Organisation och personal

Sofia Cele

universitetslektor vid Kulturgeografiska institutionen

018-471 7347
Ekonomikum, Kyrkogårdsg. 10
Box 513
751 20 UPPSALA

Kort presentation

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I am a senior lecturer and associate professor (docent). My research is within critical urban and cultural geography. Particular interests are: identity processes and place theory; vernacular landscapes; everyday politics; urban planning; the urban green and non-human geographies; experimental qualitative methods and creative writing. Current projects: The Contradictions of Urban Gardening: Culture, Politics & Planning and Roses and Thorns: Identity, Creative Processes & Geographies of Fame.

Akademiska meriter: FD

Nyckelord: qualitative methods childrens geographies feminist research methodology creative work planning and urban design urban politics place identity everyday politics gardening everyday life non-human geographies creative writing participatory planning urban green nature

Mina kurser


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My research focuses on the human relationship with the spaces and places of everyday life, and, in particular, how aspects, such as age and gender, affect the relationship with the surrounding environment. This includes a theoretical interest in, and exploration of, the concepts of place and space as well as empirical work.

My main projects have focused on urban environments and how people interpret and negotiate the physical, social, cultural, and embodied experience of the environment and how this is transformed into meaning-making and identity processes. A particular interest is how it is methodologically possible to research and communicate experiences, and this has made me explore how ethnographic and feminist methods and methodologies can be practised within geography. I am specifically interested in visual methods, such as photography and video work, as well as walking.

My methodological interest has also made me focus on experimental academic writing and how writing practices include and exclude different types of knowledge.    

I am part of the BaTiR (childhood in time and space) research network, and coordinates the BUB network (Children, Youth and the Built Environment) together with Danielle van der Burgt and Maria Kylin and Fredrika Mårtensson at SLU.

Specific interests: theory of space and place, urban geography and planning, children’s geographies, embodiment, fear, gender, feminist methods and methodologies, creativity, hybrid geographies, and the meaning of nature in modern society.


Recent projects:

Communicating Place: Methods for Understanding Children’s Experience of Place (2002–2006)

In my doctoral work, I focused on children’s relationship to place in urban environments. Drawing on the creative work of the Opies, Ward, and Moore, I set out to explore children’s own experiences, narratives, and interaction with their everyday environments. An important part of the work was to experiment with different methods to understand how various aspects of place experiences could be communicated by children. I conducted fieldwork in Sweden and England and worked with methods, such as interviews, drawing, photography, auto-photography, as well as walking. The children expressed detailed and vivid accounts of both concrete and abstract aspects of their everyday life and meaning making. The work also includes a discussion on how the findings can be implemented in urban planning. The work was financed by the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (FORMAS).


Dichotomous Open Spaces: Teenage Girls’ Perceptions of Parks (2007–2010)

In this project, I continued to focus on the experience of place, this time with the help of teenage girls in central Stockholm. Through participatory methods, such as walks and auto-photography, the girls expressed their experiences of a city-centre park. The emotional and social aspects of place were clearly communicated but also how rhythms and sensuous impressions greatly shape experience of place and meaning making in an everyday perspective. The complex relationship between safety and fear was also a central focus here and how this in turn relates to the social and material aspects of parks and park planning. The work was financed by FORMAS and the Swedish Research Council.  


The Urban Green and Social Sustainability (2011–2014)

This project focused on the urban green and its influence on aspects relating to urban sustainability. As in my previous projects, the theoretical core is people’s relationship to the places and spaces of everyday life. The key focus areas of the project are the future of the urban green in dense cities, what is its role, and how does it affect meaning making, place attachment, and identity in urban environments? Of central importance is understanding how planners, (landscape) architects, and politicians form their visions of the urban green, as well as how individuals relate to the urban green in their everyday interaction with the environment. How do safety and fear interrelate in the experience of green areas and parks? Is this dependent on age, gender, and ethnicity? Are there specific structures and types of planting that help increase safety in urban parks? How can plants and trees which are dependent on time and the stability of place be handled within urban planning? Of specific interest are also individuals’ personal relationship with urban green areas and interaction with plants, with a focus on activities, such as guerrilla gardening and urban gardening. This work is financed by FORMAS.


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