Every academic year, the Urban Studies Institute welcomes visiting scholars. They are offered the opportunity to conduct their research at the USI and to participate at the institute’s research activities.

The visiting scholars will be facilitated to:

  1. communicate their research plans and results to the interdisciplinary research community of the USI
  2. receive feedback from a select interdisciplinary group of scholars
  3. enter into an intensive dialogue with a broad range of disciplinary approaches

Visiting scholars 2023-2024

Bikram Choudhary

Bikramaditya K. Choudhary

Meet him at UAntwerp between 8 April and 30 June 2024

Dr. Bikramaditya Kumar Choudhary is a Faculty Member at the Centre for the Study of Regional Development, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Having a focus on space, he carries with him research experience on Political Ecology, Urban Cultural Geography, Sustainability, Health and Urban planning from a multidisciplinary perspective. Before joining, JNU, Dr. Choudhary taught for about 9 years at the Banaras Hindu University.

His current interest includes geographies of care, spatial transformation, cultural claims, water and sanitation in cities. Dr. Choudhary has over three dozen papers published in national, international journals and books. He has three books to his credit; most recent one is ‘Ecology of Tuberculosis in India’ (Springer 2021), that deals with treatment seeking behaviour and contextualize history of the disease.

He was awarded the Emerging Scholar Award by the Regional Development and Planning Spatiality Group (RDPSG), of American Association of Geographers (AAG) for the year 2017 and Distinguished Service Award in 2020. He has been Endeavour Executive Fellow at the Western Sydney University during 2018. Dr. Choudhary was the Chair of Regional Development and Planning Spatiality Group of AAG for the academic year 2019-2020. His forthcoming book “Heterotopia in Making” (Routledge) deals with plurality of spaces and performance.

30 April 2024 - USI Lunch Seminar by Bikram Choudhary | Sacred spaces, plurality, and alternative identities: a case of the Indian City of Banaras

Charalampos Tsavdaroglou

Charalampos (Haris) Tsavdaroglou

Meet him at UAntwerp between 15 April and 13 June 2024

Dr. Charalampos Tsavdaroglou is a scholar in critical urban studies and his work specializes in migrants’ urban and housing commons, refugee camps and in the newcomers’ right to the city. He is currently PI in the HFRI research program: “Refugees’ solidarity city. Institutional policies and commoning practices in Athens, Mytilene and Thessaloniki” (RECITY) at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and Post-doctoral Researcher in the Horizon H2020 program: “Arrival infrastructures as sites of integration for recent newcomers” (REROOT) at University of Thessaly. Moreover, he is visiting professor on Human Geography at the School of Humanities, Hellenic Open University and Lecturer on Sociology of Space at the School of Spatial Planning and Development, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

Charalampos holds a PhD (2016) in Urban and Regional Planning, from School of Architecture, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. During the academic years 2017-2023 he was Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the University of Amsterdam and Post-doctoral Researcher at the University of Thessaly, University of the Aegean and at the National Hellenic Research Foundation. His research interests include critical urban theory, autonomy of migration, approaches to urban commons and mobile commoning practices, intersectional, decolonial and affective geographies, and urban social movements.


Bilge Serin

Meet her at UAntwerp between 20 May and 19 June 2024

Bilge Serin works as Lecturer in Global Urbanism at Urban Studies, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow, and a co-investigator at the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence.

Bilge is an urban researcher with a diverse background including urban politics, architecture and urban design and development. She worked at the University of Edinburgh (UK), Heriot-Watt University (UK) and Middle East Technical University (Turkey) as well as the Chamber of City Planners in Turkey before joining University of Glasgow.

Bilge has been working on everyday life, solidarity and commoning in urban space, as well as inequality in urban space including exclusionary spatial practices, the dynamics of contemporary commodification of urban space., discursive formation of exclusion in urban space, and representations of urban space and everyday life. More recently, she has developed an interest in everyday life challenges in living old and historic urban environments and co-production of solutions to these issues.

Visiting scholars 2022-2023

Maria Skivko

Maria Skivko, April-June 2023

Dr. Maria Skivko is an Associate Professor at the Department of Social Systems and Law at the Samara National Research University (Samara, Russia).

She received her Diploma in Sociology in Russia (2008) with the thesis on consumer standards in fashion magazines. Her Master Degree in Cultural studies (2009) she completed at the European Humanities University in Vilnius (Lithuania); in the Master thesis, she investigated the connection between cultural consumption and event-tourism. In her doctoral thesis (2018) achieved at the Bauhaus-University Weimar (Germany), she examined fashion and urban representations performed through the media discourse in fashion magazines. This spring, Maria completes her professional retraining in project management for creative industries.

