Profile of Mrs Eranda Janku POLIS University

Eranda  Janku

Urban & Spatial Planner and Head of Applied Research Department, at POLIS University. Holds a PhD on “Urban – Rural Territorial Dynamics” (Ferrara University, IT), a MSc on Urban Planning and Management (POLIS University, AL), and a Professional Master on “Housing and Land Development Policies” (IHS Erasmus University, NL). Her work experience includes being project manager on several strategic and development plans at various scales, working together with local and national authorities; working near Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (Blacksburg, VA, USA) on the topic of Traffic Safety Cultures; and working at MINHO University (PT) on the topic of “territorial diffusion”.

General research interests

Urban - Rural Territorial Dynamics / Urban - Rural Relationships and Food Security / Spatial Development / Territorial Governance / Ecosystem Resilience / Landscape Urbanism

PhD/Postdoctoral Research Title

Exploring the Urban-Rural Continuum, ‘Liminality’ and ‘Continuum’ as conceptual tools for identifying Spatial Typologies

PhD Abstract

With urbanization acting as a global phenomenon, over time its sprawling patters have had an overall leading role on profoundly transforming the landscape of human settlements. Accompanied by migration patterns, population growth, increase of accessibility to infrastructure and knowledge, and the diffusion of innovation and technological improvements, urban limits have expanded into the hinterland, and on rural frontiers, often resulting in producing hybrid spatialities, which reside on dynamically changing territories, and manifest a creative alliance and the co-existence between various types of spaces of mixed urban and rural features, sharing a series of interconnections and interdependencies. Considering these dynamics and the blurring of the urban-rural dichotomy, albeit there has been quite a long and multi-sourced debate over the topic, to this day it still remains not sufficiently studied, peripherally addressed, and in desperate need for more in depth analysis and solutions to creating healthier, stronger, and more efficient urban-rural relationships.

Therefore, considering these anabolic effects and the multifaceted character of urban-rural relationships, the research work tries to explore alternative and effective solutions towards an integrated urban-rural approach, going beyond mere statistical and administrative urban-rural classifications, by paying attention to both, social behaviors and our perceptions and common understanding of urban and rural space, and our spatial behaviors and physical interventions affecting and changing both, urban and rural spaces. On these terms, suggesting that the break from the urban-rural dichotomy can be finally surpassed by framing urban-rural relationships under the concept of the urban-rural continuum, resulting in a more accurate and integrated approach for addressing territorial cohesion and sustainable urban-rural relationships. On this process, ‘liminality’ and ‘continuum’ represent two main conceptual tools, which facilitate navigating and entangling the urban-rural continuum, its mechanism and its spatiality, through the identification of spatial typologies.

The research work builds on a strong theoretical background in order to develop further new contemporary insights over the topic, positioning and defining new contributions within the academic repertoire, being followed by critical examinations on a series of specific case studies and samples based in Portugal and Albania, by applying theoretical findings and on the basis of that, building a series of interpretations. It concludes with the identification of a set of criteria, which inform urban-rural territorial dynamics, and condition the rise of an urban-rural continuum, and a series of spatial typologies, which portray the urban-rural continuum as a spatial construct.