Deljana Iossifova


  • Humanities Bridgeford Street, Room 1.06, Oxford Road

    M13 9PL Manchester

    United Kingdom

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Personal profile


Dr Deljana Iossifova is Professor of Architecture and Urban Studies at the University of Manchester. Working across architecture and the social sciences, she leads a portfolio of research on urban and infrastructural transitions.

Iossifova has worked on complex urban transformations, cities and biodiversity and the human ecosystems of ageing. Her main research focus is on the Global East and South, including China, Japan, Bulgaria, India and Brazil. Iossifova is the author of Translocal Ageing in the Global East (Palgrave, 2020) and lead editor of Urban Infrastructuring (Springer, 2022) and Defining the Urban (Routledge, 2018). 

Before earning a PhD in Social Engineering (Public Policy Design) at Tokyo Institute of Technology, Iossifova trained as an architect at ETH Zurich and practised in Germany, China, Japan and the USA.

Recent funded research

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Prof Iossifova is Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Architecture. She served two terms as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Urban Studies Foundation (2020-2023) and is currently a Member of the Board. She is Chair of the Board of the AzuKo Foundation. In 2021, she was a member of the judging panel for the RIBA President's Awards for Research (PAR) and has been a member of the RIBA PAR working group since. She serves as Academic Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Manchester.

Supervision information

  • Xin Li (Architecture, SEED PGR Studentship): Fair Shelter: Civic Infrastructures of Care for Bodies in Pain (Main Supervisor, with Sarah Marie Hall and Alison Browne) 
  • Rati Choudhari (Architecture, SEED PGR Studentship): Environmentally Sustainable Futures: the potential of modular city planning (Main Supervisor, with Joe Ravetz and Ulysses Sengupta) 
  • Ziqiu Ren (Architecture): Demonstrating Agencies and Assemblages of Food Markets as Socio-Urban Infrastructures in the Chinese Urban Context (Main Supervisor, with Huda Tayob) 
  • Rujin Wang (Architecture): Older Women’s Life Satisfaction, Community Engagement, and Ageing in Place in High Density Urban Environments in China (Main Supervisor, with Nan Zhang) 
  • Mark Shtanov (Architecture, SEED PGR Studentship): Urban Integration of Waste Management Processes (Main Supervisor, with Jaise Kuriakose) 
  • Dongyang Mi (Geography, President's Doctoral Scholar, Manchester/Melbourne Scholarship): Hygienic citizenship: Shifting cultures of cleanliness, hygiene and sanitation (Co-supervisor, with Alison Browne and Saska Petrova) 
  • Qiwei Peng (Architecture, CSC Scholarship): Elevated highways as social Infrastructures -interrogating the assemblage of diasporic pedestrian in Chongqing under-bridge space (Co-supervisor, with Stephen Walker)
  • Purva Dewoolkar (Architecture, SEED PGR Studentship): The Politics of ‘Infrastructural limbo’: Community Infrastructures of Sanitation within the Informal Settlements of Mumbai (Main Supervisor, with Alison Browne)
  • Junyan Ye (Architecture): The Design of Green Spaces on Campus: Meeting the Needs of Increasingly Diverse Student Groups (Main Supervisor, with Alison Browne and Matthew Dennis)

Successfully completed:

  • Kunzhe Kang (Architecture, 2023): A Dubious Experiment for Autonomous Architecture: a study of Chinese Experimenal Architecture between 1993 and 2010 through a Bourdieusian Lens (Main Supervisor, with Stephen Walker)
  • Yahya Gamal (Architecture, 2023): Incorporating procedural utility in contexts with multiple land markets: an application in Greater Cairo, Egypt (Main Supervisor, with Nuno Pinto)
  • Qi Liu (Geography, 2022): Beyond tourist practices: Practice-based approaches to sustainable consumption and production in tourism in China (Co-supervisor, with Alison Browne)
  • Cecilia Alda Vidal (Geography, 2022): Urban transformation and everyday life: The politics of access to sanitation in Lilongwe, Malawi (Co-supervisor, with Alison Browne)
  • Debapriya Chakrabarti (Architecture, 2020): The Practice of Idol-making in Kumartuli: Cultural Heritage, Spatial Transformation and Neoliberal Governance in Kolkata (Main Supervisor, with Graham Haughton)
  • Raqib Abu Salia (Architecture, 2020): Customary Land Tenure and Land Readjustment: Land Administration in Semi-Arid Ghana (Main Supervisor, with Ulysses Sengupta)
  • Yan Yu (2018, British Council – CSC Visiting PhD Scholar, Architecture): The Revival of Chinese Traditional Villages under the Impact of Fast-Developing Urbanisation (Main Supervisor)
  • Victoria Lawson (Planning, 2017): Can design deliver? A Liverpool case study of design-led city centre regeneration (Co-supervisor, with Graham Haughton)
  • Zhenbo Yu (Planning, 2013): Regulation of Urban Character: Style, Colour and Historic Character in a Modern Chinese City – The Case of Harbin (Co-supervisor, with Michael Hebbert)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

External positions

Editor in Chief, The Journal of Architecture (RIBA)

2022 → …

Chair of the Board, Urban Studies Foundation


Member of the Board, Urban Studies Foundation


Visiting Researcher, Urban Studies Institute, University of Antwerp


Areas of expertise

  • GE Environmental Sciences
  • G Geography (General)
  • Human Geography
  • Infrastructure
  • Ageing
  • Sanitation
  • NA Architecture
  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global inequalities
  • Manchester Urban Institute
  • Manchester China Institute


  • urban infrastructures
  • infrastructuring
  • human-infrastructure interaction
  • human-environment interaction
  • transdisciplinarity
  • urban borderlands
  • urban complexity


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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