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Prof. dr. M. (Maria) Kaika

Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen
Programmagroep: Urban Planning
Fotograaf: Apostolos Palavrakis

  • Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
  • Kamernummer: C.4.17
  • Postbus 15629
    1001 NC Amsterdam
  • Profile

    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.

  • Research topics

    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.

  • Publicaties



    • Engelen, E. R., Ribeiro Mosciaro, M., & Kaika, M. (2023). Seeing like an economist: using the case of Dutch healthcare reform to bring professions and their epistemologies back in the field of new economic sociology. Socio-Economic Review, 21(2), 909–934. https://doi.org/10.1093/ser/mwad005
    • Geagea, D., Kaika, M., & Dell'Angelo, J. (2023). Recommoning water: Crossing thresholds under citizen-driven remunicipalisation. Urban Studies, 60(16), 3294-3311. https://doi.org/10.1177/00420980231169612
    • Kaika, M., Keil, R., Mandler, T. P., & Tzaninis, I. (2023). Turning up the heat: Urban political ecology for a climate emergency. Manchester University Press.
    • Kaika, M., Keil, R., Mandler, T., & Tzaninis, Y. (2023). The Urbanization of Nature underneath and beyond ‘the city': Reflections on the book Turning up the Heat: Urban Political Ecology for a climate emergency. Trace Urbane , 10(14), 41-59. https://doi.org/10.13133/2532-6562/18630 [details]
    • Kaika, M., Varvarousis, A., Demaria, F., & March, H. (2023). Urbanizing degrowth: Five steps towards a Radical Spatial Degrowth Agenda for planning in the face of climate emergency. Urban Studies, 60(7), 1191-1211. https://doi.org/10.1177/00420980231162234
    • Loomans, D., & Kaika, M. (2023). Mortgage regulation as a quick fix for the financial crisis: standardised lending and risky borrowing in Canada and the Netherlands. International Journal of Housing Policy, 23(1), 24-46. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/19491247.2021.1946639 [details]
    • Mandler, T., Keil, R., Tzaninis, I., & Kaika, M. (2023). Epilogue: Is an integrated UPE research and policy agenda possible? In M. Kaika, R. Keil, T. Mandler, & Y. Tzaninis (Eds.), Turning up the heat: Urban political ecology for a climate emergency (pp. 347-357). Manchester University Press. https://doi.org/10.7765/9781526168016.00002 [details]
    • Tzaninis, I., Mandler, T. P., Kaika, M., & Keil, R. (2023). Introduction - Urban political ecology for a climate emergency. In M. Kaika, R. Keil, T. Mandler, & Y. Tzaninis (Eds.), Turning up the heat: Urban political ecology for a climate emergency Manchester University Press.


    • Calvário, R., Kaika, M., & Velegrakis, G. (Eds.) (2022). The Political Ecology of Austerity: Crisis, Social Movements, and the Environment. (Routledge Explorations in Environmental Studies ). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003036265 [details]
    • Kaika, M., Calvário, R., & Velegrakis, G. (2022). Epilogue: Austerity from financial to pandemic crisis. In R. Calvário, M. Kaika, & G. Velegrakis (Eds.), The Political Ecology of Austerity: Crisis, Social Movements, and the Environment (pp. 215-218). (Routledge Explorations in Environmental Studies). Routledge. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003036265-16 [details]
    • Kaika, M., Calvário, R., & Velegrakis, G. (2022). Introduction: Austerity as an environmentally dangerous idea: A political ecology approach. In R. Calvário, M. Kaika, & G. Velegrakis (Eds.), The Political Ecology of Austerity: Crisis, Social Movements, and the Environment (pp. 1-11). (Routledge Explorations in Environmental Studies ). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003036265-1 [details]
    • Tsavdaroglou, C., & Kaika, M. (2022). Refugees’ caring and commoning practices against marginalisation under COVID-19 in Greece. Geographical Research, 60(2), 232-240. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/1745-5871.12522 [details]
    • Tsavdaroglou, C., & Kaika, M. (2022). The refugees’ right to the centre of the city: City branding versus city commoning in Athens. Urban Studies, 59(6), 1130-1147. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/0042098021997009 [details]
    • Velegrakis, G., Calvário, R., & Kaika, M. (2022). The politicised ecologies of austerity: Anti-austerity environmentalism during and after the Greek crisis. In R. Calvário, M. Kaika, & G. Velegrakis (Eds.), The Political Ecology of Austerity: Crisis, Social Movements, and the Environment (pp. 115-134). (Routledge Explorations in Environmental Studies). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003036265-10 [details]



