Saila-Maria Saaristo

PhD Researcher


Saila-Maria Saaristo is a doctoral researcher and lecturer in Global Development Studies at the University of Helsinki, and a member of Urbaria (Helsinki Institute of Urban and Regional Studies). Her current research project focuses on studying inequalities and discriminations, which are approached through the case of inequalities in access to housing, with a particular focus on homelessness and forced evictions. The study investigates especially gendered, classed and racialised housing exclusions.

In addition to the academic career, Saaristo has worked extensively as a consultor, manager and coordinator of different kinds of international cooperation projects financed by the European Union and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, in the areas of urban development and housing, civil society, good governance and democracy, human rights, and gender. She has worked and lived in many countries, including Cape Verde, Tanzania, Mozambique, Brazil, Bolivia and Portugal.



Researcher info


University of Helsinki


Global development studies

Contact information

civil society Gender housing social movements urban governance

Research projects

  • Project date 1.7.2017
  • Head of research Saila Saaristo
  • Language n/a

This study explores inequalities in access to housing. In the light of the premise "Leave no one behind", the case study on occupations and struggle against evictions in social housing estates of Lisbon metropolitan area (LMA) draws the attention to the groups of population that are excluded from access to housing. In particular, gendered and racialised aspects of housing exclusions are examined. In addition, the role of civil society in contesting housing exclusion is analysed.


Saila-Maria Saaristo