Dr Deljana Iossifova (Chair)

Current Chair of the USF Trustees
University of Manchester
School of Environment, Education and Development
Humanities Bridgeford Street – Room 1.6

deljana.iossifova@manchester.ac.uk | Profile at the University of Manchester

Deljana Iossifova

Deljana Iossifova is Senior Lecturer in Urban Studies at the School of Environment, Education and Development and Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Manchester. She trained as an architect at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) and has a PhD in Public Policy Design from Tokyo Institute of Technology. She has attracted over £1.2 million in research funding and is currently International Lead and PI on two projects examining sustainability and urban infrastructure transitions in China, India and Brazil. She is Chair of the Urban Studies Foundation and lead editor of ‘Defining the Urban: Interdisciplinary and professional perspectives‘ (Routledge, 2017).

Although her research is well aligned with postcolonial urban political ecology perspectives, she uses transition theories, systems theory and complexity theory in combination with practice theory to unravel complex socio-eco-technical entanglements. Her work is particularly concerned with the triggers and consequences of urban transformation in their context-specific expressions.

Iossifova has spent years in architectural practice in China and has conducted research there for over a decade. This includes studies of urban borderlands under sociospatial coexistence (that of local urbanites and rural-to-urban migrants in adjacent commercial developments and dilapidated shanty towns) and, more recently, the role of urban sanitation in sustainable development. Currently, she is developing a project on China’s Belt & Road Urbanism.

She has worked on urban ageing in the context of post-socialist Bulgaria, using a human ecosystem framework to uncover how ageing is embedded within existing and emerging social, economic and environmental systems. Her work on Japan’s changing urban night between the Tokyo Olympics of 1964 and 2020 examined the social life of a modernist shopping mall turned entertainment centre and how it works as a community anchor and identity marker for many of its users.

She led the ESRC Strategic Network Data and Cities as Complex Adaptive Systems (2015-2017) with partners in the UK, China, Brazil and Japan, building partnerships with academics and practitioners towards the development of innovative approaches to the study of cities using a complexity framework, Big Data and emerging technology.

Before joining the University of Manchester, Iossifova was a research fellow on the international collaborative project ‘Scarcity and Creativity in the Built Environment’ (SCIBE) at the University of Westminster. She was an Our Common Future Fellow (Volkswagen Foundation) and UNU-IAS PhD/Postdoctoral Fellow on the Sustainable Urban Futures programme at the United Nations University, Institute of Advanced Studies (now the Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability).

Iossifova has many years of experience as a practicing architect and led on a number of award-winning master planning and architectural projects, including ‘Beijing Daxing New Media City’ and ‘DressCode Flagship Store’ in Tokyo.