    • Luke, N., & Kaika, M. (2019). Ripping the Heart out of Ancoats: Collective Action to Defend Infrastructures of Social Reproduction against Gentrification. Antipode, 51(2), 579-600. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/anti.12468 [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. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/10455752.2016.1260147 [details]
    • 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. https://doi.org/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. https://doi.org/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). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315647241-10 [details]
    • Velicu, I., & Kaika, M. (2017). Undoing environmental justice: Re-imagining equality in the Rosia Montana anti-mining movement. Geoforum, 84, 305-315. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2015.10.012 [details]


    • García‐Lamarca, M., & Kaika, M. (2016). ‘Mortgaged lives’: the biopolitics of debt and housing financialisation. Transactions - Institute of British Geographers, 41(3), 313-327. https://doi.org/10.1111/tran.12126 [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. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/0969776413484166
    • Swyngedouw, E., & Kaika, M. (2016). Re-Naturing Cities: Great Promises, Deadlock… and New Beginnings? In K. Archer, & K. Bezdecny (Eds.), Handbook of Cities and the Environment (pp. 42-64). Edward Elgar. https://doi.org/10.4337/9781784712266.00008 [details]


    • Boudreau, J. A., Gandy, M., & Kaika, M. (2015). IJURR Editorial. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 39, i-v.
    • Kaika, M. (2015). Architects Are Like Trains…they only go on rails. The changing social role of architecture in a globalised world. In Global Icons of Architecture: Iconic Architecture, Global Architects and Public Space (Icônes globales d’architecture: L’architecture iconique, l’architecte global et l’espace urbain L'Harmattan.
    • Kaika, M., & Ruggiero, L. (2015). Class Meets Land: The Social Mobilization of Land as Catalyst for Urban Change. Antipode, 47(3), 708-729. https://doi.org/10.1111/anti.12139



    • Kaika, M. (2011). Autistic Architecture: The Fall of the Icon and the Rise of the Serial Object of Architecture. Environment and Planning D - Society & Space, 29(6), 968-992. https://doi.org/10.1068/d16110
    • Kaika, M., & Swyngedouw, E. (2011). The Urbanization of Nature: Great Promises, Impasse, and New Beginnings. In G. Bridge, & S. Watson (Eds.), The New Blackwell Companion to the City (pp. 96-107). Wiley-Blackwell.


    • Kaika, M. (2010). Architecture and crisis: re-inventing the icon, re-imag(in)ing London and re-branding the City. Transactions - Institute of British Geographers, 35(4), 453-474. https://www.jstor.org/stable/40891002


    • Caprotti, F., & Kaika, M. (2008). City and Nature: ideology and representation in fascist New Towns. Social & Cultural Geography, 9(6), 613-634.


    • Kaika, M. (2006). Dams as Symbols of Modernization: The Urbanization of Nature Between Geographical Imagination and Materiality. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 96(2), 276-301.


    • Kaika, M. (2005). City of Flows: nature, modernity and the city. Routledge.


    • Kaika, M. (2004). Interrogating the geographies of the familiar: domesticating nature and constructing the autonomy of the modern home. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 28(2), 265-286. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0309-1317.2004.00519.x


    • Kaika, M. (2003). Constructing scarcity and sensationalising water politics: 170 Days that shook Athens. Antipode, 35(5), 919-954. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8330.2003.00365.x
    • Kaika, M. (2003). The Water Framework Directive: a new directive for a changing social, political and economic European framework. European Planning Studies, 11(3), 303-320.



    • Kaika, M., & Swyngedouw, E. (2000). Fetishising the Modern City: the Phantasmagoria of Urban Technological Networks. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 24(1), 120-138. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2427.00239


    • Kaika, M. (2019). Reclaiming a Scholarship of Presence: Building Alternative Socio-environmental Imaginaries. In H. Ernstson, & E. Swyngedouw (Eds.), Urban Political Ecology in the Anthropo-obscene: Interruptions and Possibilities (pp. 239-252). (Questioning Cities Series). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315210537-13 [details]


    • Kaika, M. (2018). ‘London’s Vatican’: The Role of the City’s New Architectural Icons as Institutional Imaginaries. In W. Salet (Ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Institutions and Planning in Action (pp. 257-273). (Routledge handbooks). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315111230-17 [details]
    • Kaika, M., & Ruggiero, L. (2018). The academic article as a collective “labour of love”. European Urban and Regional Studies, 25(1), 6-7. https://doi.org/10.1177/0969776417751503 [details]

    Prijs / subsidie

    • Kaika, M. (2017). The 2017 Jim Lewis Prize for the Most Innovative Article.

    Lidmaatschap / relevante positie

    • Kaika, M. (2019-2020). NIAS Fellow, NIAS, Netherlands, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences.


    • Kaika, M. (member of editorial board) (2017-2018). International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (Journal).
    • Kaika, M. (editor in chief) (2010-2017). International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (Journal).


    • Kaika, M. (invited speaker) (25-1-2019). Invited Panelist: “Why you cannot afford your home?”, Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
    • Kaika, M. (keynote speaker) (2019). “Planning as Immunology”., The Annual Planning Lecture of the University of Groningen, Groningen.
    • Kaika, M. (keynote speaker) (2019). Public Lecture “Mortgaged Lives: the biopolitics of homeownership debt”, Housing Justice in Unequal Cities Conference Los Angeles CAN (community action network), Los Angeles.
    • Kaika, M. (keynote speaker) (2019). Dissensus in the smart city, Beyond smart cities today conference, Rotterdam.
    • Kaika, M. (invited speaker) (4-10-2017). Don’t call me Resilient again, Greece Forward III Progressive Policies for the Cities of Today and Tomorrow, Athens.
    • Kaika, M. (invited speaker) (26-1-2017). Hybrid Ecologies, Hybrid Ecologies, Munich.
    • Kaika, M. (invited speaker) (25-11-2016). Don’t Call Me Resilient Again!” Sustainable Development Goals as Immunology … or… what happens when communities refuse to be vaccinated, Night of Knowledge on Brussels , Brussels.


    • Garcia Lamarca, M. (organiser), Heynen, N. (organiser), Kaika, M. (organiser), Roy, A. (organiser) & Cooperativa , L. (organiser) (2020). 8th Institute for the Geographies of Justice (IGJ), Barcelona (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Kaika, M. (organiser), March, H. (organiser), Demaria, F. (organiser) & Varvarousis, A. (participant) (2020). The 7th International Degrowth and 16th ISEE Joint Conference: Building Alternative Livelihoods in times of ecological and political crisis, Manchester. Workshop: Towards a radical urban degrowth agenda for future cities (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Kaika, M. (organiser) & Tsavdaroglou, C. (organiser) (2020). Public Debate “The Newcomers’ Right to the City” (SPUI 25), Amsterdam (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Kaika, M. (consultant) & Nevejan, C. (consultant) (2020). Academic Advisor: Debra Solomon, for the 17th Architecture Biennale Venice - Netherlands Pavillion., 17th Architecture Biennale Venice, Venice (consultancy).
    • Kaika, M. (organiser) & Tsavdaroglou, C. (organiser) (2020). “The Newcomers’ Right to the City: decolonial communing practices and intersectional spatial justice”, Amsterdam (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Kaika, M. (organiser) & Keil, R. (organiser) (2019). Political ecologies beyond the urban, Amsterdam (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Kaika, M. (organiser) (1-9-2017 - 3-9-2017). Conference on 'Mortgaged Lives', Athens (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Kaika, M. (member of programme committee) (29-5-2017). Between compassion and racism, Thessaloniki. Research and Creative Team Director of the Theatre Performance “Between compassion and racism” (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Kaika, M. (organiser) & Ernstson, H. (organiser) (29-5-2017). Re-Making a Home: A theatre and research workshop, Thessaloniki (organising a conference, workshop, ...).


    • Mandler, T. (2022). Putting taste to work: The senses and circulation of beer in Amsterdam. [Thesis, fully internal, Universiteit van Amsterdam]. [details]
    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.
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