Research Affiliates

Byeongsun Ahn, PhD

Byeongsun Ahn is a postdoctoral researcher at the Research Platform: The Challenges of Urban Future, University of Vienna. He is currently involved in a JPI Urban Europe, which examines participatory policy-making in Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Vienna. Before finishing his doctoral degree in sociology at University of Vienna, he received his BA. in political science from the same university in 2014, and his MSc. in sociology from University of Amsterdam in 2015. His research interests include: citizen participation; governance rescaling; path dependence; program evaluation; and social justice.

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Lukas Alexander, BA BA MA

From 2017 to 2019, Lukas Alexander has been involved in the European research project COHSMO, which examines the effects of territorial cohesion on economic growth, spatial justice and democratic capacities. In March 2020, he started working in the project SmartDest. Here, the focus lies on social consequences of mobility (in particular masstourism) and how different European cities approach the topic. His scientific focus encompasses the labour market and social policy, administrative institutions and governance networks.

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Tatjana Boczy, MA

Tatjana Boczy is a research assistant and PhD candidate at the Department of Sociology at the University of Vienna. Her research interests include comparative urban and regional research, social change and institutional transformations, political and environmental sociology as well as mixed-methods research. Tatjana explores these issues in the Horizon2020 project COHSMO on territorial cohesion and the analysis of the multiscale European Social Model in seven partner countries. In her PhD-thesis, she investigates the urban as well as regional intricacies of welfare under recent social, economic and environmental challenges such as climate change policies. Her contributions to urban futures will be in applications of mixed-method research as well as empirical and theoretical detail of territorial social and climate justice from a sociological perspective. Previously, (2013-2014) she was an undergraduate research assistant at the Department of Sociology of the University of Innsbruck in research on Smart Cities and participation practices. She completed a master’s degree in Sociology at the University of Innsbruck in 2017 and holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Innsbruck in 2014. Her MA thesis - Smart city – 21st Century Panopticon? Rationality and high modernist ideology in sustainable urban planning - received the prize for outstanding theses (2017-2018) from the Austrian Sociology Association in 2019.

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Ruggero Cefalo, PhD

Ruggero Cefalo earned his PhD in 2017. He is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Vienna, Department of Sociology, where he teaches political sociology and comparative welfare analysis and social policy in comparative perspective. He is particularly interested in educational and labour policies, school-to-work transitions and youth studies. He has participated in the Horizon 2020 Projects YOUNG ADULLLT and COHSMO. Among his recent publications is Youth Labor Market Integration in European Regions (with R. Scandurra and Y. Kazepov).


Dorota Celinska-Janowicz, PhD

Dorota Celinska-Janowicz holds a PhD in Earth Sciences (speciality in Geography) and is an assistant professor at the Centre for European Regional and Local Studies at EUROREG, University of Warsaw. She graduated in geography and spatial economy at the University of Warsaw. Her area of expertise is economic geography, retail geography, urban studies, and regional and local development. Dorota is especially interested in changes in spatial consumer behaviours related to the spread of online shopping and, recently, also the COVID-19 pandemic. She has participated in several ESPON projects and research projects funded by the Polish National Science Centre, as well as evaluation studies and projects on regional and local development commissioned by the Ministry of Regional Development, the National Centre for Research and Development, and the Warsaw City Hall. She was awarded several post-doc scholarships (University of Vienna - 2016, Free University of Berlin - 2016, University of Oxford – 2019-2020) and currently, she is an academic visitor at the Department of Geography and Regional Research of the University of Vienna, conducting a post-doc project with the scholarship of Austria’s Agency for Education and Internationalisation (OeAD).





Cansu Civelek, PhD

Cansu Civelek graduated from the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at the Middle East Technical University, Ankara. She obtained her master’s degree at the Social and Cultural Anthropology Department at the University of Vienna with a thesis titled 'Regeneration on Site' or Rent-Driven Urban Renewal? An Ethnographic Inquiry into the Karapınar Valley Urban Regeneration Project in Eskisehir, Turkey”. In 2015, she completed her first self-funded documentary movie called “Warning Karapınar! Voices from an Urban Regeneration” developed from her master’s thesis. In 2020, she received her doctoral degree from the Social and Cultural Anthropology Department in Vienna with a dissertation titled “Non-spectacular policy-making: Urban governance, silence, and dissent in an abortive renewal project in Eskişehir, Turkey”. The dissertation inquired urban policy-making and urban governance practices of a municipal government and their entanglement with populations while tackling the questions of silence and (de)politicization.


