Chiara Certomà

1Center for Sustainable Development – CDO, Dep. Political Science, Ghent University, Poel 16, 9000, Ghent, Belgium

M. +39 3383858424; skype: cccertoma

UGent personal page
SSSUP personal page 




I am Marie-Curie fellow (Postdoctoral Researcher) at the Centre for Sustainable Development – CDO @ Ghent University where I work my project titled “Crowdsourcing Urban Sustainability Governance. Exploring innovative governance models for addressing urban sustainability through ICT-people interaction“. As such I am  member of the BeNeLux Chapter, the Italian Chapter and the Events and Network working group of the Marie Curie Alumni Association.

My research interests lie at the junction of the two macro areas of Science, Society & Technology studies and Space, Society & the Environment. I’m interested in innovative modes of geographical production, planning and governance performed by heterogeneous, multilayered and multiscalar networks, most notably how these networks assemble and negotiate socio-environmental issues, and how the material and semiotic implications of their agency is brought to the public fore.

Principal research topics include the politics of space and place; the social understanding of nature and technology (including current developments in environmental theory); the effects of informal urban planning practices, and the role of new ICTs in urban sustainability governance. From a methodological perspective I often use the Material Semiotic framework and a range of participatory science & politics approaches (particularly Action Research).

I holds a degree in Philosophy of Science from the University of Rome La Sapienza (2003); a Master in Environmental Communication from the University of Pisa  Human and Environmental Sciences Department (2004); and a PhD in Political Science from the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa (2009).

Before joining the CDO I have been research fellow at Sant’Anna School – Dirpolis Institute and Institute of Management, working on the governance and planning for sustainable cities and communities (2014-2017); and on the development of environmental political theory (2009-2013). 

In the meanwhile, I has been invited guest professor on Spatial and Environmental Justice and Urban Gardens Planning at the BOKU University of Vienna (2016); and visiting researcher at The Open University  Geography Department, UK (2007), at the Université Paris La Sorbonne – SciencePo, France (2011), at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, LMU, Germany (2012) and at the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, Ghent University, Belgium (2013).

More recently, I have been nominated adjunct professor in Environment and Society (Cultural Geography) at the Department of Science for Peace  University of Pisa (2014-2017), and in Development Studies at Sant’Anna School (2017), while I obtained the italian professorship habilitation in Geography (sector 11/B1) in 2017.

Since january 2016, I served as Director of the IRTA Leonardo  Research Institute on Territory and Environment, an interdepartmental research center supported by the University of Pisa and the Sant’Anna School. I am affiliate fellow of the Sustainability Management Lab  at Management Institute, Sant’Anna School; external collaborator at the Responsible Management  Research Center, Pisa University; Alumna of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, LMU, Munich and Senior Research Fellow of the Earth System Governance Research Network, Lund University; and  I collaborate as affiliate member with the Open Space Research Centre at The Open University, Milton Keynes.

In past years I also experienced researching on rural development as research fellow at the Department of Economics, University of Pisa (2005); and on urban environmental sustainability as research assistant at the Province of Rome (2005).

Apart from my academic activity, I consulted and worked as internal with environmental NGOs (Legambiente, Greenpeace, ASud – which I contributed at establishing in 2003, and Fondazione dei Diritti Genetici); and the National Institute of Statistics, Structural Business Statistics Dep. (2010-2012). Presently I am member of the Scientific Committee Legambiente Nazionale. On this position I collaborate with the Working Group on “Disuguaglianze ambientali- Disuguaglianze sociali”; and the Forum Disuguaglianza e Diversità, Action-Research #5 “Intrappolati nel degrade” [“Trapped in degradation”].

As Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society with IBG  I am engaged with the research groups Geographies of Justice Research Group, Participatory Geographies Research Group, Planning and Environmental Research Group and Urban Geography Research Group. As member of the AGeI – Associazione dei Geografi Italiani I took part in the research group “Geografia dell’ambiente” (Geography and Environment).




