ira.urban PhD fellows

Henryk Alff (Berlin, Germany)

Henryk Alff inished his doctoral studies at the University of Potsdam on migration and integration processes between Mongolia and Kazakhstan in 2010. During a postdoc project (2011–2016) in the framework of the competence network Crossroads Asia at the Centre for Development Studies (ZELF) of Freie Universität Berlin he worked on the transformation of and translocal constitution of places in bazaar trade across the borderlands of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Xinjiang (PR China). His research interests encompass migration and mobilities research, border and boundary studies and spatial theory.Henryk is a PhD fellow in the ira.urban project from April to October 2016. He works on a project proposal on the socio-spatial production of Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in Kazakhstan and Georgia


Rūta Ubarevičienė (Vilnius, Litauen)

Rūta Ubarevičienė is a PhD candidate and a junior researcher at the Lithuanian Social Research Centre, Institute of Human Geography and Demography, Lithuania. She is also a guest researcher and a PhD candidate at the Delft University of Technology, OTB – Research for the Built Environment, the Netherlands. Since 2010 she has been involved in a number of research projects in Lithuania and abroad. Her research is focused on the sociospatial transformations in the post-socialist countries and the research interests include city-regions, internal migration, suburbanization, shrinkage and segregation. Rūta is a PhD fellow in the ira.urban project from March to August 2016. She is contributing to the project by conducting a research on the city systems and their change in the Baltic countries in the post-soviet period.


Madina Junussova (Almaty, Kazakhstan)

Madina Junussova is a PhD student at the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University. In addition, she is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Central Asia. Madina has a Candidate Degree in Urban Planning from the Kazakh National Technical University (KazNTU) and a Master Degree from the Kazakh Leading Academy of Architecture and Civil Engineering (KazLAAC) in Architecture and Urban Design. Then she worked as an assistant of professor, instructor and researcher at the KazLAAC (2005-2006) and KazNTU (2014-2015). Madina participated in the master planning of cities and towns in Kazakhstan (2004-2008). For four years (2008-2012), she worked as a consultant and assisted with the development of several regional-level projects and environmental impact assessments financed by the Government of Kazakhstan and International Donors. Madina stays at the IFL from February until August 2016 in the framework of the ira.urban project.


Maria Podkorytova (Saint Petersburg, Russia)

Maria Podkorytova is a visiting researcher at the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (IFL) in Leipzig. She gained her Master’s Degree and is doing her PhD in Saint Petersburg State University, specializing on urban geography. She also graduated the Baltic University Programme, “The Sustainable Baltic Region”. The Maria’s research is focused on transformation of Russian cities within the framework of globalization and catching-up development. Her current research in IfL is devoted to the transformation of the network of cities in the FSU space.


Maria Gunko (Moskow, Russia)

Maria Gunko is a visiting researcher at the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (IFL) in Leipzig for six months from July to December 2015 where she is working on the ira.urban research project. Maria Gunko has gained a degree of MA in Geography at the Lomonosov Moscow State University and then complited her PhD thesis at the Institute of Geography Russian Academy of Sciences „Linkages of small cities and rural hinterlands in Central Russia“ earning a PhD degree in Social, Economic and Political geography. Her current research at IfL is focused on small and medium cities, processes and mechanisms contributing to shrinkage, spatial and aspatial peripheralization in Central Russia. The working titel of the research is „Understanding aspatial peripheralization in two economically prosperous small cities of Central Russia“


Evia Hovhannisyan (Yerevan, Armenia)

Evia Hovhannisyan is a PHD student at the field of Cultural Studies at Yerevan State University (Armenia) and MA student at European University at St. Petersburg (Russian Federation).Previously Evia worked at the Institute of Ancient Manuscripts “Matenadaran” (Armenia, Junior researcher at the Codicology Department) and Yerevan State University (Per-hour lecturer). Currently (February-July, 2015), she is a Visiting Fellow within Ira.urban project at the Leibnitz Institute for Regional Geography (IFL). As a part of the project, she is researching the shrinkage processes of Refugee Cottage Settlements within the Medium and Small Cities of Armenia. Her research interests include urban anthropology in contemporary and historical perspectives, cultural (sacral) landscape and early christianity studies. The title of her currently research is “Forced migration: assimilation in a “foreign” cultural landscapes (Armenians in the former Azerbaijani villages)”.


