Sonia Hirt

Title/Position: Dean and Professor
College of Environment and Design, University of Georgia
Degree(s)/School(s):  Ph.D. (Urban and Environmental Planning) University of Michigan

MCRI Projects: A2: Governance; B1: New Suburban Forms; C3: Europe Research Cluster.

Background: Sonia Hirt is dean and professor at the College of Environment and Design, University of Georgia. Her focus as a researcher and educator is on the interactions between social and cultural values and the urban built environment. Through her scholarship, she aims to advance understanding of the relationships between social processes, cultural values and urban forms, and to create opportunities to make cities more equitable, beautiful and sustainable. Her scholarship has both a theoretical and an applied perspective. She strives to enhance the quality of urban environments by developing a richer theoretical understanding of the social processes and cultural values that influence their evolution. She also strives to provoke critical debates within the built-environment professions and thus contribute to innovation in practice.

Sonia is the author/editor of over 70 publications. Her 2012 book, Iron Curtains: Gates, Suburbs and Privatization of Space in the Post-socialist City, received the Honorable Mention for the annual Book Prize in Political and Social Studies, sponsored by the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University.  Her 2015 book, Zoned in the USA: The Origins and Implications of American Land-Use Regulation, received the Honorable Mention for the biennial Best Book Award of the Urban Affairs Association.  It was also named one of the Ten Best Books in urban planning, design and development of 2015 by Planetizen and was included in the list of Outstanding Academic Titles of 2015 by Choice Magazine. In 2016, Zoned received the biennial John Friedmann Best Book Award by the Association of Collegiate School of Planning. Sonia is the lead editor of The Urban Wisdom of Jane Jacobs (2012, 2014), as well as co-editor of the Journal of Planning History.

Research Interests: Comparative Urbanisms; Urban Planning Theory and History;  Post-Socialist Urbanism.

Selected Publications:

Hirt, S. (2015). Planning during Post-socialism. International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences (2nd Edition). Oxford: Elsevier, pp. 187–192.

Stanilov, K. & Hirt, S. (2014). Sprawling Sofia: Post-socialist Suburban Growth in the Bulgarian Capital. In K. Stanilov & L. Sykora (eds.) Confronting Suburbanization: Urban Decentralization in Post-socialist Europe. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 163-191.

Hirt, S. & Kovachev, A. (2014). Suburbia in Three Acts: The East European Story. In M. Eckers, P. Hammel, & R. Keil (eds.) Suburban Governance: A Global View. Toronto: University of Toronto, pp.177-197.

Hirt, S. (2012). Iron Curtains: Gates, Suburbs and Privatization of Space in the Post-socialist City. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Hirt, S. & Stanilov, K. (2009). Twenty Years of Transition: The Evolution of Urban Planning in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, 1989-2009. Nairobi: United Nations Human Settlements Programme. UN-HABITAT.

Hirt, S. & Petrovic. M. (2011). The Belgrade Wall: The Proliferation of Gated Housing in the Serbian capital after Socialism. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. 35.

Hirt, S. & Petrovic. M. ( 2010). The Gates of Belgrade: Safety, Privacy and New Housing Patterns in the Post-communist City. Problems of Post-communism 57 (5): 3-19.

Hirt, S. (2009). Pre-modern, Modern, Postmodern? Placing New Urbanism into a Historical Perspective. Journal of Planning History. 8 (3): 248-273.

Hirt, S. (2008). Landscapes of Post-modernity: Changes in the Built Fabric of Belgrade and Sofia since the End of Socialism. Urban Geography 29 (8): 785-809.

Hirt, S. (2008). Stuck in the Suburbs? Gendered Perspectives of Living at the Edge of the Post-communist City. Cities: The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning. 25 (6): 340-354.

Hirt, S. (2007). Suburbanizing Sofia: Characteristics of Post-socialist Peri-urban Change. Urban Geography. 28 (8): 755-780.