(forth. 2018) C. Tornaghi and Certomà (eds) “Urban Gardening as Politics”, Routledge, London

(2017) Citizen Empowerment and Innovation in the Data-Rich City (edited with M. Dyer, F. Rizzi and L.Pocatilu) Spinger, New York

(2016) Postenvironmentalism. A material semiotic perspective on living spaces, Palgrave Macmillan, New York

(2014) Chianti Experiences. Turning a post-rural place into a listening territory, ETS, Pisa

(2012) The Politics of Space and Place: Exclusions, Resistance and Alternatives (edited with N. Clewer and D. Elsey), Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne

(2012) Laura Conti. Alle radici dellecologia, Edizioni e Ambiente, Milano

Peer-reviewed journal articles

(2017) (with M.Dyer, F.Corsini) “Making urban design a public participatory goal. Explorations toward evidence-based urbanism”, Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers – Urban Design and Planning, 170 (3)

(2017) (with B. Notteboom) Hybrid planning in a transactive governmentality. Re-reading informal planning practices through Ghent’s community gardens, Planning Theory, 16/1

(2016) “”A new season for planning”. Urban Gardening as Informal Planning in Rome”, Geografiska Annaler B, 98 (2)

(2015) (with C. Tornaghi) Political gardening. Transforming cities and political agency, Local Environment 20/10 (editorial)

(2015) (with F. Corsini, F. Rizzi) “Crowdsourcing urban sustainability. Data, people and technologies in participatory governance” , Futures, 74 (see SLIDES HERE )

(2014) “Expanding the dark side of planning. Biopolitics and governmentality in public garden planning, Planning Theory, 14/ 1

(2012) Biopolitica dello spazio. Popolazione, potere, luoghi, Journal of the Socit internationale d’ethnographie, 1

(2011) Critical Urban Gardening as Post-Environmentalis practice, Local Environment, 16/1

(2011) Standing-up vineyards. The political relevance of Tuscan wine production, Environment and Planning D, 29

(2010) Ecologia, la creazione di una scienza, Physis. Rivista internazionale di storia della scienza, vol.XLV, 1-2/08

(2010) Spazi locali, luoghi globali: geometrie di potere nella post-modernit, Sviluppo locale, XIV, 34/1

(2009) Environmental Politics and place authenticity protection, Environmental Values, 18/3

(2007) Generazioni future e questioni ambientali, Filosofia e Questioni Pubbliche, 1/07, XII

(2006) Ecology, Environmentalism and System Theory, Kybernetes. The International Journal of Systems and Cybernetics, 35/6

Book Chapters

(forth. 2018) Certomà and C. Tornaghi “Politics and the contested terrain of urban gardening in the neoliberal city” in C. Tornaghi and C.Certomà (forth.) “Urban Gardening as Politics”, Routledge, London

(forth. 2018) Certomà C. “A practice-based approach to political gardening. Materiality, performativity and post-environmentalism” in C. Tornaghi and C.Certomà (forth.) “Urban Gardening as Politics”, Routledge, London

(forth. 2018) C. Tornaghi and Certomà “Political gardening, equity and justice: a research agenda” in C. Tornaghi and C.Certomà (forth.) “Urban Gardening as Politics”, Routledge, London

(2017) (with F. Rizzi) Crowdsourcing process for citizen-driven governance  in C.Certomà, M. Dyer, F. Rizzi and L.Pocatilu Citizen Empowerment and Innovation in the Data-Rich City, Spinger, New York

(2017) (with M. Dyer, F. Rizzi and L.Pocatilu) “Preface” in C.Certomà, M. Dyer, F. Rizzi and L.Pocatilu (eds.) Citizen Empowerment and Innovation in the Data-Rich City, Spinger, New York

(2015) (with B. Ioannou, N. Morn, M. Sondermann and M. Hardman) Grassroots Gardening Movements: Towards Cooperative Forms of Green Urban Development? in S. Bell, R. Fox-Kamper, N. Keshavarz, M. Benson, S.Caputo, S. Noori, A. Voigt (eds.) Urban Allotment Gardens in Europe, Routledge

