Meet Mahtab Baghaie Poor, a visiting PhD Researcher from Technical University of Munich

We are excited to share that Mahtab Baghaie Poor, a PhD Researcher from the Technical University of Munich, is visiting us this spring to collaborate on the GREENTRAVEL project. We had a mini-interview with Mahtab to learn more about her research topic and plans for her research stay in Helsinki.

A profile photo of Mahtab Baghaie Poor











Who are you and what is your role at your home university?

I am Mahtab, a research associate at the Technical University of Munich. I’m trained as an urban planner and designer and am currently researching the interactions of urban greenery with the comfort of walking and cycling in my PhD. You can find me on LinkedIn:

Please briefly introduce your research topic.

At the Research Training Group Urban Green Infrastructure (RTG-UGI), we’re a group of researchers looking into various aspects of greenery in cities. We cover a range of topics such as health, tree mortality and growth modelling, ownership, governance, etc and I am looking at the mobility aspect of human-nature interactions. More precisely, I like to understand how urban greenery affects the everyday active mobility experience and how it contributes to a more comfortable daily trip on foot or by bike. In doing so, I have a qualitative approach as the topic requires. I use User Experience capturing methods to go inside people’s heads while walking or cycling and track the live experiences of Munich’s and Helsinki’s residents and the reasons behind their feelings of comfort or discomfort.

Why did you decide to visit the Digital Geography Lab? How long is your stay here and what are you planning to work on during that time?

I joined the Digital Geography Lab to collaborate on the GREENTRAVEL project, which is quite similar to my PhD project and asks similar questions. However, we approach the topic differently, making this collaboration meaningful. To aggregate our findings and develop the understanding of human-nature interactions further, it is important that researchers of similar topics join forces. That’s why I found a research stay at DGL quite interesting and helpful. Thanks to their hospitality, I am here now in Helsinki until the end of May, collecting data with the same methodology I use in Munich to create UX maps of pedestrians and cyclists in Helsinki. Ultimately, the comparison of findings between Munich and Helsinki can contribute significantly to both RTG-UGI and GREENTRAVEL projects.

What are your first impressions about Helsinki? What would you like to discover or experience during your stay in Finland?

My first impression was that I had a really smooth journey from the airport to my hotel the first time I arrived, so as a mobility researcher, that grabbed my attention the most. I’m having an enjoyable user experience with public transport. I like it when I see several buses and trams running every few minutes to take me around the city. Great public transport network! Maybe it’s a bit expensive for visitors but I believe it’s worth it.

I would love to experience nature in Finland in general, and in Helsinki, I very much enjoy an evening walk on the shorelines and a good salmon soup!


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The Digital Geography Lab is an interdisciplinary research team focusing on spatial Big Data analytics for fair and sustainable societies at the University of Helsinki.