Saila-Maria Saaristo is currently a doctoral student at the doctoral program "Political, Societal and Regional Changes" at the University of Helsinki. The PhD research focuses on forced evictions and social movements resisting evictions at the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon. The study looks at evictions as a gendered and racialized phenomenon that occurs in the context of financialization of housing and commodification of the city, drawing from the experiences of the Global South to look at the Global North.
Saaristo has solid experience on planning, management and monitoring and evaluation of development cooperation programs and projects, acquired during 9 years with various agencies, such as the EU Delegation to Tanzania, MFA project in Mozambique, UN-Habitat, and international and national NGOs. Thematically her professional focus is on gender equality and women empowerment, housing and slum upgrading, civil society, and democracy and elections. Saaristo speaks fluent Portuguese, Spanish and English, and basic French and German,
This study explores the phenomena of occupations and struggle against evictions in social housing estates of Lisbon metropolitan area (LMA). The overall research objectives are: 1) To analyse the phenomena of social housing occupations and evictions of social housing in Lisbon metropolitan area. 2) To identify and analyse the practices of inhabitants who occupy, as well as of social movement actors who support their cause. The thesis has a theoretical objective of contributing to the theorizations of the politics of everyday practices of occupation and eviction, bringing together the literature on neoliberal modes of urban governance, peripheral urbanism, and on urban social movements.