• Partners and networks

University of Tartu:

Mobility Lab

Faculty of Economics and Business Administration

Faculty of Social Sciences and Education

Other networks:

Cities After Transition (CAT)

CMUS researchers are members of the Cities After Transition (CAT) network, which brings together about 150 leading researchers in the field of urban studies of post-socialist countries.

  • Projects and grants

Governing Urban Diversity: Creating Social Cohesion, Social Mobility and Economic Performance in Today’s Hyper-diversified Cities

Duration: March 1 2013 – Feb 28 2017
Funding: European Commission, 7th Framework Programme

Annotation: European cities today are more diverse than ever before. Immigration, socio-economic inequalities, spatial segregation and a diversity of identities and lifestyles are all contributing factors. The challenges faced by urban policymakers and institutions to meet the needs of Europe’s increasingly diverse population are numerous and complex.
The principal aim of DIVERCITIES is to examine how Europe can benefit from diversity. The project’s central hypothesis is that urban diversity is an asset.  It can inspire creativity and innovation. Create cities that are more liveable and harmonious. Stimulate local and national economies and make European cities more competitive.
Urban diversity can be a strength rather than a burden. It can positively affect social cohesion, social mobility and economic performance. But a re-think of public policies and governance models is needed to make more intelligent use of diversity’s potential.
A European research team, headed by Utrecht University will conduct a comparative study in 13 European cities. Research will also be carried out in Toronto (Canada), one of the world’s most diverse cities.
Case studies will be examined where diversity was leveraged to achieve social and socio-economic benefits. The role of urban policies and governance arrangements in stimulating social and economic progress will also be critically analysed.
Comparative field research, educational programmes, cross-evaluation sessions and an international policy conference are the key components of this four-year project.


Spatial Population Mobility and Geographical Changes in Urban Regions
Rahvastiku ruumiline mobiilsus ja linnaregioonide areng

Duration: Jan 1 2013 – Dec 31 2018
Project No: IUT2-17
Funding: IUT

Annotation: This research programme examines the links between various forms of spatial population mobility (external and internal migration, temporary mobility) and residential segregation for addressing the challenges facing sprawling urban regions, with a particular focus on Estonia and East Europe. Research is mainly based on large scale quantitative microdata, such as population censuses, population registers, and mobile phone data. The results of the research programme contribute to the a) better understanding of geographic processes and their consequences in urban regions; b) development of international knowledge centre for spatial mobility, urban and regional research; c) enforces MSc and PhD studies in the same field at the University of Tartu; and d) smart, sustainable and inclusive spatial planning practices and urban development in Estonia.


Domains of Inter-ethnic Contacts and Spatial Segregation of Ethnic Groups in Cities
Rahvusgruppide vaheliste kontaktide ja ruumilise segregatsiooni sfäärid linnades

Duration: Jan 1 2012 – Dec 31 2015
Project No: ETF9247
Funding: ETF

Annotation: One of the most studied topics in urban social geography has been residential segregation by ethnicity. Recently discussions have been extended from residential segregation to other spheres of people’s daily lives. It is asked whether other spheres besides the neighborhood where inter-ethnic contacts are created are important in reproducing segregation patterns (work, schools, leisure time activities, services, personal networks, etc.). The proposed research uses an integrated research framework about majority and minority contacts in different spheres of daily life. We are interested in interrelations between four spheres where inter-ethnic contacts are created – places of residence, places of work, family networks and leisure time contacts. Since in the residential segregation literature two broad discussions could be differentiated – minority segregation and the segregation-behavior of the host population – we also integrate the minority and majority perspectives to better understand to what extent both groups contribute to segregation. In empirical studies, we focus more on the workplace and leisure time domains. We use the characteristics describing the contacts in the workplace and leisure time domain as dependent or main explanatory variables, and we ask: How is the workplace and leisure time segregation created? And, how do workplace and leisure time contacts influence inter-ethnic contacts in other domains (family network, residential choice, workplace / leisure time)? We use data on two types of immigrant societies – Nordic countries with growing and heterogeneous immigrant communities (Sweden and Denmark), and post-Soviet countries with homogeneous minority communities (Estonia), where the high-level of immigration stopped two decades ago. More specifically, we use unique longitudinal individual-level databases based on Swedish and Danish population and employment data registers, the cross-sectional Census 2000 database, and we include the block with relevant questions to a regular municipal sample survey carried out in Tartu, Estonia, in 2013.


