New PhD student in CMUS team

Oguz-KusOğuz Kuş from Istanbul University, faculty of communication has joined our research team for the next three months.

His main interest is hate speech. According to his own words: “When it comes to my research interests, I generally conduct studies on how discriminative discourse or hate-speech spread on digital media. I try to understand features and dissemination levels of this kind of behaviour on digital media via text mining technique. These days, as a result of current context, I started to focus on analyzing hate speech against Syrian refugees on digital platforms. I published couple of articles and conference presentations on this issue.”

Purpose of his visit to Estonia is increasing  knowledge on the theory of immigration and to find a common ground to establish a dialogue between migration theory and public relations literature. Because, he believes that public relations might play a key role in integration process of refugees with its multidimensional and tolerant nature.

To contact Oğuz Kuş please write:

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Kadri Leetmaa is the new director of CMUS team

Senior researcher in human geography – Dr. Kadri Leetmaa is the new director of the Centre for Migration and Urban Studies from 2018 to 2020.

foto LeetmaaKadri joined our team already 2005 as a PhD student. Since then she has been supervisor for many students at various study levels and senior collegue for many junior researchers. Many of us have initially joined with our research team as her student.

Kadri’s main ambitions are related to developing a scientifically productive research team and to further increase the visibility and impact of our Centre. „We would like to be a creative team, inspiring each other, students from Estonia and abroad and our international partners“, she says, „we aim to be visible at international conferences as well as a valuable partner for decision makers in Estonia“.

Our director for the last two years, Dr. Daniel B. Hess, has succesfully finished his  work in Estonia on the research of the Soviet-era estates in Baltic states and has returned to the US. His new work will be the chair of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at University at Buffalo, effective January 1, 2018.

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National URBACT point in Estonia

NEstoniaational URBACT Point in Estonia is now at University of Tartu, Centre for Migration and Urban Studies.

URBACT enables cities to work together to develop new and sustainable solutions to major urban challenges, through networking, sharing knowledge, and building capacities for urban practitioners. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and EU Partner and Member States since 2002.

For more information: or

NUP Estonia contact person: Kadri Leetmaa,

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Human development report 2016/17


Human Development Report 2016/2017 “Estonia in the Age of Migration” is readable online in both Estonian and English on

Main messages of the Human Development Report 2016/2017

  1. Well-being and immigration are closely related to each other and, according to the human development index, human well-being in Estonia in the last 25 years is one of the fastest growing in Europe.
  2. Therefore, an image of Estonia as a country of emigration is now crumbling; there are more and more people who want to live in Estonia.
  3. Immigration cannot be a magic wand that will solve all the problems in Estonia.
  4. Estonia is pressing to adopt so-called a Cinderella-type migration policy, which is not viable. Cinderella did all the unpleasant work in the stepfamily, but she did not succeed in integrating into the family. If we look at the recent history of Estonia and to what is happening in other European cities, we can see how problematic a Cinderella-type immigration policy is.
  5. We have to consider immigration; however, the cornerstone of economic sustainability, in particular, is climbing up the value chain, which will also increase the tax revenue.
  6. The base of demographic sustainability is, primarily, a family policy, and there cannot be too much of this. A housing policy is one of the unused measures.
  7. Cultural and lingual sustainability can be assured if we take a broader view of the Estonian identity. In the migration era, the Estonian identity is no longer uniquely linked to the territory of Estonia. Today, Estonia is a multinational country, with its interconnected villages and towns both abroad and in Estonia.
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Mari Nuga defended her doctoral thesis

On 28th december our PhD student Mari Nuga defended her doctoral thesis “Soviet-era summerhouses. On homes and planning in post-socialist suburbia”

Supervisor: Senior Research Fellow in Human Geography Kadri Leetmaa

Oponent: Professor Craig Young (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)

Full thesis available here:

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CMUS team’s new director is Dr. Daniel B. Hess

D Hess with V Kalm

Dr. Daniel B. Hess and Rector of University of Tartu Volli Kalm

The Centre for Migration and Urban Studies at the University of Tartu is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Daniel B. Hess as a new Director. The Centre explores contemporary challenges facing urban regions including migration, residential mobility, housing and neighbourhood change, as well as the integration of immigrants and ethnic minorities across multiple life domains (such as places of residence and work, as well as intermarriages).