(2015) (with M.Pimbert) “Crowdsourcing and Action Research. Fostering peoples participation in research through digital media” in H.Bradbury-Huang (ed.) Handbook of Action Research (4th edition), Sage, New York

(2016) (with M.Battaglia and M. Frey) “Rethinking attractiveness. The transformation of tangible and intangible factors in post-rural areas” in “Resilient Lanscape”, Quaderni EnRoute, UNISCAPE Publications

(2015)  “Informal planning: a new approach to participatory transformation of public space?”, in C. Capineri, F. Celata, D. de Vincenzo, F. Dini, M. Lazzeroni e F. Randelli (eds) Memorie Geografiche   Oltre la Globalizzazione Conflitti/Conflicts ,  Società di Studi Geografici, Florence

(2015) “Critical Urban Gardening”, in Pimbert M., Shindelar R. and Schsler H.(eds.), “Think Global, Eat Local: Exploring Foodways,” RCC Perspectives 2015, n. 1

(2014) Post-environmentalism in A. Orsini, J. Morin (eds.) Companion to Global Environmental Governance, Routledge, London

(2013) Spazio post-globale in S.Gianfaldoni (ed.) Lessico interculturale, Franco Angeli, Milano

(2013) Identità locale in S.Gianfaldoni (ed.) Lessico interculturale, Franco Angeli, Milano

(2013) On the possibility of values translation in the global world, in A. Loretoni, J. Pauchard and A. Pirni (eds.), Questioning Universalism. Western and New Confucianist Conceptions and Their Implications, ETS, Pisa

(2013) (with B. Henry) Social Sciences as Sciences and Hermeneutics , in A. Loretoni, J. Pauchard and A. Pirni (eds.), Questioning Universalism. Western and New Confucianist Conceptions and Their Implications, ETS, Pisa

(2012) Non-extractive policies as a main road to Environmental Justice? The case of the Yasun Park in Ecuador (with L. Greyl), in Haarstad H.(ed.) New Political Spaces in Latin American Natural Resource Governance, Palmgrave Macmillan

(2012) Exploring the crisis of contemporary environmental politics, in W. Jackson, B. Jeffery, M. Marino and T. Sykes (eds) Crisis, Rupture and Anxiety: An Interdiciplinary, Examination of Historical and Contemporary Human Challenges, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne

(2012) The death of Environmentalism, in P. Robbins, J. Newman, J. G. Golson (eds) Green Series Volume 8: Green Ethics and Philosophy, SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks

(2011) The evaluation of sustainability of organic farms in Tuscany, with P. Migliorini, in Gkcekus H., Trker Umut T., LaMoreaux J.W. (eds.) Environment: Survival and Sustainibility, Springer, New York, NY

(2009) Human Rights in Fagan G. H., Munck R. (eds.), Globalisation and Security – An Encyclopaedia, Westport, Greenwood Publishing Group, Praeger Press, Santa Barbara

(2009) Produzione alimentare e identit del territorio, in Cristiani E., Massart A. (eds.), Prodotti tipici e turismo sostenibile come strumento di sviluppo del territorio, ETS, Pisa

(2008) Authentic Place, Local Identities and Environmental Discourses, in Hillerbrand R.C. and Karlsson R. (eds.), Beyond the Global Village. Environmental Challenges inspiring Global Citizenship, The Interdisciplinary Press, Oxford

(2005) Valutare lagricoltura sociale, in Noferi M. (ed.), Agricoltura sociale e agricoltura di comunit, Arsia – Regional Agriculture Office of Tuscany, Firenze

(2005) La tela di Penelope, introduzione a Imprenditrici by Foschi A.D., Edizioni Camera di Commercio di Livorno


(2015) (with E. Cristiani ) “Un ciclo di seminari alla Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna”, Rubrica “Verso Expo”, Rivista di  Diritto agrario, 4

