Who we are

The Urban Genoma project was started within Economia e Sostenibilità (EStà) by a group of Milanese from different industries – university researchers, journalists, and experts on social innovation, digital cartography and web communications – who shared a common objective: to turn urban history into a fresh subject that is able to emerge from schoolbooks and academic texts and become a resource to the city’s inhabitants and visitors.

Since the first steps in 2014, the aim has remained the same: to map and investigate the persistence of the past and use it to create projects and communication contents that use the heritage of urban spaces to enrich the present and the future of our own cities.

The project’s first experimental laboratory has been in Milan, but our work has brought us to develop methodologies that can be applied in other cities in Italy and abroad, too.

The research centre

To develop and promote the Urban Genoma project, EStà has set up a research centre, based in the Cascina Cuccagna, Milan: its function is to stimulate the encounter between different spheres of knowledge and the debate over the city’s historical heritage and to produce contents and services rooted in urban history that, supplied to our public and private partners, also contribute to the financial sustainability of the initiative. 

The Centre is open to any individual and institution, in Italy and abroad, that shares its goals.

The Centre’s activities aim to:

  • promote the conduct of interdisciplinary research that involves its members;
  • encourage cooperation between academic researchers and amateurs interested in the history of urban territories, with the aim of building a network of scholars, professionals, associations and amateurs of urban history and support its activities;
  • collaborate with other structures and institutions that pursue similar objectives in Italy or abroad;
  • develop research programmes of national and European interest;
  • support the historical research on Milan’s urban territory and its dissemination at a national and international level;
  • produce communication contents aimed at disseminating the historical values present in urban territories.

The founders

Who we are

Rocco Ronza

Coordinatore scientifico

È membro del dipartimento di Scienze politiche dell’Università Cattolica di Milano, dove tiene corsi di geografia economica e di politica linguistica, e dal 2003 insegna storia di Milano presso il Milan Center dello study-abroad program americano IES Abroad. Ha lavorato anche nel settore della comunicazione e dei media digitali collaborando con organizzazioni politiche e media agencies.
Esperto di storia e politica sudafricana, collabora regolarmente con think tank, riviste specializzate e media nazionali. Da anni segue il dibattito sul valore pubblico dell’heritage storico e quello sull’applicazione delle tecnologie digitali e di geovisualizzazione alla comunicazione della storia.
Oltre alla laurea in scienze politiche, ha un dottorato in sociologia e ricerca sociale ottenuto dall’Università degli studi di Trento. Oltre all’italiano, parla l’inglese e legge il francese e l’olandese.
Who we are

Chiara Maranzana

Coordinatore editoriale

È giornalista professionista, attività cui si è dedicata da giovanissima. Dopo gli studi classici a Milano, ha collaborato con diverse testate, quotidiane e periodiche. Per oltre vent’anni si è occupata di politica delle costruzioni, architettura e urbanistica per la rivista mensile Costruire, di cui è stata caporedattore.
Dal 2011 è caporedattore della rivista Abitare (RCS MediaGroup), dove ha ampliato l’ambito dei suoi interessi anche al design e all’arte.  Negli ultimi anni, si è misurata con i nuovi strumenti di comunicazione, approfondendo le potenzialità di Internet e dei social network e sperimentando il videomaking.
Parla fluentemente l’inglese e il francese e se la cava anche con lo spagnolo.
Who we are

Rocco Ronza

Scientific Coordinator

He is a fellow of the Department of Political Sciences of the Catholic University of Milan, where he teaches courses in geoeconomics. He has also worked in the sectors of international education, communication and the digital media, collaborating with political organizations and media agencies. His research interests include the role of cities in the global economy and the debate on the public value of the historical heritage and the application of digital technologies and geovisualization to the communication of history in Italy, the United States and South Africa.
After graduating in political sciences, he took a PhD in sociology and social research at the University of Trento. In addition to Italian, he speaks English and reads French and Dutch.
Laureato in scienze politiche, ha un dottorato in sociologia e ricerca sociale ottenuto dall’Università di Trento. Oltre all’italiano, parla l’inglese e legge il francese e l’olandese.