“We have worked with Daniel successfully for several years already,” said Professor Tiit Tammaru the outgoing Director. “We were very happy when he received a prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship from the European Commission that allows us to elevate our collaborative research to a higher and more competitive level.”

Dr. Hess is a Professor in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. In Estonia, his research focuses on the formation, evolution and current planning challenges of large panel housing areas. He opted to join the Centre because its excellent international reputation. “I am delighted by the high quality of research in the Centre,” said Dr. Hess. “There are five major European-funded projects running at the moment addressing various aspects of mobility, segregation and planning, and the team is young and energetic. Estonia is a small country, and this allows the researchers to be closely linked to decision makers, making research socially relevant in impressive ways.”

The Dean of Social Sciences at the University of Tartu, Professor Raul Eamets, appreciates the appointment of Daniel Hess very much. He said, “One of the important strategic goals of the University of Tartu is the improve its international visibility. Dr. Hess is the first non-EU scholar in the Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship program’s history to win the award at the University of Tartu. We warmly welcome him as the new Director of the the Centre for Migration and Urban Studies and we wish him a fruitful stay in Tartu.”

For more information contact: Daniel B. Hess



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American planning students visiting CMUS

Architecture and urban planning students from University of Buffalo and Alfred State College came to visit us at the end of May. The group was led by professor and our visiting scholar Daniel Hess.  During the visit the students had a tour in Tallinn, where they learned about city and transportation planning. They also visited Kiviõli, Narva, Sillamäe and spent a week in Tartu.

At University of Tartu Geography department the students started working on their planning projects. At the end of the 48hour planning challenge the students presented their recommendations for Urban Regeneration Schemes in Tartu City Centre (presented by teams of Estonian and American students). IMG_3301                                                  Students and professor Hess at Narva.

PicMonkey Collage             Preparing the planning projects at University of Tartu Geography department.

IMG_8362Students presenting their recommendations for Urban Regeneration Schemes in Tartu City Centre.


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Suburbanisation in France

2016-04-06 12.12.30Coline Dalimier from Lille University of Science and Technology finished her urban planning internship at CMUS. Before leaving, Coline made a presentation about the situation of suburban areas near Paris. Renewing the panel housing areas in the suburbia of Paris is difficult because a lot of asbestos has been used and the renovations would be very expensive due to that. Also there is a problem of poverty and the areas are turning into ghettos.

Slides from the presentation are available here.


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New article about collaborative planning published!

Planning post-summurbia: From spontaneous pragmatism to collaborative planning?

Moravian Geographical Reports, 2015, 23(4), p 36-46

Mari Nuga, Pille Metspalu, Anette Org, Kadri Leetmaa

Abstract: The possibilities to apply collaborative planning frameworks in formerly strictly planned areas that have experienced spontaneous transformations since the demise of the Soviet Union are examined in this paper. The enquiry is based on a case study of the Tartu region in Estonia, former socialist summerhouse settlements (‘summurbia’), which are experiencing a transition towards permanent residence resulting in a new yearround form of suburbia. Both the residents and local planning authorities were interviewed in order to understand the prevailing planning and building activities, as well as the social relations between these stakeholders. The collaborative planning process is then elaborated by exploring the social dynamics and learned practices of the local residents.

Keywords: summerhouses, suburbanization, pragmatic planning, collaborative planning, Tartu, Estonia

Available at:

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Book about segregation in 13 European capital cities published

Segregation_book“Socio-Economic Segregation in European Capital Cities. East Meets West”

Edited by: Tiit Tammaru, Szymon Marcińczak, Maarten van Ham and Sako Musterd

Routledge 2015

The rich and the poor are living at increasing distance from each other, and this is threatening the sustainability of urban communities and the competiveness of European cities. Increasing inequality in response to globalisation, the restructuring of the economy and the labour market, neo-liberal politics and declining investments in the social rental housing sector are direct causes of the increasing segregation.

This study compares the situation in 2001 to that in 2011 for thirteen European cities – Amsterdam, Athens, Budapest, London, Milan, Madrid, Oslo, Prague, Riga, Stockholm, Tallinn, Vienna and Vilnius.  Social mixing is declining in many areas and the multi-factor approach used links segregation to four underlying universal structural factors: social inequalities, global city status, welfare regimes and housing systems. Hypothetical segregation levels derived from those factors are compared to actual segregation levels in all cities.

This book will be a key reference on increasing segregation and will provide insights to students, researchers and policy makers who are interested in the spatial dimension of social inequality in European cities.

See more:


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