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University of Helsinki Department of Geography
Department of Geography

Hanna Ristisuo

Instructor (Human Geography)
Ph.D. Student (Urban Geography)

Reception time: Thursdays 10-11 am

Department of Geography
PO Box 64 (Gustaf Hällströmin katu 2)
00014 University of Helsinki

Tel: +358 (0)9 191 50771
Fax: +358 (0)9 191 50760


Click here for CV



2006 M.Sc., University of Helsinki. Major subject Geography (Urban Geography), minors Sociology, Statistics, Latin American studies



  • Basic courses on information and communication techniques (TVT 1 & TVT 2)
  • Practical work course in human geography
  • Research methods in human geography
  • Field course on research methods in human geography
  • Lecture course on geographical research & traditions
  • Workshop & small group guidance for students preparing their Master's Thesis
  • Assisting advanced level courses in urban geography
  • + various single lectures for university freshmen


Research Interests

  • Urban geography
  • Urban segregation
  • Urban growth
  • Polycentrification
  • Urban edges
  • Geographical focus: Helsinki Region, Finland


Current Research Project

I am working on my Ph.D. Thesis, currently titled “Residential differentiation in growing urban areas”. My project is closely linked to a wider research program “Urban spatial differentiation and neighbourhood effects”, financed by the Academy of Finland and led by professors Mari Vaattovaara (Urban Geography) and Matti Kortteinen (Urban Sociology).

The main interest of my research is the connection between the processes of social differentiation (in residential areas) and the growth of an urban region. In growing urban regions the main mechanism of social differentiation seems to be selective intra-regional migration, which is essentially fuelled by constant new housing production and regional growth of the functional urban region. This brings up the issue of changing urban structure. New housing production, as well as other growth processes (e.g. road building and development of service networks), not only make the functional urban region grow spatially, but also integrate it internally. This process of simultaneous expansion and densification also affects the system of centres inside the urban region.

Helsinki Metropolitan Area (HMA) is an interesting case of a rapidly globalising capital region, which has proved to be highly competitive in the new economy. At the same time, HMA is one of the fastest growing urban regions in Europe, with tendencies of both suburbanisation and polycentrification. Residential differentiation in the region used to be small-scale and dispersed due to a strong welfare state and policy of social mixing, but during the last decade the situation seems to have changed. Still, not much is known about social differentiation outside the urban core of HMA. As the edges are the current “hot spots” of urban growth and migration flows, analysis of these areas will get special attention in my research.


Other Interests

Roleplaying and board games, living history, handicrafts, music (both rock and classical), cinema, literature, travelling, cats.