As a sociologist and fashion researcher, she specializes in fashion and cities interconnections, fashionable scenarios for urban practices, and sustainable tourism practices. Her interest in creative industries is explored through the investigation of global creative industries examples and development of the research concept on creativity and sustainable ideas.

Since 2014 Maria is interested as professionally as well as personally in the ideas of sustainable development. Apart from doing the research on sustainability, she gives university lectures and public talks on sustainable management, sustainable fashion and eco-friendly practices.

She is a member of International Sociological Association, European Sociological Association and a non-profit educational association “Lecturers without borders”.

Christina Makoundou

Christina Makoundou, April-June 2023

Christina Makoundou is a junior researcher with expertise in sustainable paving materials currently working at RISE Research Institutes of Sweden at the Department Material and Surface Design. Her main focus is to develop and propose innovative material solutions for different applications, particularly for civil and transport infrastructures, with a particular emphasis on promoting fossil-free, sustainable, and safe urban environments and areas.

Christina graduated from Sorbonne University, France, in Material Chemistry and was awarded an Innovative Training Network - Horizon 2020 - Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions scholarship at the Department of Civil, Chemical, Environmental and Materials Engineering of the University of Bologna, Italy. As part of the SAFERUP project: Sustainable, Accessible, Safe, Resilient and Smart Urban Pavements, she successfully defended her thesis titled “Vulnerable Users' Protection with Advanced Recycling Paving Materials: Design and characterisation of rubber-based impact-absorbing pavement materials for bike lanes and sidewalks” in June 2022.

Christina's current post-doctoral research focuses on developing and characterizing advanced materials for improving urban road sustainability and safety using recycled and/or more environmentally friendly resources such as end-of-life tyres, green oils or lignin. She also explore various methods to assess and prevent slip and fall-related injuries in urban areas. Furthermore, her knowledge extends to surface chemistry functionalization and modification techniques such as wet coating and plasma, as well as material chemistry characterisation methods, which she has applied to different projects.

Apart from her research activities, Christina is involved in the Editorial Board of the Marie Curie Alumni Association Newsletter and IRRADIUM Magazine, where she promotes values such as inclusion and equality through her editorial work. 

Kelly Gregg

Kelly Gregg, May-June 2023

Kelly Gregg PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at University at Buffalo where she teaches in the graduate planning and undergraduate environmental design programs. Her place-based research engages urban planning, urban design, and landscape architecture disciplines and focuses on empirically describing and measuring built works, planning and design documents, policies, governance, process, demographics, and/or other influences that impact the built environment and the people who use and experience it. Specifically her work focuses on street design and pedestrian environments from both an historic and contemporary context. Kelly completed her PhD in Planning at the University of Toronto in 2019; she also holds a Master's Degree in Urban Planning (MUP) and Urban Design (MUD) from The University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) from The Pennsylvania State University. 

Her recent publications from 2022 include: a review of street designs that were implemented as an emergency response covid tidied “North American Street Design for the Coronavirus Pandemic: a typology of emerging interventions” which was published in the Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking; an analysis of covid curbside café titled “Managing the curb – public space and use of curbside cafes during the Coronavirus pandemic” published in Cities; and an article addressing the history and evolution of downtown pedestrianization titled “Gruen vs. Gehl making the contemporary model of pedestrianization” which was published in the Journal of Urban Design.

As a Visiting Research Fellow at University of Antwerp’s Urban Studies institute, Kelly plans to engage both historic and contemporary research. This will include a critical examination of the historic and contemporary planning process behind Antwerp’s downtown pedestrianization scheme, beginning with Victor Gruen International’s downtown pedestrianization plan from 1970. Additionally, she plans to examine recent pedestrian, cyclist, and public space interventions throughout Antwerp and Ghent. 

Jialin Sh_webi.png

Jialin Shi, October-December 2023

Jialin Shi (PhD) is an associate professor for urban studies and urban history at Tianshui Normal University. His research focuses on urban (planning) history, immigration history, urban heritage preservation, and intercultural cities.

Visiting scholars 2019-2020

Cecilia Furlan

January - March 2020

Cecilia Furlan currently works at the Department of Urbanism, TU Delft and as guest researcher at the Department of Architecture of KU Leuven. She received her PhD title in Engineering - Urbanism from the University of Leuven and from the IUAV University.

Cecilia's research interest focuses on urban design and urban planning strategies for sustainability and circularity, with a particular focal on territories of dispersion and territories in transition under condition of resource scarcity. She believes that cities can do more with less working towards sustainable growth. Her PhD project was entitled "WORN OUT LANDSCAPES Mapping wasteland in the Charleroi and Veneto central territories".

