I am an urban planner with a track record in the field of societal resilience, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. My PhD thesis (2013, Cum Laude) at Politecnico di Milano (POLIMI) was on the societal resilience of transportation systems against environmental disasters. In 2019, I started working at University of Twente (UT) as an assistant professor of strategic spatial planning.
I am currently working on an ERASMUS+ project on building resilient urban communities (BREUCOM). In that project, the flood kit prepared by children in Italy was presented in a workshop that included 40 children at the Municipal School on Panju Island in Mumbai in December 2019.
I am part of a large international network involved in as an invited expert, a member of international scientific advisory boards, a project proposal reviewer, and attending in conferences as a presenter, invited young researcher and keynote speaker. I am an active member of the Integrated Disaster Risk management (IDRIM) society.
I have served on international scientific advisory boards in various conferences on disaster risk, climate change and resilient cities. In 2015, I was one of the Habitat III Invited Experts for the Regional Report on Housing and Urban Development for the UNECE region. I co-organized a side event on “Disaster Recovery in Urban Areas” at the Habitat III conference (Ecuador, 2016). The main focus of Habitat III is the urban transformation to improve the quality of life through more equitable distribution of development benefits, planning and regulating land use, protecting the environment, empowering women and youth. Additionally, I was the project proposal reviewer for the Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in South Asia Program (2012).
I am experienced in leading research projects. In 2015, I was the principal investigator of a post-doc project titled “Cities, Disasters and Migration”. The project was funded by the Republic of Turkey’s Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities. The purpose was to understand flood disaster awareness of Turkish migrants living in Northern Italy in areas prone to flood disaster. During this project, we reached out to 20% of the Turkish migrants living in Northern Italy by conducting household questionnaires (545 households) and six focus group meetings (49 participants). After the completion of that post-doc project, I established an NGO in Milan in 2016 together with my students, school teachers and lawyers to reach a wider public and to increase the societal impact of the research. In ‘the Others and Disasters’ (Gli Altri ed I Disastri) NGO we conducted projects with children 4-16 years old to raise awareness of disasters. In 2016 we involved 90 children in 10 workshops to increase those children’s awareness of flood disasters. We prepared a flood education kit that includes a book and games prepared by children for children to teach them how to behave before, during and after a flood event. The book prepared by children was translated into five languages (Italian, Turkish, English, Spanish, Marathi). I have confidence in the societal transformation that we created in this group in only a limited time and with only limited resources.
I was the assistant coordinator in ‘’Knowledge for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation (KNOW4DRR)’’ (2013-2015) and the researcher in ‘’Enhancing resilience of communities and territories facing natural and Na-tech hazards (ENSURE)’’ (2008-2011) FP7 projects. Furthermore, I was WP and case study leader in ‘’European Disasters in Urban Centres: A culture expert network (EDUCEN)’’ Horizon 2020 project (2015-2017).
In February 2020, I received ‘MSCA IF, 2020, Seal of Excellence’ for my proposal entitled “Nature-Based Solutions: Web of Nature in Urban Systems’. My project proposal addressed the challenge of integration of Nature-Based Solutions within urban systems to deal with multi-hazards as well as societal challenges, such as social inequality.