Lia Ghilardi

Lia is a creative polymath, based in London. She is the founder and director of Noema, a UK-based organization working internationally to deliver place mapping and strategic cultural planning projects. Internationally recognized as a leader in the field of cultural urban development, she has worked for more than twenty years with civic leaders, urban designers, architects and arts organisations to provide creative and integrated solutions to the challenges of place making in contemporary cities.

An inspiring public speaker, she lectures widely in universities across Europe. From 2007 to 2013 she was module leader at City University, London, where she delivered  the Culture and Regeneration module as part of the MA in Culture, Policy and Management. More on  

She is a member of the Academy of Urbanism, a network of influential thinkers, professionals and decision makers passionate about creating a better living for people in towns and cities. More recently she was invited to join the RSA as a Fellow. 

Lia's background is in urban sociology (Trento University, Italy); she has an MA with Distinction in Arts Criticism from City University (London) and a Diploma in Creative Thinking Skills from the De Bono Seminars Programme (Malta).

Lia's publications about cultural mapping and planning include:



The Time Traveller's Guide to British Theatreco-author with Aleks Sierz (Oberon, London, 2015). ISBN 978-1-78319-208-3

Book Chapters:

Co-author, with Aleks Sierz: ‘Pinter and the Pinteresque: a writer trapped by his own self-image?’ in N. Boireau (ed), Drama on Drama: Dimensions of Theatricality on the Contemporary British Stage, (London: Macmillan, 1997), pp 108–120. ISBN 0-333-66972-X. 

Co-author, with Franco Bianchini: 'Culture and Neighbourhoods: A Comparative Report', Council of Europe Publications,1997). ISBN 92-871-3270-4.

'Why Cities Need To Be Creative' in Creative Thinking: Towards Broader Horizons, (Malta University Press, 1998); ISBN 99909-45-08-X.

'Cultural Planning and Cultural Diversity', in Differing Diversities, Cultural Policy and Cultural Diversity (Tony Bennett, ed., Council of Europe, 2001); ISBN 92-871-4649-7.

'The Culture of Neighbourhoods' (co-author Franco Bianchini) in Cities of Quarters (eds. Bell and Jayne, Ashgate, 2004); ISBN 0-7546-3414-0.

'Thinking Culturally about Diversity' in Navigating Difference: Cultural Diversity and Audience Development (Arts Council England, 2005); ISBN 0-7287-1077-3.

'Rethinking Small Places - Urban and Cultural Creativity beyond the Metropolis' (with T. Fleming and K. Napier) in Small Cities: Urban Experience Beyond The Metropolis (eds. Bell and Jayne, Routledge, 2006). ISBN 0-415-36658-5.

'Identity by Invocation or by Design? How planning is Conjuring up a New Identity for Malmö' in Urban Mindscapes of Europe (eds. Weiss-Sussex with Bianchini, Rodopi, 2006) ISBN 90-420-2104-7.

'The Contribution of Outsiders to Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Cities: The UK Case' in The Intercultural City: Making the Most of Diversity (C. Landry and P. Wood, Comedia, 2006).

‘The Creative City: An English Perspective’ in Creative Cities in Practice – European and Asian Perspectives (ed. Klaus Kunzmann, Tsinghua University Press, Beijing, 2013).

'Don't Just Go with the Flow' in 12 Strategies for Re-energizing Your Community (ed. Susan M. Gardner, Municipal World, Union, Ontario, 2015)


‘Innovation and Cultural Creativity: The Role of the Multimedia Industries in the Future Regeneration of Cities’, in Sally Hardy, Ben Malbon and Crispin Taverner (eds) The Role of Art and Sport in Local and Regional Economic Development (Regional Studies Association, 1996). ISBN 1-897721-05-6.

‘Cultural Planning, Place Making and Urban Sustainability’, Kulturmiljiovard, I/04, 2004, 43-47. ISSN1100-4800.

‘Thinking Culturally about Place: The Cultural Planning Approach’, CIP, Monthly Magazine of the Croatian Architects Association, No.11, 2006, 40-41. ISSN 0011-0728.

‘Thinking Creatively about Place’, Place Branding and Public Diplomacy vol.3, No. 4, October 2007, 280- 286. ISSN 1751-8040.

‘Nature or Nurture? Rethinking the Creative City’ in Era 21 Architectural Journal, vol.4 September 2009, 12-15, ISSN 1801-089X.

‘True to Place: embedding cultural distinctiveness in place making in European cities’ in Municipal World Canada, vol. 121, No.2, February 2011, 21-24, ISSN 0027-3589.

‘Looking Forward to the Next Genesis of Creative Cities’ in Municipal World Canada, vol.122, No.9, September 2012, 21-22, ISSN 0027-3589.

‘A Cultural Planning Guide’ in Hanbok I Cultural Planning, The Swedish Association of Municipalities (SKL), 2011, ISBN 978-91-7345-265-6.

‘Re-imagining Main Street’ in Municipal World Canada, vol. 123, No.9, September 2013, 23-24, ISSN 0027-3589.

'Regenerating Cities: Beyond the Obvious' in Municipal World Canada, vol. 124, No.9., September 2014, 21-22, ISSN 0027-3589.

'Cultural Regeneration: Examples from two second-tier Swedish cities' in Municipal World Canada, vol. 125, No.9., September 2015, 13-16, ISSN 0027-3589.

'The Development of the Creative Industries in the UK' in Smart Cities 04-15 Kulturni politika a strategie mest, December 2015, Brno, CZ, 67-69 ISSN 2336-1786