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Research profile

Sónia Alves holds a BSc in Geography, a master’s degree in Urban Planning and a PhD in Sociology.
She is a research fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences of University of Lisbon and a visiting researcher at BUILD - the Department of the Built Environment, Aalborg University. At the ICS she is a member of the research groups SHIFT: Environment, Territory and Society, and Observa: Environment and Society Observatory (ICS-ULisboa), and a founding member of the Urban Transitions Hub.
Her research is guided by several overarching and often intersecting themes in the fields of human geography, housing policy and urban planning – fields that, although distinct, each offer perspectives necessary for grasping a complex reality.
As a geography teacher with a bachelor’s degree in geography who completed a teacher education program, she worked for fifteen years in public primary and secondary schools in the north of Portugal.
In 2012, after finishing her PhD, she returned to academia and has undertaken extensive research on comparative welfare state regimes, the social geography of cities and the differential impact of urban and housing policies on social groups and areas within cities. The outputs of this work have been published in many peer-reviewed academic books, journals and conference proceedings.
Over the last decade she has published 33 pieces of work either as book chapters, journal articles conference proceedings, book reviews, reports or policy briefs, in addition to other different outputs in different media.
She has published 6 articles in international scholarly journals indexed in the top quartile of SCOPUS/SJR, namely in Progress in Planning (2022), Housing Studies (2022), Urban Research & Practice (2020), Journal of Urban Affairs (2017), Housing, Theory and Society (2017) and Social Policy & Administration (2015). She has also published 3 book chapters with highly reputable international academic publishers such as Palgrave Macmillan (2020), Pisa University Press (2019), and Routledge (2008, reprinted in 2015).
In 2017, with the PLANAFFHO project (Grant agreement ID: 747257), she was awarded a Marie Skłodowska Curie Individual Fellowship. The project, completed between 2018 and January 2020 at the University of Cambridge, focused on how urban planning has been used in three capital cities (Copenhagen, Lisbon and London) to address problems of housing shortage, affordability, and the segregation of housing tenures.
In July 2022, as the co-Principal Investigator of the project DASH: Deliver sAfe and Social Housing, she won a second Marie Skłodowska-Curie award for a Staff Exchanges action that will fund an international consortium of universities, research institutions, businesses and other non-academic organizations in four European countries (Portugal, Denmark, Germany and Serbia) to develop new knowledge and skills on the field of housing provision.
She is currently the Principal Investigator of the project SUSTAINLIS - Sustainable urban rehabilitation and vulnerable populations in the historical centre of Lisbon (PTDC/GES-URB/28853/2017), which has investigated the effects of housing and urban policies and practices on highly vulnerable citizens living in Lisbon’s historical centre. More details can be found at: http://www.ceg.ulisboa.pt/sustainlis/.
She is also the co-Principal Investigator of the Research Project “LOGO - The LOcal GOvernance of housing policy. A study of municipal housing strategies”, which was recently awarded funding by the FCT.

External positions

Researcher Fellow, Institute of Social Sciences Lisbon University

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