Ana Cukovic, MA

Ana Ćuković’s research focuses on urban restructuring and migration in Detroit. Her work intersects policy and bureaucracy and looks at political, economic, and social institutions and actors as shaping pathways and narratives of migrant emplacement and settlement in the city. Her analysis looks at the roles of foundations, non-government organizations, municipal offices, religious groups, and communities as integral to driving urban change at this particular historical moment of revitalization. Ćuković’s research builds on her previous work on entrepreneurship in Detroit, which she conducted as an MA student at the Department of Nationalism Studies at the Central European University in Budapest. Her previous studies also included an MA in International Relations, Conflict Resolution, and Civil Society Development at the American University of Paris and Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne where she engaged Yugonostalgia and post-Yugoslav space. During her tenure as a Nationalism Student at CEU, she also did media and archival work at the Donald & Vera Blinken Open Society Archives in Budapest. She is currently the project coordinator for Europe-Asia Forced Migration Research Platform at University of Vienna.

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Stefanie Döringer, MA

Stefanie Döringer studied sociology, spatial research and spatial planning at the University of Vienna, Austria and the University of Oslo, Norway. During her studies, she was employed at the Institute for Urban and Regional Research (ÖAW) and at the Institute for Geography and Spatial Research at the University of Vienna. After her studies she gained practical experience in spatial planning in working in a variety of spatial planning offices. Since 2016 she is a pre-doc in the research group Innovation and Urban Economy at the Institute of Urban and Regional Research. Her research is particularly focused on governance, peripheralization and spatial planning. 

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Cornelia Dlabaja, MA

Cornelia Dlabaja is an urban researcher. She studied sociology and spatial planning in Vienna, Paris, and Darmstadt. Her research interests include ‘right to the city’ movements in Venice and Vienna, caring for the city, urban change, migration, and gender. She is currently a research assistant and PhD candidate at the Department of European Ethnology at the University of Vienna. In her ethnographic PhD project, she investigates the formation of the urban development area Seestadt Aspern over a 5-year period. Her Master’s research was published in 2016 as “The Viennese Brunnenviertel: Productions of Urban Change” (new academic press) during her first maternity leave, which was also her first monography. Previous work included from the FEMtech funded project ‘GenderATlas’ at the Institute of Geography and ‘Living in Highrises’ at the Department of Sociology at the University of Vienna. She co-organised the WWTF funded Maria Jahoda summer school ‘Rethinking public space’ in 2014. In 2011, Cornelia founded the Section of Social Inequality in the Austrian Sociology Association, of which she is the? speaker until today.

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Joshua Grigsby, MSc

Joshua Grigsby is a PhD candidate at the Department of Geography and Regional Research at the University of Vienna. His doctoral research compares discursive frames of sustainability in public policy strategies with those found in sustainability science and considers the drivers and implications of identified divergences as well as requirements for alignment; in essence, how strategic policy narratives problematize sustainability, and the ways in which these problematizations reflect or ignore scientific findings and recommendations. More broadly, he is interested in longterm socio-ecological relations, their spatial forms and practices, the cultural narratives that support them, and what it truly means for the human project to become and remain sustainable.

Josh graduated from the 4CITIES Erasmus Mundus Master in Urban Studies in 2012 and has worked as assistant program coordinator for 4CITIES since 2015 and as University Assistant (prae-doc) at the Department of Geography and Regional Research since 2018. Additionally, he has conducted research for Smarter Than Car, an NGO focused on future urban mobility and sustainability transformations, since 2014.

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Sandra Guinand, BA MA PhD

Sandra Guinand is an urban-planner and urban geographer. She is lecturer at the Department of geography and regional research at the University of Vienna and associate researcher of EIREST (Interdisciplinary Research Group on Tourism) of Paris 1-Sorbonne University. She holds a PhD in geography from Paris 1-Sorbonne University and in geosciences and environment from Lausanne University. She was a visiting fellow from the Swiss National Science Foundation at the Graduate Center, CUNY and Johns Hopkins University from 2014-2016 and at the University of Vienna from 2016-2018. She taught in different international contexts: University of Lausanne (Switzerland), Euro-Mediterranean University of Fes (Morocco), University of Vienna (Austria) Technical University of Graz (Austria) and ETH Zürich (Switzerland). Her research interests focus on visual methods, urban regeneration projects, place-making and socio-economic transformations of urban landscape, with a specific focus on heritage processes, public-private partnerships and tourism. 

