Dr Kaika’s research on urban political ecology contributes to the promotion of a dialogue between geography, urban studies, environmental history & planning. It does so by: (1) Re-conceptualising ‘the urban’, and breaking down the binary between nature and the city. (2) Unpacking the power relations involved in the production of the networks that weave together the cultural, the social, the natural, and the urban. (3) Developing a dialogue between political ecology and post-structural theorizations of the city and nature, and (4) Theorizing the relationship between neo-liberalization, globalisation & environmental policy, focusing on the power relations in EU decision making.
Dr Kaika’s international collaborative research projects have received funding from the European Commission, the ESRC-NERC-CASE (with the Environment Agency), the British Academy, and the National Research Foundation of Greece. Her research involves collaboration with: (i) Academic Institutions: Carnegie Mellon, Free University of Amsterdam, Darmstadt University of Technology, European University Institute at Florence, Royal Academy of Arts, Bristol University, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, University of the Aegean, Panteion University of Athens, University of Catania. (ii) Policy Making Bodies & NGOs: UN Habitat, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies of the European Commission, Heinz Foundation, Amnesty International, Environment Agency, European Environmental Bureau, City Min(e)d; and (iii) the Private Sector: Thames Water, Seville Water Company.
Building upon her earlier contributions in urban theory, Maria Kaika is currently developing a research agenda on Iconic Buildings and the changing ethnography or urban patronage in the 21st century. This project received seed funding from the British Academy in 2007.Using the Corporation of London (CL) as a case study, the project examines how changes in the structure and ethnography of the CL impact the form, function and symbolism of architecture in the Square Mile. The project focuses on recent ‘iconic buildings’ in the heart of the City that form a cluster of high rise in the heart of the Square Mile that will change London’s skyline dramatically. The project’s objectives are to: (1) deepen our understanding of the relationship between socio-political practices of urban patronage and architectural form and to (2) open up a dialogue between geography, urban studies, cultural studies, and architecture. The project involves interdisciplinary collaboration with Prof. Leslie Sklair (LSE Cities Programme), Dr Luca Ruggiero (University of Catania), and Urban Artists (City Mine(d)).