(2014) Brunello di Montalcino. Understanding and appreciating one of Italys greatest wines by K OKeefe, in Journal of Wine Research, 4

(2011) Radical Gadening. Politics, Idealism and Rebellion in the garden, by McKay G., in New Formations , 75

(2010), Diritti al cibo! Agricoltura sapiens e governance alimentare, by Colombo L., Onorati A., in Il Pensiero Economico Italiano, Anno XVII/2

(2007) Time Strategies, Innovation and Environmental Policy, by Sartorius C. and Zundel S., in Environmental Politics, Univ. of Edinburgh, 16/4

(2007) Nature Knowledge, by Sanga G., Ortalli G., in Environmental Politics, 16/3

(2005) Ambiente, Societ, Sviluppo, by L. Iacoponi, in Il Pensiero Economico Italiano, XXIII/1

(2004) Storie di femministe. Filosofe rumorose, by Giuliani F., Pasquino M., Fortuna S., in Kainos. Rivista on-line di critica filosofica

Academic and Institutional journal articles

(2018) Frey M. and C.Certomà  “Processi co-generativi di pianificazione e governance delle infrastrutture verdi. Il caso dell’ex-Snia Viscosa a Roma”, Urbanistica Informazioni vol.273-4, p.47

(2016) (with M. Frey) “Governance fluida, pianificazione informale e nuove forme di resilienza urbana , Sentieri Urbani, 20

(2015) Informal planning: a new approach to participatory transformation of public space?, Memorie della Societ di Studi Geografici – Rivista Geografica Italiana, Firenze University Press

(2013) Orti urbani, giardini condivisi, guerrilla gardening: limpegno della societ civile nella costruzione partecipata dello spazio pubblico, Rivista di Diritto Agrario, n.4/2012

(2013) Giustizia spaziale e giustizia ambientale. Una lettura spaziale della disuguaglianza sociale, Post, 3

(2012) Prima che Politica muoia? Crisi e trasformazione del pensiero ambientale contemporaneo, Prometeo 118

(2012) The political to come. Notes on the transformation of the public space in the late globalization, Bollettino Telematico di Filosofia Politica

(2010) Diritto al cibo, sicurezza alimentare e sovranit alimentare, Rivista di Diritto Alimentare, IV/ 2

(2009) Being globally local: power-geometries in post-global space, Bollettino Telematico di Filosofia Politica

(2008) Costruire roccaforti, costruire incontri: sulla retorica dellautenticit dei luoghi, Gazzetta Ambiente, 3

(2008) Da Kant alla hybrid geography: luoghi authentici e viaggi di scoperta, Philosophema , 4

(2007) Acqua pubblica o acqua privata?, Gazzetta Ambiente, 4

(2007) Privatizzazione o (ri)pubblicizzazione? Il dibattito internazionale sulla gestione delle risorse idriche, Locus, 6

(2007) Ecofemminismo: una presentazione critica, DonnaWomanFemme n.1/73

(2007) Acqua: dalla desacralizzazione alla privatizzazione, Economia e Ambiente, 1-2

(2007) Dagli equili bri naturali allipotesi Gaia, Parchi, 52

(2005) Valutare lagricoltura sociale, in Noferi M. (ed.), Agricoltura sociale e agricoltura di comunit, Arsia, Firenze

(2005) Debito Ecologico e Sociale: un nuovo modo di leggere il mondo(with Orsini M.), Gazzetta ambiente, 4

(2004) Per uneconomia dei diritti, Regioni e Ambiente, 6

(2003/4) (with Greco L.) Pagamento in natura, Semi. Agricolture, risorse, territori, XIV/3-4

(2003) La nascita dellecologismo scientifico, Il Pensiero Economico Moderno, XXIII/1-2