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Céline Janssen, M.A.

Céline Janssen is a 3rd-year PhD candidate from Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands. She will visit the Challenge of Urban Futures Platform for a six week period between 27th February until 9th April. Being educated as an architect and urban designer, she is currently conducting her PhD research in Urban Development Management about how governance processes in area-based development projects affect the implementation of social sustainability goals in urban areas. Her research is supported by the Foundation for Area Development Knowledge in the Netherlands, a knowledge platform for public, private and third sector organizations involved in the practice of area development across the Netherlands.


Jiannis Kaucic, MA

Jiannis Kaucic holds a master’s degree in Theoretical and Applied Geography from the University of Vienna (2012), specialising in regional development, spatial research and ur-ban geography. From 2009-2017 he worked for the Austrian Institute of Spatial planning (ÖIR), where he managed and conducted projects for public and private clients at national and European level. In his work he specialized in the domains of European Cohesion Policy, issues of regional development and spatial planning, evaluation and Territorial Impact Assessment. Since November 2017, Jiannis is university assistant and PhD candidate at the Department of Geography and Regional Research at the University of Vienna. His research in the working group of Applied Geography, Spatial Research and Spatial Planning focuses on theory and practice of strategic spatial planning and governance in the context of European Cross-Border Cooperation.

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Mag. Katrin Kremmel, BA

Katrin Kremmel is a PhD candidate at the Social and Cultural Anthropology department of the University of Vienna. Since 2019 she is spokesperson of the "Working Group Migration” of the German Association of Social and Cultural Anthropologists. Prior to her PhD studies, she worked as a researcher at the Institute of Law and Sociology (IRKS) in Vienna, where she pursued her research interests in migration and legal sociology. Katrin completed her MA at the University of Vienna and also studied at the Universitat Autonòma de Barcelona and the Universidade de São Paulo.

Katrin's research engages with unwaged labor in the refugee care sector to explore negotiations of asylum practices, citizenship and territorial governance in the context of neoliberal globalization through the perspective of a rural region. With this agenda, she operates outside of rural-urban dichotomies. She thus does not conceive of rural areas as essentially different from cities, but as parts of global processes that transform state territoriality, which are to be taken seriously.

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Nele Kress, MA

Nele Kress is a university assistant and PhD candidate at the Department of Geography and Regional Research (Urban Studies working group) at the University of Vienna. Nele has a background in Environmental and Sustainability Studies (BSc, Leuphana University Lüneburg and Karlstad University) and holds a Joint International Master's Degree in Sustainable Development (MSc, Leipzig University and Utrecht University). Her research interests include urban politics and governance, policy narratives, urban experimentation, urban sustainability transformations, as well as transdisciplinary and transformative research. In her dissertation project, she comparatively analyses transformative governance capacities of emerging ‘circular cities’ in Europe. She aims to examine the capacities cities need to steer the circular economy in cities towards a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. Before joining the Urban Studies working group at the University of Vienna, Nele worked as a research associate at the Helmholtz-Center for Environmental Research Leipzig in the transdisciplinary research project 'Governance of Sociotechnical Transformations' as well as in various environmental organizations and cultural and political projects.


Johanna Lilius, PhD

Johanna Lilius is a postdoctoral researcher at Aalto University in
Helsinki Finland, currently in Vienna to enhance her understanding on
how housing policy frameworks impact housing practices. Her research has
centered around housing and housing policy & development, (strategic)
urban planning and development, suburban regeneration, urban cultures
and lifestyles, multilocality and gentrification.  She is currently the
PI of two Finnish research projects: Immigrant entrepreneurs in suburban
regeneration and Enhancing liveability of small shrinking cities through
co-creation. Johanna is the chief editor of the Finnish Journal of Urban

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Dr. Elisabetta Mocca

Dr Elisabetta Mocca is a University Post-Doctoral Assistant at the Department of Sociology at the University of Vienna since September 2018. Before joining the University of Vienna, she worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. Prior to that, she worked as a Research Associate at the Policy Studies Institute in London and as a Research Assistant at the Economic and Social Research Institute in Turin. She holds a PhD in Politics from Brunel University London (2015), a Master’s Degree in Administration Science (2008) and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies (2005) from the University of Turin, Italy.

