The Department

The Interuniversity Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning (DIST) is the reference structure of the Polytechnic and the University of Turin in the cultural areas that study the processes of transformation and governance of the territory from the global to the local scale, considered in the its physical, economic, social, political, cultural aspects and their interrelations, in a perspective of sustainability.

The DIST department is the point of reference for Turin’s Polytechnic and University in the cultural areas dealing with spatial transformation and spatial governance processes, from the local to the planetary scale. The department, focusing on the urban issue with a sustainability perspective, promotes theoretical and applied research, teaching, and knowledge transfer.


As a result of art. 1 of the L. 232/2016 (clauses 319, 320) the DIST department has been recognized as one of the 180 excellence departments of the Italian university system, and thus granted special funding for the 2018-2022 period (MIUR). The resulting Excellence Project aims at maximizing the department capacity to answer to the UN Agenda 2030 challenges (“Transforming our world: the 2030 agenda for sustainable development”, 2015) and, in specific, to contribute to reach the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goal 11: “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.


The DIST department, among the 180 funded, possesses peculiar features that will help to reach the objectives of the Excellence Project:

  • It is an interuniversity department and, for the first time during the Project selection process, it has been considered in its entirety;
  • It is the department with the highest degree of knowledge sectors diversity within the Polytechnic, and the third within the University of Turin;
  • It has a new Departmental Strategic Plan (2020-2023), being among the first departments to draft a strategic plan in the 2014-2020 period.

The taught programmes in the DIST Department aim to provide expertise on the complex processes that affect space and its relations with the contemporary economy and society, combining the technical, physical and morphological dimensions of the processes with their normative, value and symbolic characteristics.

Ecosystems and territories, institutions and social, economic, political, and environmental processes are at the centre of a pedagogical project that is based on the values of interdisciplinarity, intellectual leadership and integration of knowledge, as well as the social values of equality, democracy, and sustainability.


With this in mind, DIST manages and offers Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes, Post-graduate and Specializing Master’s courses, Ph.D programme. Some of these are inter-departmental and inter-university organized. DIST also promotes and supports professional trainings and Lifelong learning in institutional and business service contexts by offering specific courses at various levels.


Excellent researchers and experienced teachers are involved our Programmes serving different Collegi: the Collegio of Planning and Design directly coordinated directly by DIST as well as other Collegi of the Polytechnic (in the areas of Architecture and Design and Engineering) and the Turin University (in the areas of Economics and Social Sciences, Legal Sciences and Agriculture).