Farrukh Irnazarov (Tashkent, Uzbekistan)

Mr. Farrukh Irnazarov is a Country Director at the Central Asian Development Institute, Tashkent, Uzbekistan. He is also completing his PhD in International Studies at the University of Groningen, Netherlands. He is in charge of several research projects on economic development, labour migration, regional trade and transport issues in Central Asia. In 2014 he was a Visiting Researcher at the Johns Hopkins University, Washington, DC, USA. In 2008-2011 he worked as Researcher at University of Applied Sciences Goettingen, Germany. In 2007-08 Mr. Irnazarov was an Associate Faculty Lecturer in International Trade and Strategic Management in the School of Business at the National College of Ireland in Dublin where he was also doing his postgraduate research. From 2000 to 2003 Mr. Irnazarov held different positions at the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations of Uzbekistan. Mr. Irnazarov holds a BA in International Economic Relations from the National University of Uzbekistan, Tashkent (2002), a Master of Social Science in International and European Relations from Linköping University, Sweden (2005), a Master of Science in Business Administration and Economics from Stockholm University, Sweden (2006).


Madlen Pilz (Berlin, Germany)

Madlen Pilz is a PhD-candidate at the Humboldt-University (HU) of Berlin. She was trained in Urban Ethnography studying in Berlin. Before she came to IFL, she was a Research Fellow in the project “Identity Politics in the South Caucasus. National Representations, Post-Socialist Society and the Urban Public“ at the HU Berlin. Her research interests include urban studies and everyday practices, ethnographical methodologies, social movements and visual culture. In her PhD she analyses the material and symbolic urban reconstruction of the Georgian capital Tbilisi as a top-down and bottom-up process, the social restructuring of the urban society and different forms of protest and negotiations between the government and civil society. The title of her PhD thesis is „Stadtraum und soziale Ordnung. Postsozialistische Ausdifferenzierungen in Tbilisi 2009-2012“ (Urban Space and Social Order, Post-Socialist Policies of Social Segregation). Madlen stays from December 2014 until May 2015 at the IFL and supports the ira.urban project in the fields of ethnographical approaches to urban research and comparative analyses.


Nadir Kinossian (Kazan, Russia)

Nadir Kinossian is a Docent at the Institute for Management, Economics, and Finance at Kazan Federal University in Russia. Currently, he is a Visiting Fellow within Ira.urban project at the Leibnitz Institute for Regional Geography (IfL). As a part of the project, he is researching urban agglomerations in Russia from political, economic and policy perspectives. Previously, Nadir worked in academia, private consultancy and municipal administration in the UK, Norway, and Russia. In 2010, he received his PhD from Cardiff University for work on urban governance in Russia. The results of his research on post-soviet cities and regions have been published in high-impact international journals, including International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Eurasian Geography and Economics, International Planning Studies. As a planning consultant, he has been involved in projects in Kazan, Kirov, Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk, Moscow, Penza, Rostov-on-Don, and St. Petersburg. Nadir’s research interests lie within the interconnected fields of human geography and planning and include the topics spatial policy, urban governance, cultural landscape, and the theoretical and policy aspects of spatial polarisation and peripheralisation.


Maxim Borisenko (Barnaul, Russia)

Maxim Borisenko stays at the IfL from October 2014 to March 2015 and supports the project „Urban reconfiguration in post-Soviet space“. Maxim graduated from Altai State University (Barnaul, Russia) as a geographer. He is a PhD Student at the Faculty of Geography (ASU) from September 2013. Maxim was a participant of „Praktikantenprogramm 2013“ at IfL. Previously he studied in an international german program „Umweltmonitoring und –management“. The practical study was included in a frame of this program at the Martin Luther University (Halle/Saale, Germany) in 2012. He is interested in urban network, transformation of cities, demography and migration, GIS-Systems.The main objects of his research are cities in transboundary countries in a post-Soviet space (in Russia – Altai krai and Republic Altai, in Kazakhstan – East Kazakhstan and Pavlodar regions). The socio-economical changes had made a huge influence for structure cities, their development and linkages from 1991.


