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Thaisa Cormelli

Thaisa Cormelli

Postdoctoral Research Associate


Thaisa Comelli is Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Department of Geography in King’s College. She is currently a part of Tomorrow’s Cities – an interdisciplinary research hub aimed at strengthening the voices and capacities of the poor in risk-prone areas in the global south. Before that, she worked as associate lecturer and researcher at the Bartlett Development Planning Unit - University College London, while also working as a consultant for organisations such as World Habitat and International Institute for Environment and Development.

Thaisa is primarily trained as a planner and has a PhD in urban planning from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. She has research and on-hands experience with inclusive, community-led and participatory urban/housing processes in contexts such as Brazil, Mexico, Senegal and Spain. Her research interests include participatory and insurgent planning, resilient infrastructures, informal settlement upgrading, and other urban interventions that are based on social, spatial and environmental justice pursuits. 


Thaisa's research is generally based on informal settlements and other contexts of socio-spatial vulnerability and marginalisation. She has explored, for example, spatial changes triggered by mega-events, tourism, and land speculation in informal markets (‘peripheral gentrification’). She has also analysed productive tensions – collaboration-conflict - in peripheral territories with a longstanding history of urban activism and state-led interventions.

More recently, she has based her research on the themes of resilient and citizen infrastructures, looking at how participatory and community-led processes can contribute to climate adaptation and environmental justice. She increasingly seeks engagements based on the ethos of knowledge sharing and co-production. 

Research Interests 

  • Community-led and participatory planning
  • Conflictive, insurgent and agonistic planning
  • Resilient infrastructures
  • Disaster Risk Reduction in contexts of socio-spatial vulnerability
  • Informal settlement upgrading
  • Social, spatial and environmental justice