Meet: The interns at the IUR

We’re proud to introduce a few of the interns from the Master’s Programme in Urban Studies currently doing an internship at the Institute for Urban Research.

Mark Connaughton

Project leader: Defne Kadioglu

I am studying Urban Studies to try and understand the various processes that transform and change cities that I love, such as Berlin or Dublin, in ways that can often be exclusionary and frustrating. I would like to gain knowledge on how we can make these cities more inclusive and usable for the people who live there and find out who really has the right to the city. So far in the Urban Studies programme my research interests have seen me write about the financialisation of housing, housing movements, nightlife’s position in the city and urban loneliness, while my bachelor was in the field of applied languages and intercultural studies.

I chose a really exciting research internship with Defne Kadioglu researching the effects of territorial stigmatisation on area-based urban policy, titled Area-Based Interventions for Stigmatized Neighborhoods: A Comparative Study of Berlin and Malmö. Defne plans to compare territorial stigmatisation and area-based interventions in a neighbourhood in both Berlin and Malmö, which is an interesting approach to an extremely relevant topic in urban studies today. We are at the early stages of the research project, so I’ve had a chance get deep understanding of the basic tenets of urban policy at EU, national and city levels, and how it is affected by or sometimes even causes territorial stigmatisation. Once I’ve finished a literature review around territorial stigmatisation in the German context, I’m hoping to carry out some interviews in the next step of the project, a researching skill I would like to improve on.

Livia Del Duca

Project leader: Defne Kadioglu

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the Polytechnic University of Turin. I choose the Master’s degree in Urban Studies at Malmö University because I felt the need to broaden my field of studies, and delve deeper into urban problems and opportunities. Having studied urban planning during my Bachelor’s, I was already interested in the organization of space and the inherent production of spatial inequalities – studying in this Master made me even more aware of the inequalities that urban areas are facing nowadays. As such, my current research interests include housing issues such as housing affordability, analyzing different systems of housing provision, neoliberal urban planning, and commodification of housing. I also have a growing interest in expanding access to housing and other social services and opportunities for disadvantaged parts of the population, believing in housing as a social right that should be accessible to all.

The research I am participating in is called Area-Based Interventions for Stigmatized Neighborhoods: A Comparative Study of Berlin and Malmö, a project with the aim of analyzing the role ABIs have in the process of territorial stigmatization, from a comparative perspective. As of now, I am conducting a literature review on the notion of territorial stigmatization in the Swedish context, which will then be focused more on Malmö.

Freja Lina Huhle

Project leader: Helena Bohman

My bachelor degree is a combination of sociology, pedagogics and project management from Lund University, Malmö University and Umeå University. After working in a municipality with the public environment in the city, I wanted to deepen my theoretical understanding of sustainable urban development, as well as gaining more analytical skills. I am very happy with my choice of master program, as it gives us the opportunity to specialize in our area of interests and build on our previous knowledge and skills.

The reason I chose to do a research internship is because I wanted to get inspiration for the master thesis, both methodically, as I wanted to get practical experience in designing research and in collecting and analyzing data, but also theoretically. I got the opportunity to do an internship within the project Capturing the impacts of changes in public transport accessibility: A mixed methods approach, led by Helena Bohman and financed by K2 – Sweden’s national centre for research and education on public transport. What I like about the internship so far is that I got to meet researchers from such a wide range of disciplines both at Malmö University and at the K2 office in Lund. This has given my much inspiration and new perspectives on sustainable mobilities. Within the project we are trying out participatory GIS, which is a method that has not previously been used much in transport research. The focus of my research project is how to catch the perceived accessibility of a local area, and how the perceived accessibility affects people’s choice of transport mode. Since I might not have chosen a research method for my master thesis that I don’t have previous experience with, I am very happy that I get a chance to try this method out during the internship!

Hanh Hong Nguyen (Kira)

Project leader: Christina Lindkvist

I did my bachelor study in International Business in Finland and my previous master study in Corporate Finance in Lund University so most of my education history revolved around business, economics, numbers and analytics. During my time studying at Lund University, I was living in a rather controversial area in Malmö and had personally observed, at the same time found myself in the midst of various urban issues. This experience fueled my decision to join the master’s programme in Urban Studies to get a better understanding of the city that I live in and of the issues that I was observing, as well as to explore the solutions to those issues. Over the course of this programme, I have become extremely interested in urban public spaces, placemaking and urban experiments, also in answering the question of how to create a rich, inclusive, equal, sustainable and simulating urban environment for its citizens.

I am currently joining the research project Pilots for transforming the transport sector through energy efficient buildings which study urban experiments with a focus on energy and mobility sustainability. My take on the project is to explore in what way an urban pilot, in this specific case the Ohboy cykelhus building in Malmö, besides being socially and environmentally sustainable, could also be economically sustainable. It is carried out with the hope of energy efficient buildings like Ohboy could one day be implemented widely for a sustainable future. What I like about this project is that it has introduced me to the concept of urban pilots and the process of implementing urban pilots. Working in this project also helps me gain a lot of insights into energy efficient buildings while allowing me to apply the knowledge and skills that I gained in my previous studies in a more meaningful way.

Natalia Sandoval Quezada

Project leader: Claudia Fonseca Alfaro

While pursuing my degree in Architecture in Universidad del Biobío, Chile, I was not feeling so passionate about the architecture design itself, mostly because of the scale that projects had and the people that could afford or have access to them. Nevertheless, everything that had to do with the urban scale sounded more interesting and meaningful to me, it became clearer to focus my attention in studying and developing projects for the city itself and the citizens as users, reason why I wrote my bachelor thesis about Creative Districts and designed my final degree project as a River Park with a Public Media Library for my hometown.

In the same line, I knew I would like to deeper my expertise in the field in the short or medium term, but I did not want to do it either in my alma mater nor in my country. I planned not to continue with a master right after my bachelor, since I considered it was relevant to incorporate both perspectives from another schools and countries, as well as pragmatic experience from working.

Once my partner and I decided to move to Sweden I thought that I would continue with a master in a couple of years, but the circumstances put me to make the decision earlier and apply for the Urban Studies Master in Malmö University, which could offer me a broad insight within the background and theory related to urbanism and the contemporary development of the city from different views. The possibility to take an internship as part of the program was very attractive as well, since it goes in line with my hope of knowing but also doing, a sort of learning-by-doing, and once I had access to the available research internships offered by the university, it was not difficult to find the one that fitted my aspirations the most.

I participate in the project The production of smart cities: Learning from an “actually existing” example in Mexico led by Claudia Fonseca Alfaro. My internship is framed in the field of Smart Cities and what I like about it is that it puts an eye on what is been done in the Global South, in the “developing countries” that are not as studied as they could or should be, with a postcolonial and critical perspective, which is one of the most exciting pieces of it. As part of the internship, I have had the opportunity to absorb useful and attractive theory about the matter, which not only contributes to my own background but comes to help building the framework for my future thesis, as well as giving me practical skills such as learning creating a website for the project and using valuable tools within the academic research.