From the Preface of the book: “Multimedia Explorations in Urban Policy and Planning”
(read the full preface)

Leonie: “…I gave a keynote at the International Network of Urban Research and Action conferente in 2001. For the first few days, the conference took place in a derelict factory (these are true urban activists!) in Florence. Then we moved to a villa in the Tuscan countryside, recently taken over by organic farmers trying to start an agriturismo business. At the end of the week, PhD students were given a brief chance to display their wares. Resisting the temptation to take a much needed nap in the shade of an olive tree, I attended their session. And that day I saw a presentation by Giovanni Attili, a doctoral student in Planning at the University of Rome, La Sapienza. As part of his doctorate, Attili was constructing a 2-h interactive hypermedia CD-ROM depicting refugee landscapes in a neighbourhood in inner Rome. ‘And by a stanza, a city is blown to bits’ (Mayakovsky, 1925 in Blake, 1960, p. 195). Here was my second epistemological detonation. While I was still toiling around the campfire of storytelling as the written and spoken word, Attili’s feet were firmly planted in twenty-first century storytelling modes. With the impact of his handful of dynamite thrown into the campfire, I was being shown the cascading potentialities of multimedia in depicting a complex and unsettled urban reality composed of many stories, images, sounds, music, a multi-sensory experience, a complex tapestry, artfully woven together. I was awed. We talked. I suggested keeping in touch. And 3 years later we were working on our first collaborative film project…”

Giovanni: “…In 2001 I attended the INURA conference in Florence. I showed a part of the hypermedia I was working on. And there happened another of those encounters which profoundly affected my life. Leonie was there. She saw my work. I was intimidated by her reputation. I had read her books. I knew her work. She is a well-known international scholar. At that time I was just a shy PhD student who could barely speak a word of English. Unexpectedly our paths intersected. And we recognized each other. We were interested in the same research topics, and she was impressed by the storytelling potentialities that my hypermedia had shown. We talked. I was happy because I felt that I was no longer alone. There was someone else in the world who was on my same wavelength. This encounter gave me the energy to accomplish my research goals, to face my PhD committee with greater confidence. In the same period that I was finishing my hypermedia, I heard that Leonie was in Bari for a conference. It is not my nature to advertise myself. I fought with me (always the same parliament) and I decided to send her a copy of this digital product. That was THE moment. Leonie saw it and asked me to come to Vancouver as a postdoctoral fellow. It was 2004. Since then, we have been synergistically working together on projects which enhance storytelling potentialities through the use of digital languages within the planning field. We are a perfect working team, with shared values and curiosity, and with complementary skills. Since then Leonie has been nurturing what Perla had sown. She is not just watering that farmed field. She has the constant capability to fill my life and my research path with luminous epiphanies. Our encounter gave me the opportunity to explore and experiment. The most beautiful thing I could have ever asked for…”