Irina Slepukhina (Archangelsk, Russia)

Irina Slepukhina is a visiting researcher at the IfL in Leipzig for six months from April to July 2014 where she is supporting the ira.urban research project in the field of “strong” and “weak” cities in post-Soviet space”. Irina graduated from Archangelsk State Technical University as a Civil Engineer with specialisation in real estate valuation and investment analysis. After that she got her Master degree in Land management from Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm. Later she worked as a Lecturer in real estate economics and real estate evaluation in the Northern arctic Federal University (Archangelsk). Irina gained her first PhD degree in Regional economy from the Regional Economic Research Institute (Moscow) and after that she gained her D. Phil degree in Territorial Design and Government from Politecnico di Milano. Her current research interests are focused on reconfiguration of post-Soviet urban systems, including adaptation of different urban types to new socio-economical conditions. Now her research especially is concentrated on understanding of how post-soviet cities clash challenges of political and economical transformations and what are the main driving forces for the current urban reconfiguration.


Olga Sarapulova (Ufa, Russia)

Olga Sarapulova stays at the IfL from January 2014 to June 2014 and supports the project “Urban reconfiguration in post-Soviet space” in the fields of mass-housing and strategic planning. Olga graduated from Ufa State Petroleum Technological University as an architect. Her diploma work was dedicated to developing master-plan for the territory of newly built prospect Salavata Ulaeva in Ufa.  After that Olga studied at institute of Media, Design and Architecture Strelka where she have developed her research in the field of mass-produced housing “Dr. Crisis, or: how we learn to stop faking and kill the microrayon” that was successfully presented to the wide audience of international experts. Working as an urbanist in Ufa City Department of architecture and urban planning Olga become an initiator of developing new master plan for the city. As starting point for this work Olga organized urban forum “UrbanBairam” and working session on developing strategic plan of the city in which russian and international experts took part. As a result of this work the book “Ufa: looking tot he future” was published. Her current research interests are strategic planning and institutional instrument for implementation stratigies to spatial planning and municipal programmes in post-Soviet cities.


François Bogliacino (Paris, France)

François Bogliacino is a PhD student at Université Paris 8, France. The spatial transformation of Central Asia is at the core of his doctoral activity. He started his research activity in the region during his bachelor degree, almost ten years ago. Since then the main observing point have been bazaars: initially those located in rural areas (Samarkand region), and thereafter, following the beginning of PhD, those situated in urban context. The candidate analysis focuses on different levels: the reinsertion of Central Asia in the frame of global configuration, the redefinition of spatial features at intra-regional scale, the urban changes as a consequence of systemic transformation. All these issues are analyzed through one of the most powerful vectors of globalization, ie trade. Title of the PhD:  “The transformation of Central Asian space through the development of trade activities”. François stays from January 2014 to June 2014 at the IfL in Leipzig, Germany, and supports ira.urban in the fields of Urban Economy.


Lela Rekviashvili (Tblissi, Georgia)

Lela Rekhviashvili is a PhD candidate at the Doctoral School of Political Science, Public Policy and International Relations, Central European University. She holds MA degrees from CEU political science department and Center for Social Sciences, TSU. Previously she studied transition studies at Tartu University, Estonia. Throughout last two years, she was a research fellow at the Centre for Social Sciences (CSS) and blogger for the critical online publications in Georgia. Her broad research interests include transformation in central and Eastern Europe, political economy of development, urban informal practices. Her doctoral research examines the impact of institutional change for the coping tactics of the vulnerable groups in Post-Revolutionary (2003) Georgia, focusing on the case of informal street vendors. Title of her PhD thesis: “Institutional Change and the Struggle of the Ordinary – An ethnographic analysis of street vending in Tblissi, Georgia”. Lela stays from November 2013 to April 2014 at the IfL in Leipzig, Germany, and supports ira.urban in the fields of Urban Economy and Urban Conflicts.


Sohaib Shahzad Hassan (Pakistan)

Title of his PhD thesis: “Foreign Direct Investments from Emerging and Transition Economies in the European Union: Empirical analyses for National and Regional location choice”. Sohaib stays at the IfL from September to November 2013, supporting the ira.urban topic of Urban Economy in post-Soviet space.