About Me

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 regularly on cultural planning in universities across Europe. In the UK, 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. In the late 1990s she was Visiting Lecturer and Honorary Research Associate at De Montfort University, Leicester, in the European Cultural Planning Unit.

She is a member of the Academy of Urbanism, a network of influential thinkers, professionals and decision-makers working to create a better living for people in towns and cities, and a Fellow of  the Royal Society for the Arts. Lia’s background is in urban sociology; 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).

For publications and consultancy reports email lia.ghilardi@btinternet.com or fill in the Contact Form

Samples of her work are also on  Academia.edu or ResearchGate


Below is a selection of associates that Lia has worked and continues to work with.

  • She works regularly with Paris and Stockholm-based EGA (Erik Giudice Architects) on cultural masterplans, and on brainstorming innovative solutions to making cities more liveable, vibrant and intercultural.
  • With award winning Copenhagen-based architect practice Adept, she has delivered a number of competition proposals among which is the highly praised Køge Kyst cultural masterplan and the Fredericia historic town’s resources appraisal.
  • With Malmö-based architectural practice AIM (Architecture Is Made), together with architect and researcher Nils Bjorling (Chalmers University) she developed proposals and worked on cultural masterplans challenging conventional approaches to place making in Swedish cities such as Kiruna, Göteborg, Helsingborg, Skövde and Grästorp.
  • With Dublin-based MCO – a multidisciplinary practice with diverse skills and qualifications including business, project management, environmental, architecture, engineering, communications, cultural and social development – Lia has worked on high-profile projects, such as the creation of the concept for a Creative Hub for Trinity College, a Cultural Masterplan for Sligo town centre and an appraisal of Dublin’s St Patrick Festival.
  • With Stockholm-based White Architects she worked on proposals for the V&A Dundee, and on the award-winning new design for Southend Pier.
  • With Glasgow-based cultural planning social enterprise specialists Fablevision, she delivered neighbourhood interventions and artist-led community projects since the early 1990s.

Among the other institutions and organisations she regularly works with is the British Council (Creative Economy Unit), delivering workshops and presentations, policy advice to countries outside Europe, and mapping toolkits. And with the European Union, as both Lead and Thematic expert for URBACT I & II.

More recently she has established a collaboration with the OECD in Italy (The Trento Centre for Local Development) for the facilitation and delivery of a Summer Academy on Cultural & Creative Industries in Local Development.