FinGeo Committee

Committee Member

Manuel B. Aalbers is Associate Professor of Geography at KU Leuven, where he leads an ERC project and research group on the intersection of real estate, finance and states. He has also published on financialization, redlining, social exclusion, neoliberalism, mortgage markets, the privatization of social housing, neighborhood decline and gentrification. He is the author of Place, Exclusion, and Mortgage Markets (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011) and The Financialization of Housing: A Political Economy Approach (Routledge, 2016), editor of Subprime Cities: The Political Economy of Mortgage Markets (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012) and associate editor of Encyclopedia of Urban Studies (Sage, 2010).


David Bassens, a human geographer and social & cultural anthropologist, is Assistant Professor of Economic Geography at the Geography Department of Vrije Universiteit Brussels where he acts as co-director of Cosmopolis: Centre for Urban Research. He doubles as Associate Director of Financialization of the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) research network and is Executive Committee member and Treasurer of FINGEO, the Global Financial Geography network. David Bassens’ PhD research studied processes of world-city formation through the lens of the geographies of Islamic finance. His current work focuses on understanding processes of world-city-formation under conditions of financialized globalization, with an empirical focus on continental Europe and emerging markets. His work has been published in leading journals in the field of human geography. Read more about David's research here.

Impact Officer

Theodor Cojoianu is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, University College Dublin and an Irish Research Council Caroline Fellow (2018 -2020). Theodor is also a Smith School Scholar and is finalising his DPhil thesis in Geography and the Environment on responsible investment in public and private financial markets.

Theodor has previously held appointments in the sustainable finance space in both academic and finance industry organisations. He worked in academia within the Centre for Responsible Banking and Finance at the University of St. Andrews, the ICMA Centre at the University of Reading and the University of Edinburgh Business School. He was previously an analyst with MSCI ESG Research in London and is currently affiliated with Sociovestix Labs and Sustainable Investment Partners.

Theodor received his MSc. in Carbon Finance (Distinction) and MEng. in Electrical Engineering and Management from the University of Edinburgh.


Sabine is a Senior Research Fellow at the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER), an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Luxembourg, and an Honorary Research Associate of the School of Geography and the Environment (Oxford). She is currently a GSO Leadership Fellow and recently (2013-2015) held a Marie Curie Research Fellowship at the University of Oxford. Sabine completed her doctorate (Economic Geography) at the Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main (Germany). Her research interests include the changing global production and trade relations, primarily in financial and other services industries, and the dynamics of urban, financial and real estate development.

Event Coordinator

Janelle Knox-Hayes is the Lister Brothers Associate Professor of Economic Geography and Planning in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. Her research focuses on the ways in which social and environmental systems are governed under changing temporal and spatial scales as a consequence of globalization. She has studied the political and economic interface of financial markets and environmental systems and how individuals and organizations plan and make decisions under conditions of socio-economic uncertainty.  Her latest project examines how social values shape sustainable development. Janelle is the author of numerous journal articles, and two books with Oxford University Press, including Saving for Retirement, and The Cultures of Markets: The Political Economy of Climate Governance.

Secretary and Co-Editor

Karen Lai is Associate Professor at the Department of Geography, Durham University (UK). Her research interests include geographies of money and finance, market formation, service sectors, global city networks and financial centre development. Her recent project examines everyday financialisation through the knowledge networks of financial advisors and consumers. She is current working on two projects regarding the global financial networks of investment banks and law firms, and how FinTech could be reshaping the roles of financial centres. She is on the Executive Committee of the Economic Geography Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society (with Institute of British Geographers), and journal editorial board member of Geoforum and Geography Compass (Economic section).

Events Coordinator

Fenghua is an Associate Professor of Economic Geography at the School of Geography in Beijing Normal University. He obtained his PhD degree from Peking University and was a visiting scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles, and University of Hong Kong. Fenghua is the event organizer of the FinGeo network and was the organizer of the first global seminar of FinGeo held in Beijing in August 2016. His current research interests are financial geography, industrial cluster, urban and regional development. His recent papers are published in lead journals including Urban Studies, Geoforum, Urban Geography, Cities et al.


Dariusz Wójcik is a Professor of Economic Geography at the School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford University, and Edgar Jones Fellow in Human Geography at St Peters College Oxford. His research focuses on finance, globalisation, and urban and regional development. He has published 3 books and over 50 articles, and co-edited the forthcoming New Oxford Handbook of Economic Geography. He serves on the editorial boards of Economic Geography, the Journal of Economic Geography and GeoJournal, and chaired the Global Conference on Economic Geography 2015. He has held visiting positions at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Hong Kong University, National University of Singapore, Beijing Normal University, and the University of Sydney.

Communication officer and Early Career Reps (PhD level)

Fernando Toro is an Instructor Professor from the University of Chile (UCH), both at the Urbanism Department and Housing Institute. He is currently finishing his PhD at the Bartlett Development Planning Unit, University College London (UCL). He holds a master's in Real Estate Development from UCH and MSc in Urban Development Planning from UCL. His research and interests include financialisation of built environment, urban neoliberalism, new municipalism and social movements. His PhD research focuses on the debt relations between global and local financial intermediaries, as part of the production of the urban space. He is the former president and director of the activist think tank Ciudad Común.

Early Career Reps (post-PhD level)

Leonardo Pataccini is a Research fellow in the ERC project “GEOFIN” at Trinity College Dublin, and a researcher at the University of Latvia. He completed his PhD in Social Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The topic chosen for his thesis was the role of financial markets in the transition of the former centrally planned economies. To do this, he completed one-year research stay at the University of Latvia. After defending his thesis, he continued his career as a postdoctoral researcher at the Johan Skytte Institute for Political Studies at the University of Tartu, Estonia. His main research interests are economic and financial geography, international political economy, and post-socialist transitions in Central and Eastern Europe.


Communication officer and Early Career Reps (PhD level)

Yllka Hysaj is finishing her PhD at the University of Bristol, Management School. Her PhD focuses on Global Talent Mobility in the FinTech sector. She is currently a teacher of International Management at Bristol Uni. She holds a master’s in management and BA in Finance from the University of Sheffield (International Faculty in Thessaloniki). Her research and interests include platform businesses, FinTech, human geography, global talent, future of work, AI.

Communication officer and Early Career Reps (post-PhD level)

Claudia Affonso is an architect and urbanist since 2000 (Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Campinas, Brazil). She holds a dual PhD degree (2021) from the University of Oporto and University of Coimbra, Portugal, in Urbanism and Spatial Planning. In 2020 and 2021, she worked as an invited assistant at the Engineering Faculty of University of Oporto and from 2018 to 2021 was a member of CITTA research centre at the same institution. Motivated by her professional background of over 15 years in architecture and urbanism in the private sector, her research is committed to link practice and theory. The topic chosen for her thesis was the role of urban development instruments in contexts of increasing financialization. Currently, she is an independent researcher. Her main research interests are urban planning and economics, the role of both planning and financial investors in shaping urban built space, and financial geography.