Social aspects of neighbourhood change in pre-1989 city space: The Case of Estonian and Czech Cities
Üleminekuaja eelse linnaruumi sotsiaalsed muutused Eesti ja Tšehhi linnade näitel

Duration: May 10 2012 – Nov 9 2015
Project No: MJD338
Funding: MJD

Annotation: Much scholarly attention in post-socialist urban studies has been paid to the analysis of new residential areas. On the other hand, the processes and the transformations taking place in pre-transition urban areas, particularly in the central/inner cities and the socialist housing estates, are still understudied. The proposed project aims to investigate the social transformation of changes in pre-1989 city-space. The research on post-socialist neighbourhood change and its social aspects is conceptualized at three analytical levels: (1) patterns and dynamics of the social spatial structure of the urban population; (2) processes and transformations taking place in hot spot neighbourhoods (neighbourhoods experiencing significant changes); (3) the social and quality-of-life impacts on individual people (neighbourhood residents and users) living in hot spot neighbourhoods. Employing the methodological pluralism (quantitative analyses of census data, case studies, and qualitative research in selected neighborhoods) and the comparative approach (Estonian-Czech cities) a better understanding of the patterns, dynamics and consequences of socio-spatial change in post-socialist inner cities will be achieved.


Domains of Interethnic Contact in Latvia
Erinevast rahvusest inimeste kohtumispaigad Lätis

Duration: Aug 1 2012 – July 31 2014
Project No: MJD334
Funding: MJD

Annotation: The project examines the associations between the geographically defined domains of daily life — neighbourhood of residence, home/family and work place where members of the immigrant ethnic minority population make firsthand and continuous contact with members of the native majority population. The main research question that the project seeks to answer is as follows: How are the three domains of daily interaction associated with each other in generating interethnic contact and ethnic integration in the contemporary urban environment. The empirical evidence of the project comes from Riga Metropolitan Area, Latvia. An original sample survey among 2,000 respondents in working age will be conducted in Riga Metropolitan Area. Interethnic contact will be measured by three question groups concerning ethnic context and contacts in residential neighbourhood, family and at work. The variables will fall into three main groups: domain variables, contact variables and relevant background characteristics. The main methods of data analysis are linear and logistic regression models. Ultimately, the results of the study will shed new light on ethnic integration in contemporary immigrant societies, and have important policy implications in this field.


COST Action 0803 “Cities Regrowing Smaller”

Duration: Feb 2009 – Sept 2013

Annotation: At the beginning of the 21st century, the shrinking cities phenomenon is widespread in Europe. To deal with the results of demographic, economic and physical contraction processes and to plan for the future of considerably smaller but nevertheless livable cities is one of the most challenging tasks for urban Europe in the near future.
Against this background, the Action aims at fostering knowledge on regeneration strategies in shrinking cities across Europe.

The action has been led by Prof. Thorsten Wiechmann, University of Dortmund; CMUS researchers have been members of the management committee for the action.

For more information see


“Developing Methodology for Register-based Population and Housing Censuses in Estonia” (REGREL) 

Duration: 2010–2013
Funding: Statistics Estonia via Tallinn University and Ernst & Young Baltic AS

Annotation: The CMUS researchers have been involved in the REGREL project as experts. The project has been financed by the Statistics Estonia,and coordinated by the  consultancy company Ernst & Young Baltic AS with the Estonian Demographic Institute of the Tallinn University.

The objective of the project has been to evaluate  the situation of the national registers in Estonia in relation to carrying out census-based housing and population censuses in the future, and to work out the recommendations for improving the quality of register data, and linking registers. On the bases of this evaluation a pilot project will be carried out in 2014 by Statistics Estonia to test the possibilities for register-based censuses in Estonia. The project involved the census questions which are obligatory for EU member states.