The Bartlett School of Planning

Ms Valentina Giordano

Ms Valentina Giordano

Lecturer (Teaching)

The Bartlett School of Planning

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
29th Sep 2014

Research summary

Valentina is a Lecturer at the Bartlett School of Planning where she also manages the Place Alliance, a cross-sector collaborative alliance for place quality, chaired by Professor Matthew Carmona. 

In her role as Researcher, she has been working to deliver a research programme focused on generating a baseline of knowledge about the quality of the built environment and its delivery. This ongoing study programme will monitor the capacity of the country to deliver high-quality urban environments, whilst tracking how this change over time.

Key Highlights:

🌟 In 2020, the Place Alliance has been selected by UN-Habitat as one of their ‘Inspiring Practices’ for the Compendium of Case Studies that they publish each year

🏆 In 2016, the Place Alliance was awarded the Sir Peter Hall Award for Wider Engagement Prize, as part of the Royal Town Planning Institute’s Awards for Research Excellence of that year

Valentina has undertaken a wide range of research projects including:

  • Home Comforts during the Covid-19 Lockdown (2020). This report summarises findings of a national survey of 2,500 households (representing 7,200 people) aimed at understanding how well or how poorly the design of our homes and their immediate neighbourhoods supported us during the period of coronavirus lockdown. The findings offer insights into how we should be designing or adapting them in the future in order that they are more resilient and better able to support happy and healthy lifestyles.
  • National Housing Design Audit (2019). The research evaluates the design of 142 large-scale housing-led development projects across England against seventeen design considerations. Partners include CPRE, the Academy of Urbanism, Urban Design Group and the Design Council. 
  • Place Value and the Ladder of Place Quality (2018). This report distils 271 empirical research studies to uncover the truth about the qualities of the built environment that are good for us and deliver place value. Supported by the Design Network with MHCLG grant money. 
  • Design quality in new housing, the councillor perspective (2018). A survey of local councillors’ views and attitudes to design. In collaboration with the Laidlaw Scholarship Programme.
  • Reviewing Design Review in London (2017). A research on the use and utility of design review in London, the first systematic review of these practices since the closure of CABE. Supported and funded by the GLA.
  • Urban Design Skills in Local Authorities (2017). A National survey of public sector urban design skills, supported and funded by the Urban Design Group 
  • Evaluating the Governance of Design in the Built Environment, the CABE Experiment and Beyond (2013-2014). Whilst pre-dating the Place Alliance, this research continues to underpin its work programme. The research tracked the 11-year period of CABE and evaluated its tools and programmes.
  • Design codes, how have they fared? (2012). Six years after the completion of a national design coding pilot programme that explored their use, this report evaluates the diffusion of design coding as a tool in the planning and development process. 

Teaching summary

Valentina has taught for several consecutive years on a number of Urban Design modules on both Undergraduate and Postgraduate Programmes, as well as acting as research supervisor on the Laidlaw Scholarship Programme. 

📌 MSc 'Urban Design: Place Making"  

📌 BSc "Urban Design: Theory to Practice"

Coordinated by Prof Carmona, drawing on the extensive theoretical underpinning of urban design as a means to explore approaches for appraising the character of the built environment.

📌 MSc "Urban Design: Guidance, Incentive & Control"

Coordinated by Colin Haylock, focusing on the relationship between design and indirect public sector processes of influencing design outcomes through guidance, incentive, and control.

Key Highlights:

✔ Supervise students in preparing masterplan proposals and urban design frameworks for a number of London areas 

✔ Extending, transforming and applying knowledge acquired from professional activities to teaching.

✔ Liaising with course lecturers with regards to lecturing, teaching and examining the courses.

Since 2014 Valentina has also been responsible for curating and coordinating the Bartlett School of Planning Expo, an exhibition which displays the work of all its students across undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral programmes.

Her role as Expo curator has initiated a culture change within the department in terms of encouraging non-design-based module coordinators and programme directors to engage in the summer exhibition, initially regarded as the exclusive remit of the Architecture department.

📌 Bartlett School of Planning EXPO curator

Key Highlights:

✔Liaise with Module Coordinators across the department to insure a comprehensive display of student work

✔ Organise the submitted artwork, plan the presentation of and the installation of the exhibition as well as creating labels and interpretive materials

✔ Work collaboratively with internal staff and external service providers to ensure exhibition's goals, objectives, and deadlines are met.


University College London
Other higher degree, Master of Science | 2003
University College London
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), Diploma | 2002
University College London
First Degree, Bachelor of Science | 2001


I am an Urban Designer with over 15 years of UK experience in professional consultancy (urban design and streetscape intervention), academic research and teaching. I am a Chartered Member of RTPI and an Urban Design Group Recognised Practitioner.

Working extensively as a Research Fellow at the Bartlett School of Planning, I have been instrumental in a study programme to reflect on current practice in the design governance field whilst generating a base-line of knowledge about the quality of the built environment, and its delivery at the local and national level. I also serve as Project Manager and Research Coordinator of the Place Alliance, chaired by Professor Matthew Carmona.

The primary aim of Place Alliance campaign work is to advocate for changes in policy and practice. I have played a lead role within the Place Alliance to fulfil research and public engagement tasks, diligently ensuring that one always complements and supports the other.

During this time, I have established specific expertise in the planning, environmental assessment, and design of transport infrastructure and public realm projects in London and related public consultation processes.