Her research interests revolve around urban and territorial politics and environmental politics. On these topics she has published in leading international journals, including Antipode, Journal of Urban Affairs, Journal of Political Ideologies and Voluntas.

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Dr. Ádám Németh

Dr. Ádám Németh is an OeAD post-doctoral researcher at the Institute for Urban and Regional Research (ISR) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences since February 2020. He defended his doctoral theses with 'summa cum laude' evaluation in 2014 at the University of Pécs, Hungary. He published a number of articles in peer reviewed journals and gave more than thirty conference presentations in ten different countries (see e.g. link). At his alma mater he participated in teaching of altogether 12 seminars and courses in Hungarian and English and he successfully applied for a number of third party funded prae and postdoctoral projects. Beside his employment contracts with the University of Pécs, the University of Sopron and the University of Vienna, he gained international experience at several further research institutions in Estonia, Latvia, Austria, and Germany too, including the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen.   

Pamela Pasian, PhD

Pamela Pasian is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Ca’Foscari University of Venice and an Adjunct Professor in Sociology of the Family at the University of Padua. She is currently involved in the INTERREG Central Europe project “SIforREF – Integrating refugees in society and labour market through social innovation” and previously she worked at the project “Speak out! Empowering migrant, refugees and ethnic minority women against gender violence in Europe” supported by the Daphne Programme of the European Union. She holds a PhD in Social Sciences from the University of Padua (2017). Her research interests include migration, gender and family studies, care professions and health. Her first monography “Doulas in Italy. The emergence of a new care profession” (Routledge, 2022) documents the emergence of doulas as care professionals in Italy and analyses their role in national and international context.



Carmen Pérez del Pulgar Frowein, MsC

Carmen Pérez del Pulgar is a doctoral researcher at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and the Barcelona Lab for Urban Environmental Justice and Sustainability (BCNUEJ), currently a visiting researcher at the Department of Sociology at the University of Vienna. Carmen graduated in Political Science at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and holds an MSc in Human Geography from the Universiteit van Amsterdam.

She explores the complex geographies of cities and questions how conflicting conceptualisations of what a city is and who it is for become populated and renegotiated through everyday urban spaces. Carmen is particularly interested the political and social production of green-playful entanglements in cities and questions how the discursive, affective and material registers of green and child friendly cities are constructed, mobilised, interpreted and distributed through and for power. 

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Catherine Raya Polishchuk Clivaz, MA

Catherine Polishchuk completed her BA at the University of Zurich, and her MA at the Graduate Institute Geneva in anthropology and sociology of development. In her MA-thesis, she analyzes how values that are mobilized in public discourse are reappropriated by individuals in their own ethical stance on (im-)migration. Her current work too scrutinizes the fault lines of inclusion and exclusion, as they are produced and reproduced in everyday and seemingly ordinary instances. She has obtained the Vienna Science and Research stipend and is an ÖAW Doc fellow (received April 2020).

Her PhD-project traces the semantics of participation in urban renewal processes in the city of Vienna. There is a lack of transparency of legal and other normative structures underpinning these processes that induces repeated extralegal negotiations among the involved sets of actors. Her work questions the proclaimed inclusiveness of these policies and asks the larger question of whom these policies serve in what ways. Who actually joins participatory events during which the future built environment is at times heatedly debated and how is the data gathered at such events then politically mobilized?

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Martina Schorn, MA

Martina Schorn is a PhD candidate at the Department of Geography and Regional Research at the University of Vienna. There, she served as a uni:docs fellow from October 2017 until September 2020. She holds a master’s degree of Sociology as well as Spatial Research and Spatial Planning from the University of Vienna. Prior to her PhD studies, she worked as a researcher and consultant in youth research. In her PhD project, Martina focuses on strategies to attract young return migrants in rural regions affected by youth outmigration. Her research interests include youth migration, strategic spatial planning, communicative planning and Regional Governance.