(2003) Ecologia, ecologismo e teoria dei sistemi, Economia e ambiente, 22/3

(2003) Suggestioni dallecologismo contemporaneo, Studi economici e sociali, 38/2

(2003) Un percorso del pensiero ecologico, Philosophema, 1-2

Conference Proceedings

(2013) (with F. Corsini, F. Rizzi) “Crowdsourcing urban sustainability. Data, people and technologies in participatory governance”, 8th Conference on Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems

(2012) Sulla retorica del locale, in E. Cristiani, G. Strambi (eds.), Regole delle produzioni locali e mercato globale, ETS, Pisa

(2011), Some philosophical issues on the European Convention on Landscape, Living Landscape, vol II, UNISCAPE Publications, Bandecchi e Vivaldi Editori, Pontedera

(2011) Riflettendo sul Paesaggio. Brevi considerazioni su territorio, appartenenza e cambiamento, in Cristiani E., Alabrese M., Strambi G., (eds.), La convenzione Europea del Paesaggio nel decennale della sua approvazione, ETS, Pisa

(2010) Territori e produzioni alimentari tra locale e globale, in Pellecchia E. (eds), Cibo e Conflitti, Plus-Pisa University Press

(2005) Sale su Cartagine: guerra e ambiente, in Pellecchia E., Consorti P. (eds.), Diritti, tolleranza, memoria. Una città per la Pace, Plus-Pisa University Press

Edited special issues

(forth.) (with C. Tornaghi) Political gardening, Local Environment 20/10

(2009) Tutela dellambiente tra scienza e societ, Quaderni di Locus n.3 (with E.Cristiani) , Felici Editore, Pisa

(2009) Pontedera, Locus, n. 12 ( with R. Ciuti and B. Leoni), Felici Editore, Pisa

(2009) Il Parco, i parchi, Locus, n. 13/14 ( with R. Pazzagli), Felici Editore, Pisa


(2016) (with N. Paris, A. Pirni) “Le diverse declinazioni del concetto di giustizia nelle procedure di pianificazione e autorizzazione delle infrastrutture elettriche”, RSE, Milan

(2015) (with M.Frey, N.Gusmerrotti, M.Macellari) “Making the case. Business, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services as tool for change”, Global Compact Network Italia

(2014) “Verso un’interpretazione inclusiva della Sicurezza Urbana. Analisi delle tendenze internazionali e del lavoro dellOsservatorio per la Sicurezza Urbana della Provincia di Pisa” (con M. Battaglia, F. Biondi Dal Monte, E. Passetti), Provincia di Pisa

(2013) “Wine Experience. Social Mapping Wine Tourism”, Great Wine Capitals – International Research Grant 2012-13 (GWC 2013 Laureats presentation) – research geo-blog: “Chianti Experiences. Unconventional notes on people’s encounters with wine and place”

(2013) “Digging deep corporate liability. Environmental Justice strategies in the world of oil” (with Greyl, L.,Ojo, G. U., William S., Greco, L., Ogbara, N. Ohw ojeheri, A.), EJOLT- Environmental justice organisations, liability and trade project, FP/7

(2006), Sostenibilit sociale e sostenibilit ambientale. Unopportunit di sviluppo rurale per la Toscana, Arsia  Regione Toscana

Other publications

(2017) (with R. Muroni, I. Conti, D.Ducato) “La green society tra innovazione sociale e partecipazione” (collective interview), in V. Cogliati (ed.) Alla ricerca della Green Society, EdizioniAmbiente, Milano, 2017

(2016) (with Costa S., Fox-Kamper R., Good R.) “Come aumentare l’importanza degli orti urbani in città?”, Factsheets, COST Action TU1201  Urban Allotment Gardens in Europe website

(2015) (with F. Rizzi) “Smart Cities for Smart Citizens: Enabling Urban Transitions through Crowdsourcing”, Urbanisation and Global Environmental Change -UGEG Viewpoints blog, IHDP

(2010) Riprendiamo il filo, La Nuova Ecologia, march

(2009) Notes on the History of Ecology, Villaggio Globale on line

(2006) Campi di battaglia, Filosofia ambientale

(2005) Darwin e noi, La Nuova Ecologia, nov.

