Demetra Kourri

Demetra Kourri

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Personal profile

Overview

I am a candidate for a Ph.D. in Architecture and a teaching assistant at The University of Manchester (UoM). My research focuses on the complexities of the Blanka tunnel project in Prague, Czech Republic. It asks  how we can reimagine infrastructural landscapes of mobility as integral social and material constituents of an urban fabric; and why is it important to reread such infrastructures as multi-dimensional spaces of physical movement and social processes rather than three-dimensional structures built for the sole purpose of travel. 

Thesis Title: Mobility Infrastructures as Sociotechinical Mediators: Unfolding the Blanka Tunnel Controversy

 Supervisors: Prof. Albena Yaneva, Prof. Graham Haughton

Teaching

Teaching Assistant

  • SP20 - MArch Dissertation | University of Manchester | w/ Prof. Albena Yaneva 
  • FA19 - PLAN60041 Urban Theory, Planning Theory and Professional Ethics | University of Manchester | w/ Dr. Caglar Koksal 
  • FA19 - BA3 Architecture on the Move: Global Mobility of Architecture in the 20th Centure | University of Manchester | w/ Dr. Lukasz Stanek 
  • SP19 - Studio 4.1b Mapping Controversies in Architecture | University of Manchester | w/ Prof. Albena Yaneva 
  • FA18 - BA3 Architecture and Media | University of Manchester | w/ Dr. Lea-Catherine Szacka
  • SP18 - MArch Dissertation | University of Manchester | w/ Dr. Deljana Iossifova
  • FA15/SP16 - PUFY1100 Sustainable Systems | Parsons School of Design 
  • SP13 - DES260 Introduction to Photography | University of Nicosia | w/ Zenon Sierepeklis
  • SP13 - Thesis Writing Skills Lab | University of Nicosia |w/ Assis. Prof. Nikolas Patsavos 

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

  • ETEK - Technical Chamber of Cyprus 

Other research

Current Research 

Mobility Infrastructures as Sociotechnical Mediators: Unfolding the Blanka Tunnel Controversy | Doctoral Research (ongoing) | 2017-2010 

This research focuses on the complexities of the Blanka tunnel project in Prague, Czech Republic. It asks  how we can reimagine infrastructural landscapes of mobility as integral social and material constituents of an urban fabric; and why is it important to reread such infrastructures as multi-dimensional spaces of physical movement and social processes rather than three-dimensional structures built for the sole purpose of travel. My study adopts a pragmatist perspective that traces the key notions of this infrastructural development as they appear through the controversy of the Blanka tunnel. Infrastructure is often seen as static, as singular, as either 'working' or 'broken'; as invisible. This work contributes to the understanding of infrastructure as a process, one that is ongoing and constantly negotiated, even after its 'completion'. It traces a live infrastructural project in the making, that is not separated from its location. The making of Blanka, is in part, the 'infrastructuring' of Prague. It is not universal and global; but specific and relational, as it transforms and questions the very nature of Prague.

 

Past Research Projects 

Infrastructures, Transportation + Mobility 

Subway Politics: Aiming for Public Participation in Transit Planning | Thesis Project | 2015-2016

This study suggests a framework for public participation practices in transit planning, using Staten Island New York as a platform for assessing the MTA’s participatory methods as part of their “Comprehensive Staten Island Bus Study.” Primarily through ethnographic research the project tries to dissect the relationships of the local community boards and the transit authorities, pinpointing their disconnections at both local and state levels, while addressing transportation in the US as part of a wider topic that is directly correlated to questions of social exclusion.

 

BQE – The In-Between | Design & Urban Ecologies Studio 2 Team | Parsons School of Design | 2015

This project re-conceptualizes the role of the BQE, the 278 Interstate Highway as a socio -spatial connector using 3 different strategies: The BQE BOX, DOT IN BETWEEN & DOT P2P. The project aims to present a platform that facilitates the communication between neighbors and decision-making agencies in a way that empowers residents to become agents of their own cities.

 

Sustainable Urban Mobility: Multi-Modal Network Planning, An Alternative for Limassol | Final Diploma Project | 2011-2012

This thesis project was based on developing a strategy for sustainable transportation and urban development in Limassol, Cyprus, using multi-modal network planning which would encompass the possibility for the redevelopment of urban voids created as a result of former political, social and economic decisions based on a car culture society. This plan would ideally provide a basis for a feasible solution for minimizing car use and at the same time progressing towards a greater environmental and personal health within the urban setting.

 

Urban Development

Studios at 219: Feasibility Study & Business Plan | Community Development Finance Lab Team in Partnership with the Trenton Downtown Association | 2016

The CDFL team was asked to tackle a vacant property and come up with possible models for running artists’ studio spaces efficiently and effectively for the Trenton arts community and beyond, with the purpose of revitalizing the property to become an arts hub that contributes to the cultural vitality of the area. Toward this aim, we conducted a feasibility analysis and structured a business model for the reopening of The Studios@219.

 

Green Acres | ULI Hines Student Competition | The New School Team | 2016

The team was asked to develop a vision and growth plans for Midtown Atlanta, Georgia to create a comprehensive environment for the site that is programmed, designed, built, and operated with all the elements necessary to promote a successful mixed-use experience for its residents, workers and visitors. The team was inspired by the idea of a multi-modal hub that strengthens healthy, sustainable mobilities and connects people on a neighborhood, city and regional scale. “Green Acres” emerges as a confluence for people and services, and becomes a link to Atlanta’s vision of the future. The following key elements of the development drive the social and financial connection of a neighborhood: Walkability/Accessibility/Green Space, New Urban Density/Affordability, Services/Job Creation, Emerging Housing Markets and New Urban Health.

 

Economic Development Plan in Borough Park, Brooklyn | Consultant for Urban Policy Lab | 2016

Acted as consultant for the Urban Policy Lab at the Milano School for International Affairs, as part of an economic development strategy project for a Borough Park neighborhood in Brooklyn. The plan included an in-depth analysis of the current socio-economic neighborhood structure and the development of a feasible plan that would allow for economic development while respecting current residents.

 

“Linea 7” Project: Aiming to Introduce a New Understanding of Urban Power and Politics | Design & Urban Ecologies Studio Team | Parsons School of Design | 2014

Through gameplay, we challenged local residents in Queens, New York to engage with the ideas of community decision-making and politics, to understand themselves as makers of change, influential in political processes. In collaboration with “Immigrants Movement International” and “Queens Neighborhood United” this became an ongoing project in an effort to reach out to the local community and beyond – winner of the Hearst Scholarship 2014.

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 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

Education/Academic qualification

Master of Arts, MA Theories of Urban Practice , Parsons School of Design

20142016

Master of Architecture, Postgraduate Diploma in Architecture , University of Cyprus

20102012

Bachelor of Architecture, Ba (Hons) Architecture, Birmingham City University

20062009

Keywords

  • Infrastructures
  • Mobility
  • ANT
  • STS
  • Post-socialist
  • Architectural theory
  • Prague
  • urban infrastructures
  • urban studies