Chiara Maranzana

Editorial coordinator

She is a journalist by profession. After studying classics in Milan, she contributed to newspapers and periodicals in Milan. She wrote about building, architecture and planning policy for the monthly magazine Costruire, of which she was managing editor.
Since 2011 she has been managing editor of Abitare magazine (RCS MediaGroup), where she has widened the sphere of her interests to include design and art. In recent years, she has begun to take on new means of communication, investigating the potentialities of the internet and social networks and experimenting with video-making.
She speaks English and French fluently and can get by in Spanish too.

Aldo Castellano

Scientific committee

He is full professor of the history of contemporary architecture at Milan Polytechnic. He has published studies on the history of Italian and European architecture from the late Middle Ages to the contemporary era and on the history of the city, with particular attention to the 19th century.
He was one of the founders of the Società Italiana per l’Archeologia Industriale (Italian Society for Industrial Archeology) and the non-profit organization Ruralia and assistant editor of the architectural magazine L’Arca. Together with Eugenio Battisti he curated the exhibition Il luogo del lavoro. Dalla manualità al comando a distanza (“The Workplace: From Manual Skill to Remote Control”) for the 17th Milan Triennale (1986). He held institutional posts at Milan Polytechnic and served on the Landscape Commission of the municipality of Milan.
He has a degree in architecture from Milan Polytechnic. He speaks Italian and English.

Barbara Galli

Scientific committee

After carrying out research at Tsukuba University in Japan for several years, she currently teaches the history of architecture (in English) as a lecturer at the School of Architecture, Urban Planning and Construction Engineering of Milan Polytechnic and is a visiting professor at Tongji University in Shanghai. She has written essays and monographs on the history of architecture.
She graduated in architecture from Milan Polytechnic and took a PhD in the history and criticism of the architectural and environmental heritage at Turin Polytechnic. In addition to Italian, she speaks English and Japanese.
Who we are

Massimiliano Lepratti

Scientific committee

He is an educator and researcher in the fields of economics and the teaching of the social sciences. He has carried out research in the world-systems theory and published a study on the historical formation of the world-system (2006). He has worked on the teaching of global history, collaborating with the Italian NGOs most deeply involved in the sector. He has been in charge of programming for the Associazione Cantiere Cascina Cuccagna in Milan and is now a member of its board of governors.
He carries out interdisciplinary research, planning and training on behalf of EStà in the field of the ecological transition of the economy and circular economy.
With a degree in political sciences, he speaks Italian and English and can manage in French, Spanish and Portuguese.
Who we are

Luca Mocarelli

Scientific committee

He is full professor of economic history at Bocconi University in Milan, where he teaches courses in Italian and European economic history and the economic history of tourism. His research interests concentrate on urban history, with particular attention to the construction and real-estate sectors and developments in urban planning in Milan since the Theresian era, as well as the history of markets and the history of labour.
He is currently vice president of the Associazione Italiana di Storia Urbana (Italian Association of Urban History) and sits on the board of governors of the Associazione Italiana per il Patrimonio Archeologico Industriale (Italian Association for Industrial Archaeological Heritage) and the Società Italiana di Demografia Storica (Italian Society of Historical Demography).
After graduating in history, he took a PhD in economic and social history from Bocconi University in Milan. Along with Italian, he speaks English and French and can understand Spanish.
Who we are

Andrea Vecci

Scientific committee

He is executive director of EStà, where he is engaged in research, training and the design of systems for sustainable development, the circular economy and creative cultural enterprises.
He has guided the start-up of several Italian social cooperatives and has contributed to the framing of the law on social enterprise in Serbia in the 2010s.
He has carried out research into social impact investing for the international task force set up to study the subject (SIIT G8). For several years he has run the “Social Innovation” column in Valori, a magazine covering social economics, ethical finance and sustainability.
He studied biology at the University of Milan. He speaks Italian and English.

Lanfranco Senn

Scientific committee