugurullo F. (2013), The Business of Utopia: Estidama and the road to the Sustainable City, Utopian Studies Vol. 24, No. 1, 66–88

Book chapters

Cugurullo F., (2017) The story does not remain the same: multi-scalar perspectives on sustainable urban development in Asia and Hong Kong, in Caprotti F. and Yu L., Sustainable Cities in Asia, London: Routledge

Cugurullo F., (2016), Speed kills: fast urbanism and endangered sustainability in the Masdar City project, in Datta A. and Shaban A., Mega-Urbanization in the Global South: Fast Cities and New Urban Utopias of the Postcolonial State, London: Routledge.

Cugurullo F., (2016) Frankenstein cities: (de)composed urbanism and experimental eco-cities, in Evans J., Karvonen A. and Raven R., The Experimental City, London: Routledge.


New Horizons Interdisciplinary Research Award, Irish Research Council. December 2016 - present, 220.000 euro, Principal Investigator, project title: Surpass – How shared autonomous cars will transform cities.

Recognizing and Rewarding Exceptional Performance (RREP) Award for “exceptional contribution, work and commitment”, University of Manchester, June 2016.

Italy Made Me Award (Social Sciences and Humanities Category), Best Italian early-stage academic working in the UK, Italian Embassy, London, July 2015.

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