Visiting scholars 2018-2019

Theresa Enright

March 2019

Theresa Enright is an Assistant Professor of Urban Politics and Governance in the Political Science Department at the University of Toronto. Primary research interests are in the fields of urban and regional studies, critical theory and comparative political economy. She published recently on global cities, transit-oriented development, mega-projects, and urban-suburban relations.

Benjamin Vis

February - May 2019

Benjamin N. Vis holds a Research Fellowship at the University of Kent, where he co-founded the Kent Interdisciplinary Centre for Spatial Studies. In 2012 he led the ESRC/NCRM research community Assembly for Comparative Urbanisation and the Material Environment (ACUMEN). He continues developing urban morphological research on Maya urban life and spatial organisation to make radical comparative contributions to urban studies and sustainable development.

Guy Baeten

First half of May 2019

Guy Baeten is Professor of Urban Studies at Malmö University and is the Director of the newly established Institute for Urban Research. He has previously worked at the universities of Lund, Oxford, Leuven and Strathclyde. Guy Baeten is interested in urban development projects and urban sustainability. He is the principal investigator of the FORMAS Strong Research Environment CRUSH -- Critical Urban Sustainability Hub.

He is involved in two research projects on smart cities with case studies in Toronto, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Antwerp that are running between 2018 and 2020. He is also part of a project that investigates histories of the sustainability concept in Malmö urban planning.

Iolanda Bianchi

Second half of September - First half of November 2019

Iolanda Bianchi holds a PhD in Politics, Policies and International Relations from the Autonomous University of Barcelona; in Regional Planning and Public Policy from the University IUAV of Venice.

Her research focuses on alternative forms to satisfy basic needs and fundamental rights in the city, studying the articulation between community-based initiatives and public policies under the theoretical framework of the Commons. She is a research fellow at the IGOP- Institute of Government and Public Policy (IGOP) - Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB).


Visiting scholars 2017-2018

In 2017-2018, several young researchers from foreign universities stayed at the University of Antwerp. They got the chance to present their research plans and results to the USI's interdisciplinary research community. Furthermore, they received feedback and got the opportunity to discuss their work with researchers who all have other disciplinary perspectives.

Jasna Sersic

PhD thesis The Craftsmen’s Labyrinth and Geographies of Creativity (Uppsala University), MSc in Human Geography and Planning (Utrecht University).

Jasna focuses on alternative models of socio-economic production, re-development and organization of urban environments. She studies the relationships between the social and physical shaping of cities, and innovation and creativity in city-making from the contemporary and historical perspectives.

Léa Hermenault

Léa Hermenault has a PhD in medieval an modern archaeology. She is a teaching assistant at the University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

Her research work is located on the crossroads of archaeology, history and geography, and deals with the effects of circulation flows in the medieval, modern and contemporary city.

Léa Hermenault gave the opening lecture for 'Society and Space' discussing 2000 years of urban development in Paris

On 23 February 2018, the students in the 'Society and Space' course (Master of Urbanism and Spatial Planning) had the opportunity to learn more about urban development in Paris in the past 2000 years. Thanks to Léa's talk, accompanied by excellent cartographic material, the students now have a better understanding of the history of urbanization.

Emmanuele Sommariva

Architect, PhD in Urban Design at the University of Genoa, focuses his research interests on landscape evolution, sustainable planning and the relationship between agriculture and the city. 

Since 2009, he has collaborated to different courses and urban design studio classes, led by Prof. Arch. Mosè Ricci. Since 2012 he is also a researcher and lecturer at the Leibniz Universität Hannover at the Department of Urban Design and Planning. 

Book: Creating City. Urban Agriculture. Strategies for city resilience (LISt Lab, 2015).

Deljana Iosifova

Deljana Iossifova is Senior Lecturer in Urban Studies at the School of Environment, Education and Development and Director of both the Confucius Institute at the University of Manchester and the Urban Studies Foundation.

She trained as an architect at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) and has a PhD in Public Policy Design from Tokyo Institute of Technology. She is lead editor of 'Defining the Urban: Interdisciplinary and professional perspectives' (Routledge, 2017).

Iossifova’s scholarship focuses on the triggers, processes and consequences of urban transformations globally, including in China, Japan, Bulgaria, and the UK.

Lisa Björkman

Lisa Björkman received her PhD in Politics from the New School for Social Research in 2012. Winner of the 2014 Joseph W. Elder Prize in the Indian Social Sciences.

Lisa Björkman is Assistant Professor of Urban and Public Affairs at the University of Louisville.

Book: Pipe Politics: Mumbai’s Contested Waters (Duke University Press, 2015).