Meet our new PhD students

In the academic year 2020/2021, the Urrlab team has grown again. We are proud to host four new postgraduate students: Adela PetrovicDilnoza Tasheva, Jiří-Jakub Zévl and Niloofar Ghafouriazar. They come from diverse educational and national backgrounds, all focusing on urban issues that have been unfolding in the post-socialist region in their PhD projects. We wish them all a successful study and are positive that their experience and personalities will also be beneficial for the team. 

We introduce our new colleagues below, in alphabetical order:


Adela holds three degrees: a bachelor degree in Political Science (2013), joint master degree (M.A.) in Comparative Local Development (Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Germany) (2016), and a joint master degree (M.Sc.) in Urban Studies (4CITIES, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Spain) (2018). The title of her first master thesis is "Clusters in Serbia - The role of the Management in building out Social Capital", and the second, "Displacement without placement - Street prostitution's deracination from gentrifying neighbourhoods in Brussels and Budapest". She has diverse shorter-term work experiences related to local and regional development, project management and public policy (e.g. Regional Agency for Development of SMEs, Committee for Regional Development in EP, and Strategische Partnerschaft Sensorik). She is participating in two ongoing projects (Contemporary changes of the social environment within the Czech suburbs and History and future of housing estates: quality of the residential environment and residential satisfaction, supported by the Czech Science Foundation (GAČR)), and actively involved in teaching activities at the Department of Social Geography and Regional Development. Her research interests lie in the urban and regional studies, more precisely urban transformations, urban governance and development, politics of space, psychology and the city, and socio-spatial dialectic.

Adela is a member of URRlab team since September 2019 and an international PhD student of the STARS program since October 2020. Her PhD project "Socio-spatial approach towards understanding identity construction: urban transformations in Prague Urban Region" will mainly focus on changes in the identity of gentrifying former working-class neighbourhoods in the inner-city of Prague. 


Dilnoza has an academic background in international relations and urban planning. During her bachelor studies she actively participated in working processes of international organizations at the city level and her thesis covered the topic of cultural impact of different international organization on the city of Bishkek. After obtaining bachelor degree Dilnoza has been admitted to the 4CITIES Euromaster in Urban Studies program. Her master thesis “Pedestrian underpasses in Moscow and Bishkek. An element of Soviet urban planning and its conversion to commercial uses” was focused on the socialist underpasses as one of the architectural legacies of the Soviet urban planning system and the space that was produced after the collapse of the system in Bishkek and Moscow. The study was comparative in character and used different methodological approaches. She successfully defended her thesis and graduated with a title of Master of Science (MSc.) in Urban Studies.

Since October 2020, Dilnoza is part of the URRlab team as a STARS PhD student and works on the PhD project “Landscape of belonging: Place attachment among residents of housing estates in Prague” that deals with formation of attachment towards housing estates and the role that it may play in changes occurring in these estates. Her main research interests include urban studies of post-socialist and post-soviet cities, urban transformation, production of urban space, and neighborhood change and development trajectories.


Jiří-Jakub is a graduate of Albertov geography. He started his study in 2014 and finished in the regular five years. After the study he took a year off and travelled literally around the world, doing manual jobs and discovering places that every geographer would love to visit. Now, he feels even most enthusiastic to return “home” for his PhD. Jiří-Jakub’s doctoral project is going to continue in the topic of Prague’s suburbanisation, that he was investigating in his bachelor and diploma projects. More specifically, he focuses upon various forms of structuration of the suburban space, time and society.

To make everything more complicated, Jiří-Jakub has a second job, which is the political NGO Milion Chvilek. He manages the team as the vice-president. Hopefully, there will be no need of his support after next year’s elections and he can return to Albertov on full time.


Niloofar holds the title of Master of Science (MSc.) in Urban Planning. In her master thesis (2019), she focused on applying the smart city approach in shortening the path of a city toward sustainable development. The thesis’ title was “Strategic Planning for Tehran Smart City.” Niloofar worked for two companies as an urban planner in Iran, contributing to a Spatial Regional Plan and a Detailed Urban Plan. She also worked as a teaching assistant at Tehran University of Art for two semesters.

Since October 2020, she is part of the URRlab team, working on the Ph.D. project “Upgrading and gentrification-like processes in socialist housing estates in Prague” under the supervision of Petra Špačková. Moreover, she participates in a Czech Science Foundation project dealing with the history and future of the Czech Republic housing estates. Her main research interests include Urban and Regional Studies, Post-socialist Urban Transformation, application of ICT in Urban Planning, Quality of Life, and Urban Geographic Information Systems.