The Department of Human Geography has a long tradition of international studies. Currently, the department has about twenty researchers and doctoral students conducting research with an international focus.

Global urbanism. A thematic area, within which the institution has developed considerable expertise, since the early 1990s, is “Global Urbanism” or “international urban studies.” The empirical research has so far focused mainly on Africa. The research tries to understand urban change in the global context, where field work is an important part of understanding how global processes influence and how they are experienced by people in their everyday lives. The research has examined, for example, how neoliberal policies and exposure to global forces have affected poor people’s ability to earn a living in the city, and how China’s growing presence in Africa is leading to new strategies for the management of the “Chinese threat.” Another research track examines how marginalized groups organize themselves collectively to exercise influence in the city, and how these organizations sometimes create international networks that have significance for the city residents’ struggles for the right to the city. In several studies, the consequences of rapid urbanization in Africa have been analyzed; specifically, how marginalized groups have access to housing, water, and sanitation in unplanned neighborhoods. Some projects have a special interest in urban planning, including the importance of the colonial heritage and contemporary dominant ideas for addressing problems with housing, urban poverty, etc.


Research in the area of “Global Urbanism” has resulted in eight doctoral dissertations and several post-doctoral projects. It is part of the research profile, The Stockholm Urban and Regional Research Environment (SURE) at the department. For more information, see:

Environmental and landscape history in Africa examines the landscape changes, its patterns and processes in eastern and southern Africa. Researchers in historical geography at the department, along with researchers at the Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology created an interdisciplinary research environment, “PLATINA – People, Land and Time in Africa,” ​​– which deals with a range of issues such as climate and environmental changes, political ecology as well as the consequences of intensive agriculture and small-scale agriculture. For more information, see:

Demographic change and migration. Research in this area includes several tracks: One addresses international migration processes, including migrants’ experiences in Sweden; another examines demographic change from an international perspective and its importance in economic and social development. For more information, see: