I was born and raised in the capital city of Tbilisi, Georgia – a country that is currently undergoing a difficult and long transition from being part of the communist world into a democratic and free-market oriented society, developing its civic institutions and a new political culture.
I studied human geography at Tbilisi State University, Department of Human Geography, where I got my BA and M.A. Thank to the excellence and range of scientific interests of the Department of Human Geography I could explore different fields, including urban planning and geography, geographic information systems and urban and forced migration. While at the Tbilisi State University I participated in several research projects and I also carried out my own small-scale studies. Among the most interesting from my perspective I mention the following: land use transformations in the central parts of Tbilisi, housing strategies of Tbilisi dwellers and vertical building extension phenomena, changes in construction market and building activities. My latest research topic (masters thesis) was on urban geography of internally displaced people, where I studied segregation and resilience issues of forced migrants in the capital of Georgia as well as state policy towards them. The study has later turned into large scale research project funded by the Swiss academic foundation ASCN, and was extend to eight big cities in the country.
After receiving my master diploma from the Tbilisi State University, I was awarded a full scholarship from the Swedish Institute that allowed me to enroll at the Stockholm University. Living and studying in Sweden has helped me to expand my knowledge in urban planning issues such as transport, participatory planning, activism, urban migrants and ethnic economies in the cities. I could also acquire a more solid knowledge in the broad field of social sciences. Besides pursuing my academic objectives, I have collaborated with various Georgian non-governmental organizations, where my positions and responsibilities ranged from GIS analysts to project coordinator and manager.
The work experiences helped me in various aspects of my life including academic studies. Furthermore, I am a founder and current board member of Tbilisi based research organization Soviet Past Research Laboratory, focusing on rethinking and researching soviet history of Georgia. I am also an active board member at Jumpstart Georgia, where I joined the board after being employed there for 3 years. In addition to my academic and professional interests I have been involved in several urban activism campaigns and I volunteered for OpenStreetMap and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Group as a remote mapping volunteer.