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Meet the new postdocs at K2!

Welcome to Lund Chiara and Chunli!

Meet K2's new postdocs Chiara Vitrano and Chunli Zhao!

Read the interviews here:

Chiara Vitrano  -  accessibility and equality in public transport

Tell us a little bit about your academic background?
I got a Master’s degree in Sociology at the University of Pisa (Italy) with a thesis on the social and spatial segregation of migrants, and its connection with urban security policies and media representations.

I was then accepted as a PhD student at the Gran Sasso Science Institute in L’Aquila, where I mainly studied the processes at the basis of urban inequalities. While defining my thesis project under the supervision of Prof. Matteo Colleoni (Department of Sociology and Social Research, University of Milano-Bicocca), I explored those inequalities connected to mobility and accessibility, focusing on time-related disadvantages. During my PhD I have been a visiting student at the Institute of Urban and Regional Planning at the Technische Universität in Berlin, where I deepened my knowledge about urban rhythms and time policies under the supervision of Prof. Dietrich Henckel.

My Ph.D. thesis, "Mobilità e disuguaglianze temporali: uno studio empirico sull’accessibilità e il lavoro notturno a Milano" (Mobility and temporal inequalities: an empirical study on accessibility and night-work in Milan), pointed out the significance of the temporal dimension in the study of accessibility, focusing on the emerging temporal inequalities in the contemporary city. In particular, my empirical research investigated night work and night-time accessibility by public transport in order to better understand the potential temporal disadvantages and conflicts related to the process of colonisation of the night.


Why did you choose Sweden for your postdoc?
First of all, I chose Sweden because the postdoc position at K2/Malmö University, focusing on public transport in sustainable cities and regions, and, in particular, the relevance given by K2 to the social impacts of public transport, matched perfectly my research interests. Furthermore, Sweden is a country at the forefront of sustainable mobility, an excellent context where to learn about public transport and to do research on it. And Lund is where time-geography was born: given my interest to time-related inequalities, I couldn’t imagine a better place where to further my knowledge in this field.
 What are your research topics?
 My research topics include transport-related disadvantage and social, spatial and temporal inequalities, accessibility to/by public transport, and urban rhythms.
What is currently the most exciting development within your research field?
 There are many interesting things going on in mobility studies which focus on transport-related inequalities. Among them, a research topic which will most likely produce very relevant developments in the years to come is the one related to new mobility services and to the “Mobility as a Service” paradigm, which are gaining critical attention in relation to their social equity implications and to their impact on public transport.
What is your favorite means of transportation?

Probably the tram. Not only it provides environmentally sustainable mobility, but it and its infrastructures are often a fascinating element of the urban landscape. And, of course, the bicycle – when the proper cycling infrastructure is provided. I can’t wait to ride my bike around Skåne!

Chunli Zhao - future mobility with focus on passengers

Tell us a little bit about your academic background?

I have a multi-disciplinary background in urban and mobility studies. I was educated as a Landscape Architect in Bachelor and an urban designer in Master. I became very interested in creating cities for people by putting people first in the different approaches and settings during my master study. Later on, my PhD study has focused on users’ travel behavior, particularly on cyclists’ behavior in relation to built and societal environment, culture, and individual factors. The study extended my cross-sectional knowledge in urban planning, traffic study, and social science.

Why did you choose Sweden for your postdoc?
Because of an excellent opportunity at Lund University and K2, and I like the wisdom of Sweden. I was/am impressed by experiencing the co-production concept implemented at K2, and I enjoy being part of this highly collaborative group.

What are your research topics?
Travel behavior and land use, attitudes study, and planning culture study.

What is currently the most exciting development within your research field?
Looking into the future mobility from various perspectives is one of very interesting research subjects. Future mobility is becoming more difficult to predict and simulate, but the eventually goal stays the same – to develop passenger-oriented mobility service which must be sustainable for the future cities.

The intensive development of technology creates many innovative options that can help people to travel from A to B, hopefully in a more comfort and efficient way. However, it also means a transforming process is undergoing towards future mobility, which indicates many challenges. One of my research interests at K2 is to focusing on how ordinary citizens will react on the changing mobility, and how can passengers’ needs and aspiration is taken into consideration in the process of future mobility development and regulatory framework building up.

What are your favorite means of transportation?
Walking and cycling!