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Landscape Architecture expert is awarded title of Honorary Professor by university in Iran

University of Gloucestershire’s Dr Alessio Russo has been honoured by a prestigious university in Iran for his contribution to deepening understanding of the country’s Persian gardens – nine of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Dr Russo, Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture within the University’s School of Arts, has been awarded the title of Honorary Professor in Landscape Architecture by the University of Birjand – the largest and oldest university in the east of Iran.

Known for an abundance of trees, flowers, fountains and ponds, Persian gardens have been an essential component of Iranian urban and architectural history for almost 2,500 years.

Dr Russo’s extensive research around sustainable city planning and design, such as the benefits of open spaces, how to mitigate the effects of climate change and food security, includes whether Persian gardens – traditionally known as a place for relaxation – could be used as a location for food production.

In the award citation, the University of Birjand said: “Dr Russo has demonstrated remarkable dedication and knowledge in his study of Persian gardens, which has had a profound impact on wider society.

“His publications have provided valuable insights and have enhanced our understanding of the significance of these UNESCO World Heritage sites in Iranian culture and history.

“In recognition of his outstanding achievements, Dr Russo has received the title of Honorary Professor in Landscape Architecture from the University of Birjand.”

Dr Russo, Course Leader for the University’s MA Landscape Architecture programme, said: “This honorary title is an important recognition for me, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the field of Landscape Architecture in this way.

“It is also a way for me to affirm to prospective students who are from Iran and would like to study Landscape Architecture, either at Masters or PhD level, that we are carrying out research on Iranian Persian Gardens and welcome prospective students who would like to lead research on this topic here at University of Gloucestershire.”

Alongside his research, Dr Russo is organising a conference entitled ‘Beyond the Art of Paradise Garden’ at the University, on 5 June, featuring speakers who will present new findings on Persian Gardens.

Main image: Dr Alessio Russo (left) with Iranian student Pourya Torkfar, who is studying for the University’s MA Landscape Architecture degree