AMES, Iowa — Tom Rankin, a practicing architect in Italy and an instructor for the Iowa State University College of Design Rome Program, will present “The World’s Most Resilient City: Rome as a Laboratory for Sustainable Urban Design” in a public lecture at ISU.

Part of the ISU College of Design Rome Program Lecture Series, the free presentation will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7, in room 130 Design.

Rankin will discuss ways in which Rome has, for over two millennia, provided examples of sustainable urban design practices, from passive solar buildings to sustainable agriculture, water management and material upcycling. Highlighting innovative public space projects, experiments in urban agriculture, car-free neighborhoods and extreme water conditions, he aims to make Rome’s history relevant to designers today.

“As the ‘eternal city’ faces the challenges of changing demographics and a changing climate, will its celebrated resilience help it transition to a new kind of urbanism which might once again inspire global cities?” Rankin asks.

About Rankin

Rankin is the founder and director of TRA_20, a professional consulting firm focused on sustainable urbanism and cultural management, and a partner and docent with Context Travel, which provides strategies for dynamic travel businesses as well as architectural walks, talks and seminars for “intellectually curious travelers.”

Since 2008, he has taught courses on “Urban Identity, Architecture and Film” and “Art in Rome” for the ISU College of Design Rome Program. He also teaches architectural design studio, urban design, the history of architecture in Rome and sustainable design in Rome as an instructor for California Polytechnic State University’s Rome Program. He has been a guest critic and lecturer for numerous other North American and European architecture and humanities programs in Rome, among them, Cornell University, University of Idaho, University of Minnesota, Pennsylvania State University, Pratt Institute, Rhode Island School of Design, Simon Fraser University, Yale University and ETH, Zurich.

From 2013-2016 he served as the director of Tevereterno Onlus, a multidisciplinary cultural project dedicated to revitalizing Rome’s Tiber River waterfront as a public space for site-specific contemporary art. He is a founding member of ISAR, an Italian nonprofit organization aimed at promoting and defending Roman heritage through projects such as excavations, restorations and educational programs.

Rankin holds a Bachelor of Arts in the history and theory of architecture from Princeton University, the equivalent of a Bachelor of Architecture from Sapienza University of Rome and a Master in Architecture from Harvard University. In 2015, he published “Rome Works: An Architect Explores the World’s Most Resilient City” (Peruzzi Press), and Guardian Cities named his “Still Sustainable City Blog” the “Best Italian City Blog.”


Tom Rankin, Design Rome Program, tgrankin@mac.com
Jen Hogan, Design International Programs, (515) 294-8275, jenhogan@iastate.edu
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289, hsauer@iastate.edu