Assistant Professor of Public Health and the Built Environment, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Physical Activity, Post-Socialist Cities, and Qualitative Methodologies
My interest in moving bodies includes questions of physical activity and public health policy within cities, primarily in the form of recreational running clubs and post-socialist urbanism. Running provides a democratic and ubiquitous activity to engage with practices of physical health, while at the same time challenging the notions that cities are sites of alienation and decline. The democratic nature of running means that recreational clubs are an ideal mechanism with which to reach under-represented and socially excluded groups.
The fellowship at the Brussels Centre for Urban Studies will examine the ways in which running clubs in Brussels use urban space, structure running events, and engage with techniques of health maintenance for non-professional recreational runners. The fellowship will compare findings from a longitudinal project in Sofia, Bulgaria. The cross-comparison between two cities with divergent historical, political, cultural, and urban formation patterns will develop current understandings on the barriers and facilitators of physical activity in Europe. At the same the time the focus on urban space in Brussels will provide a rich array of data that will be useful at municipal, regional, and national governance level.
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