by Justin Hyatt
Giulio Senes is one of our newest members of AltaGO Europe’s network of experts in the field of active mobility. Giulio, as a university professor in Milan and head of the Italian division of the European Greenway Association (EGWA), brings both a wealth of experience and an unlimited amount of enthusiasm for completing exciting projects in Italy.
JH: Tell us a bit about your favorite topics and your specialties. What kinds of projects or activities make your heart beat faster?
GS: First of all, greenway planning. The “planning approach” comes from a great friend, Julius Fabos, Professor Emeritus of the UMass at Amherst. It is a new way of thinking about landscape planning, using a key-concept the connection of natural and man-made corridors. The application in Italy of this concept is not easy. Then, rail-trails design. Since 2000, I have been engaged in the assessment of the abandoned railway lines in Italy (7000 km) and their recovery as greenways.
You are a university professor at the U of Milan. what kinds of classes do you teach there, and who are your students?
I teach “Greenway Planning and Design” for second and final year students of the Master in Landscape Architecture. My students’ backgrounds vary from architecture to land use planning to urban agriculture. In the last few years, I have had several students from China. You may not know, but greenways and rail-trails are growing very rapidly in China. Every year, I choose a different abandoned railway line and the students have to design its recovery as a greenway.
You are also a member of the EGWA. Do you have both regular activities and also special ones?
For the next four years, I am serving as the president of the European Greenways Association. The main activity is cultural: spread the concepts and disseminate the practices in Europe in order to extend the greenways realization. These goals can be achieved with regular activities but also with the help of several European projects (funded by the EU) that help growing awareness and collaborations in Europe.
There seem to be a lot of cycling or sustainable mobility projects in Italy these days (just think VENTO). Do you see Italian towns becoming more sustainable in the future?
Yes. It is absolutely true. After years of ‘marginality’ in terms of interest and budget, in the last two years in Italy concepts such as sustainable mobility, cycling, sustainable tourism, etc. are now very diffused at all levels (from national to local). Public funds are dedicated and projects are blooming everywhere.