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Dr. Sofia Pagliarin





Institut fédéral de recherches sur la forêt, la neige et le paysage WSL
Zürcherstrasse 111
8903 Birmensdorf


Birmensdorf Bi HL E 31



  • Urban development, socio-political factors influencing urban growth and land-use change (territorial governance, spatial planning), complexity theory
  • Urban sprawl, suburbanisation, periurbanisation, territorial dispersion patterns of residential areas
  • Tourism studies, with a focus on tourist service workers and the construction of the tourist experience
  • Qualitative research (interviews, document analysis)
  • Set-theoretic methods and qualitative comparative analysis (QCA)

Ongoing Research Project

2018 Currently a visiting Post-doc Researcher at the Chair of Governance of Innovative and Complex Technological Systems, Political Sciences, at the Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, Germany. The visiting is a post-doctoral fellowship funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG, German Excellence Initiative) and managed by the Bamberg Graduate School of Social Sciences (BAGSS) of University of Bamberg.

2016-2017 Two-year post-doc position in the CONCUR project 

The CONCUR research project aims at the construction of a model able to synthetise the influence of strategic spatial planning on landscape change. Models of land-use change will thus be able to account for local, socio-political and cultural factors affecting planning and, consequently, landscape change. 

My task within the project is to identify the main supra-regional conditions, and their combinations, that can influence, and potentially explain, local land-use changes (i.e. incidents and accidents) in urban regions, and their connection with strategic spatial planning. This aim will be attained by adopting complexity-informed methods for empirical research, such as case studies, interviews and  qualitative comparative analysis (QCA).

Training and Education

2010-2014 Ph. D. in Urban and Regional Studies (European Urban and Local Comparative Studies, URBEUR programme) at Bicocca University of Milan (Italy), in co-tutorship (joint doctoral diploma) with Katholieke Universiteit Leuven KUL (Belgium), Department of Architecture, Urban Design and Regional Planning and Development. 

Additional Certification as Doctor Europaeus

Thesis: Territorial dispersion patterns of residential areas. Urban sprawl as an outcome of multi-scalar territorial governance processes of land bargaining in the Barcelona and Milan metropolitan regions. Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Matteo Colleoni & Prof. Dr. Frank Moulaert

2012 European Module in Spatial Development Planning (EMSDP), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven KUL (Belgium).

2009-2010 Course in Urban and Regional Planning, University of Barcelona UB (Spain).

2006-2007 Exchange student, Autònoma University of Barcelona UAB (Spain).

2005-2007 Master in Sociology of Regional and Urban Development, Trieste University (Italy).

2003-2004 Master in Cultural Studies and Exchange student, Lund University (Sweden).

2001-2004 Bachelor in Sociology, University of Padua (Italy).


  • Pagliarin, S. (2018) Linking processes and patterns: spatial planning, governance and urban sprawl in the Barcelona and Milan metropolitan regions. Urban Studies.
  • Pagliarin, S. (2016) Working Leisure: Entertaining guests in gated tourist resorts, Leisure Studies, 36(6), 752-763, doi:10.1080/02614367.2016.1261181
  • Pagliarin, S. (2013). Working Entertainment. The knowledge, emotional and physical labour performed by entertainment workers in the Italian tourist industry, in Cappello, G., Modi, I. & Lo Verde, F. M. (Eds.), Mapping Leisure Across Borders (p. 252-270). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Pagliarin, S. (2012). Empresariado étnico y formación de enclaves comerciales: el papel de las redes sociales en el caso de la calle de Sant Pau en Barcelona, in Biblio 3W. Revista Bibliográfica de Geografía y Ciencias Sociales. University of Barcelona, XVII:962.
  • Pagliarin, S. (2008). Il golf: una lentezza d'élite, in Lavarini, R. (Ed.), Viaggiar lento. Andare adagio alla scoperta di luoghi e persone (p. 112-127). Milan: Hoepli.