Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)

Photographer: Apostolos Palavrakis

prof. dr. M. (Maria) Kaika

  • Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
    GPIO : Urban Planning
  • Visiting address
    REC BC
    Nieuwe Achtergracht 166  Room number: C.4.17
  • Postal address:
    Postbus  15629
    1001 NC  Amsterdam

About Maria Kaika

Maria Kaika is professor in Urban, Regional and Environmental Planning at the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. She holds a PhD (DPhil) in Urban Geography from Oxford University, and an MA in Architecture and Planning from the National Technical University of Athens. Since 2010, she has been the co-editor in chief of the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research and sits on the Editorial Board of European Urban and Regional Studies and Human Geography. Her work has received funding from national and international research councils and organisations (including the British Academy, and EU Framework and Marie Curie programmes). Her research focuses on three interrelated themes: urban political ecology, cities and crisis, and urban radical imaginaries.

At the UvA Kaika promotes interdisciplinary research and teaching with particular focus on establishing a dialogue between the urban political ecology framework of analysis, and planning practices and institutions. She draws particular attention to the processes through which ecological imaginaries and ideas can become planning practices that produce real socio-environmental change. She also focus on key urban socio-environmental challenges that arise from the global economic crisis, notably the increasing exposure of livelihoods, environments and urban futures to the fluctuations of global financial markets, which poses an imminent social risk and a challenge to urban planning and urban development practices.

Urban Political Ecology 

Maria Kaika’s work has been foundational for the field of Urban Political Ecology and she is Principle Investigator for the European Network for Political Ecology ENTITLE (EU Marie Curie Funded). Her research establishes a conceptual and methodological framework which stipulates that nature and the city are not separate entities, but socio-environmental hybrids, produced through the same global flows of power relations and metabolic processes that transform landscapes and livelihoods alike. This work is grounded on qualitative research on the urbanisation of nature in London, Athens and New York, and on ethnographic research on the actors and power relations involved in the development of EU environmental policies (notably the European Water Framework Directive). Her related work on urban infrastructures and iconic spaces interprets the ‘banalisation’ of old and proliferation of new urban infrastructures and buildings as the manifestations of periods of crisis and change in the imaginary institutions that hold societies together.  

Financialisation as a 'lived process'

Her work on crisis and cities expands the framework for researching the socio-spatial impact of financialisation and the recent crisis beyond macroeconomics. Using a range of qualitative methods (diaries, life stories, interviews, archival research) it examines housing and land financialisation as a “Lived Process”. Her “Mortgaging Lives” project examines mortgage contracts as a biopolitical technology; a tool that engineered an intimate relationship between global financial markets and human bodies, labour, and livelihoods.  The project documents how macroeconomic and policy changes could not have led to the global expansion of speculative real estate investment without a parallel biopolitical process that mobilised mortgage contracts as tools that successfully integrated the economic and social reproduction of the workforce into global cycles of financial speculation.


  • Kaika, M. (2017). 'Don’t call me resilient again!' The New Urban Agenda as immunology … or ... what happens when communities refuse to be vaccinated with ‘smart cities’ and indicators. Environment and Urbanization, 29(1), 89-102. DOI: 10.1177/0956247816684763  [details] 
  • Kaika, M. (2017). Between compassion and racism: How the biopolitics of neoliberal welfare turns citizens into affective ‘idiots’. European Planning Studies, 25(8), 1275-1291. DOI: 10.1080/09654313.2017.1320521  [details] 
  • Kaika, M., & Karaliotas, L. (2017). Athens’ Syntagma Square Re-loaded: from staging disagreement towards instituting democratic spaces. In J. Hou, & S. Knierbein (Eds.), City Unsilenced: Urban Resistance and Public Space in the Age of Shrinking Democracy (pp. 121-132). New York: Routledge. [details] 
  • Calvário, R., Velegrakis, G., & Kaika, M. (2017). The Political Ecology of Austerity: An Analysis of Socio-environmental Conflict under Crisis in Greece. Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, 28(3), 67-87. DOI: 10.1080/10455752.2016.1260147  [details] 


  • Kaika, M., & Ruggiero, L. (2016). Land Financialization as a 'lived' process: The transformation of Milan's Bicocca by Pirelli. European Urban and Regional Studies, 23(1), 3-22.
  • Garcia Lamarca, M., & Kaika, M. (2016). Mortgaged lives: the biopolitics of debt and housing financialisation. Transactions - Institute of British Geographers, 41(3), 313-327.
  • Swyngedouw, E., & Kaika, M. (2016). Re-Naturing Cities: Great Promises, Deadlock … and New Beginnings? In K. Archer, & B. Kris (Eds.), Handbook of Cities and the Environment (pp. 42-64). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library  or the Pure staff  of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure  to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool  to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • University of Manchester
    Supervisory Board Member

edit contact information edit tabs