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Pouya Sepehr, MA

Pouya Sepehr is currently a University Assistant and Lecturer at the Department of Science and Technology Studies at the University of Vienna. In 2010, he earned an MA in International Development from Oxford. Since then, he has worked in the field of sustainable development and urban rehabilitation in the UK, Peru, Iran, and Ghana. In 2015, Pouya started the MA programme at the Uni Wien STS department and soon after graduation he began working at the department as a PhD candidate. His research interests are centred around the intersecting fields of urban sociology, human geography and STS. His PhD focuses primarily on Smart City Vienna and its future urban imaginaries. He specifically studied the multiple practices that imply particular arrays of imaginary that connects past to future while reshaping the relation of the city and citizens. In his writing, he hence covers the socio-technical imaginary of Smart City Vienna and the role ascribed to the citizens while being imagined to be at the centre of the Smart City Vienna. 

In his most recent work, Pouya has started to trace algorithmic decision making practices and urban automation programmes. In this line of inquiry, he focuses on studying mobility, traffic management and urban rhythms criticising the ways in which the City of Vienna prioritises different modes of mobility. His work highlights the effects of this programme has on social behaviour and the everyday life of urban citizens


Thomas Thaler, PhD

Dr. Thomas Thaler is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Mountain Risk Engineering at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna. He holds a PhD from the Flood Hazard Research Centre at Middlesex University in London (UK). His research directions focus on inter- and transdisciplinary fields of climate change and societal impacts, in particular on the interaction between social and climate policy. He act in the editorial board of the Journals Society & Natural Resources, PLOS Climate and Journal of Flood Risk Management. Further, he has and is involved in APCC Special Reports, where he acts as Coordinating Lead Author for the chapter on “Socioeconomic and climatic drivers of land use change in Austria”. Currently, Thomas is leading the WWTF funded project SENSUS (The social equality of Nature-based Solutions to urban heat stress), which examines options for Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for urban heat stress. SENSUS aims to increase our understanding of how societal aspects as well as unintended consequences and trade-offs, such as gentrification or housing policies disfavouring already marginalized groups, can be integrated into the design of according policies.

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Ayşe Seda Yüksel-Pecen, PhD

Ayşe Seda Yüksel-Pecen received her PhD from Central European University, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology in 2014. Her areas of interests include economic and political anthropology; political geography, with a particular interest in rescaling of statehood, new regionalism and urban development in the neoliberal era; political theory with a focus on theories of state sovereignty, class and ethnic minorities in Turkey. Her PhD dissertation, “The Localization of Neoliberalism: State Rescaling, War and Culture in Southeast Turkey,” explores the processes of neoliberal restructuring in the southeastern region of Turkey through the lens of a fieldwork conducted in two cities in the region. Her work focuses on how different conceptualizations of the Turkish state, the low-intensity war, Kurdishness and Turkishness have been circulated in the narratives of business people and the urban markets. Between 2015-2017, Yüksel-Pecen worked as a post-doctoral field researcher for Vienna University and as a field research associate for the Center for the Study of International Relations of the Middle East and Central Africa (CIRMENA) at Cambridge University. Between 2013-2015, she conducted fieldwork in various cities in central Anatolia regarding local development strategies developed by local actors. Yüksel-Pecen’s research has been supported by Foundation of Urban and Regional Studies (FURS), Migration Research Center at Koç University (MIREKOC), and The Scientific and Technological Research Council in Turkey (TUBITAK). She is the recipient of the ‘Best Dissertation Award’ in 2015 at Central European University. Before joining University of Vienna, Yüksel-Pecen was a research fellow at Kadir Has University where she worked on her own ethnographic research comparing various forms of urban entrepreneurial regimes in two regions in Turkey.

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Brigitte Zamzow, MA

Brigitte Zamzow is a doctoral candidate and lecturer at the Institute of European Ethnology at the University of Vienna. Before that, she was a research associate at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar and earned her MA degree in Sociology from Bonn University after numerous stays abroad and work experiences in New York City. Her focus on New York City led to her research focus on segregation and social inequality and earned her the German Sociology Prize for an Outstanding Thesis 2018 for her master thesis of the impact of public housing policy changes on vulnerable families in Harlem. She now continues her ethnographic research on inclusive planning strategies and public housing with her case study on Gowanus, Brooklyn. Here, a privileged community negotiates the implementation of a diverse neighborhood through justice-based planning practices. She has published both nationally and internationally.

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