(2004) Grano o grane. Prevenire il frumento transgenico, section “Narrazioni”, Fondazione dei Diritti Genetici

(2003) Conversazione con Serge Latouche. Immaginare il dopo-sviluppo, Villaggio globale online

(2001) Dallecofemminismo alletica dellambiente, Filosofia ambientale




Bachelor and Master

2017 Module on “Identità territoriale e turismo del vino”, Second Level Master on Vino italiano e mercati globali, SSSUP, Pisa

2017 Course in “Development Studies: environmental justice, conflicts and the political ecology of development” (Corso per Laurea Triennale in M-GGR02 equivalent to BA degree course)

2016/17 Course in Environment and Society – Cultural Geography, Science for Peace Department, University of Pisa (Corso per Laurea Magistrale in M-GGR01 equivalent to MA degree course)

2016 MA course in Global Aspect of Landscape Planning, Department of Landscape, Spatial and Infrastructure Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences – BOKU , Wien

2016 Module on “Identità territoriale e turismo del vino”, Second Level Master on Vino italiano e mercati globali, SSSUP, Pisa

2015/16 Course in Environment and Society – Cultural Geography (M-GGR01), Science for Peace Department, University of Pisa (Corso per Laurea Magistrale in M-GGR01 equivalent to MA degree course)

2014/15 Course in Cultural Geography (M-GGR01), Science for Peace Department, University of Pisa  (Corso per Laurea Magistrale in M-GGR01 equivalent to MA degree course)

2013/14  Course in Cultural Geography (M-GGR01), Science for Peace Department, University of Pisa (Corso per Laurea Magistrale in M-GGR01 equivalent to MA degree course)

PhD Courses

2012 PhD international course “Introduction to environmental sustainability”, SSSUP, Pisa 

2011PhD international course “Introduction to environmental sustainability”, SSSUP, Pisa 

Summer School Courses

2015 Module on “Urban Gardens in Deprived and Neglected Neighbourhoods”, Joint Training School on Social Aspects of Urban Gardening, Warsaw University of Life Sciences

2014 Module in “Planning & Policy”, Summer School on Urban Allotment Gardens in European Cities, University Paris Lodron Salzburg


Referee for:

Urban Studies; Journal of Planning Education and Research; Planning Theory; Action Research; De Ethica; Environment, Development and Sustainability; OpenSage; Journal of Language and Culture; Ethical Theory and Moral Practice; Partecipazione e Conflitto – The Open Journal of Sociopolitical Studies; Journal of Rural studies; Antipode; Rivista Geografica Italiana; ACME-An international Journal for Critical Geographers; Cities; Sustainability; Journal of Environmental Planning and Management; The Public Sector Journal; Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions; Agriculture and Human Values; Geoforum; Archivio di studi urbani e regionali; Land Use Planning


Projects with International Networks

2017 – present  Cost Action CA 15212 “Citizen Science”

2017- present  “Urban Narratives”, Proof of Concept initiative funded by New Zealand National Science, University of Waikato, member of the Steering Committee

2014- 2016 Cost Action TU1204 “People Friendly Cities in a Data Rich World”, country member for Italy

2014- 2016 Cost Action TU1201 “Urban Allotment Gardens in European Cities – Future, Challenges and Lessons Learned”, member representative in the Management Commitee for Belgium


Audio and Video outputs

“Critical Urban Gardening”, RCC media, 17 september 2012, CLICK

“Chianti Experiences with Chiara Certom”, How to tour Italy Blogradio, 20 july 2013 CLICK

Orti urbani, giardini condivisi e guerrilla gardening: nuove forme di pianificazione urbana condivisa”, SantAnna Science Caf, Pisa, 21 june 2012 CLICK

Il filo di Arianna, Legambiente, Roma, 28 january 2010 CLICK

Access to full text publications via ResearchGate