Francesca Piazzoni is a Lecturer in Landscape and Urban Design at the University of Liverpool, School of Architecture. Her research centres on questions of spatial justice, examining how urban forms and power dynamics shape one another. A licensed architect with Ph.D. degrees in Planning and Architecture, Piazzoni combines archival and ethnographic methods to work across three research areas:
MIGRANT URBANISMS. Piazzoni’s current project is titled “The Other Rome: Centring People and Spaces of Maintenance.” Funded by the AHRC (Research, Development, and Engagement Fellowship), “The Other Rome” spotlights cleaners of iconic places as essential, yet marginalised protagonists of heritage-making who deserve recognition and more just working conditions. This project builds on Piazzoni’s previous research on street vending. Piazzoni traced how underprivileged vendors counter oppression by occupying and transforming iconic landscapes, tracing a history that begins with Roman Jewish vendors in the late 19th century up to present-day Bangladeshi sellers.
GENDER and SPACE. Piazzoni’s work documents—and seeks to mitigate—the ways in which built environments ostracise women. Her project "Designing Care: Countering the Urban Exclusion of Older Women" was funded by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA Research Fund). Through interviews and participated archival research, "Designing Care" documented the urban experiences of older women in Liverpool 8, a multicultural neighbourhood with a long history of displacement and activism. In addition to forthcoming academic publications, the project resulted in the participated booklet and exhibition “L8 HERstory: an Architectural Guide by Older Women.”
CRITICAL HERITAGE. A critical focus on authenticity helps Piazzoni study how people construct ideas of the past, and how these ideas impact the production of space. Piazzoni started interrogating authenticity by practicing architecture in China and Lithuania, an experience that prompted her to complicate Western-European constructs of "real" and "fake." Along with other projects on this topic, Piazzoni's monograph titled "The Real Fake: Authenticity and the Production of Space" (Fordham University Press, 2018) analyzes how ideas of "the authentic" exclude underprivileged groups in Thames Town, a British-themed new town in Shanghai.
Before joining the Liverpool School of Architecture in 2019, Piazzoni taught and carried out research at UCLA for the Urban Humanities Initiative, at the Tongji Urban Planning and Design Institute in Shanghai, and at the Vilnius Technical University (VGTU).
Piazzoni teaches design studios and theses in the M.Arch., and lectures in urban studies at the postgraduate as well as undergraduate levels. She is part of the Urban Form and Social Space Research Group and advises Ph.D. students in Urban Studies and Landscape Architecture.
Ph.D. Urban Planning, University of Southern California
Ph.D. Architecture, IUAV University of Venice
M.Arch. s.c.l., Sapienza University of Rome
Piazzoni, M. F. (2018) "The Real Fake: Authenticity and the Production of Space." New York: Fordham University Press. here
Devlin, R. Piazzoni, F (2022) "In the name of History: (De)legitimizing Street Vendors in Rome and New York" Urban Studies here
Piazzoni, F. (2022). "Material Agencies of Survival: Street Vending on a Roman Bridge." Cities. here
Piazzoni, F; Poe, J; Santi, E. (2022) "What Design for Urban Design Justice?" Journal of Urbanism here
Piazzoni, F. (2021) "The Other "Bangla-Town: : Marginality in the Centre of Rome." Migration Letters. 18(1), 73–83 here
Piazzoni, F. (2020) "Visibility as Justice. Immigrant Street Vendors and the Right to Difference in Rome." Journal of Planning Education and Research. here
Piazzoni, F. (2020). "What’s Wrong with Fakes? Heritage Reconstructions, Authenticity, and Democracy in Post-Disaster Contexts." International Journal of Cultural Property. here
Piazzoni M. F. & Banerjee T. (2018) "Mimicry in Urban Design. The Urban Form of Development." Journal of Urban Design. 23(4) 482-498 here
Piazzoni, M. F. (2018) "In Support of Stylistic Reconstructions: Some Thoughts on Authenticity and Justice." In C. Holtorf, L. Kealy, T. Kono eds. Reconstruction: an ICOMOS Integrating Journal p. 1-14.
Piazzoni, M. F. & Basso, M. (2017) "Shanghai, a (Self) Portrait." Journal of Architecture and Urbanism. 41 (2), 79-81here
 BOOK CHAPTERS
Piazzoni, F. (2023) "Who Authors Counter-maps? Lessons from an Ethnography of Street Vending." in Kamalipour, H. Aelbrecht, P. and Peimani, N. The Routledge Handbook of Urban Design Research Methods. here
Piazzoni, F., Loukaitou-Sideris, A. (2022) “Empowering Difference: Just Urban Design for the Immigrant Street Vendors of Rome.” In Goh, K. Loukaitou-Sideris, A. Mukhija, V. Just Urban Design: The Struggle for a Public City. MIT University Press. here
Chen, F., Piazzoni, F., Xi, J. Shun Kei, Y., & Antonopoulous, A. (2021) “Public Space”, The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Urban and Regional Futures.
Piazzoni, F.; Jamme, H.; (2020) "Private Uses Make Public Spaces. Street Vending in HCMC and Rome." In J. Ross ed. Routledge Handbook on Street Culture. London, Routledge.159-169 here
Piazzoni, M. F. (2019) "Theming as a Preservation Tool? On the Authenticity of Thames Town, the English Village of Shanghai." In V. Bharne & T. Sandmeier. Routledge Companion of Global Heritage Conservation. New York and London:
Piazzoni, M. F. (2018) "Authenticity Makes the City. How "the Authentic" Affects the Production of Space." In L. Tate & B. Shannon Planning for Authenticities, New York and London: Routledge. 154-169. here
 ESSAYS AND COMMENTARIES
Piazzoni, F. et al. (2022) L8 HerStory: an Architectural Guide by Older Women. Liverpool: RIBA and University of Liverpool here
Piazzoni, F. (2022) Book Review: "Feng Shui and the city: the public and private spaces of Chinese geomancy" by M. Madeddu and X. Zhang, London, Palgrave Pivot, Journal of Urban Design here ((https://www.researchgate.net/publication/355650100_Book_Review_Feng_Shui_and_the_city_the_public_and_private_spaces_of_Chinese_geomancy_by_M_Madeddu_and_X_Zhang_London_Palgrave_Pivot_2021_4499_166pp_hardback_ISBN_978-981-16-0846-9) )
Piazzoni, F. (2021) Book Review: "Fake Heritage: Why We Rebuild Monuments" by John Darlington, Yale University Press. on New Futures for Replicas here ((https://replicas.stir.ac.uk/2021/04/08/book-review-fake-heritage-why-we-rebuild-monuments-by-john-darlington-yale-university-press-2020-247-pp-by-francesca-piazzoni/))
Piazzoni, F. (2020) What Authenticity Does: On Fake Places and Real Emotions. Anima Loci: Journal of Images in Places [here]
Sandercock, L; Piazzoni, M.F. (2018) "Interview with Leonie Sandercock." Journal of Critical Planning, 23. 281-287 here
Maceratini E. & Piazzoni, M. F. (2012) Una Giornata a Corte, un Primo Passo Verso lo Spazio Pubblico Urbanistica 28 (3). 30-33