Joana holds an undergraduate degree in Environmental Geography from the University of London and a Master’s degree in Development and Planning from the Bartlett School of the Built Environment, University of London, where she researched slum regularization in Porto Alegre Brazil for her dissertation. Upon her return to Portugal, Joana worked on social housing in Portugal and soon after began working on urban planning and strategy development projects in Timor-Leste as part of the GERTiL team of the Faculty of Architecture of the Technical University of Lisbon. Her experience then led her to work in the management and implementation of projects in Timor-Leste with the United Nations Development Programme, and later worked on short-term consultancies in communications and project development and implementation.
As a PhD student in the field of Urbanism, her research project focusses on the urban space in the post-conflict context, looking at Dili, Timor-Leste to extract lessons from. In this context, she is particularly interested in analysing the local territorial dynamics and processes of development, as well as governance issues and actors involved in shaping the territory. As part of her research, and in a broader perspective, Joana is also interested in discussions around urban structure and morphology, urban development in the Global South and post-colonialism. In parallel to this, Joana is also interested in ongoing discussions and research on housing policies in Portugal, for which she partners with colleagues at ISCSP.