VIII Doctoral Conference: Turin, October 2008; Florence, April 2009 - The first part of the 8th National Doctoral Network Conference took place in October 2008 in Turin. The congress provided doctoral students from a large number of Italian universities with an arena in which to compare and discuss ideas. The Network gave a facelift to the traditional format by dividing the conference into two parts, the second of which took place in Florence on 3-4 April 2009, where participants examined ways to build and consolidate a new, more interactive and critical approach to scientific brainstorming. In Turin, talks and sessions were of various types, all high quality, though for practical reasons we have given space only to those which, in our view, are directly linked, in terms of issues and affinity, to our own research interests. The Doctoral Network has set itself the task of coordinating doctoral degree courses in Urban Studies and Planning and puts itself forward as a type of ‘institute’ where meetings and discussions can be held with the aim of bringing to the fore the specific issues and problems associated with doctoral training.