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Personal profile

Curriculum vitae

Florencia Quesada Avendaño is university researcher in Development Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki (UH) and Docent/Adjunct Professor in Latin American Studies (UH). A historian by training, currently she is doing research in Guatemala City about violence and environmental risks in precarious communities as part of the Academy of Finland funded project FCITIES: Societal security, environmental vulnerability and redistributive justice in fragile cities of the global South (Anja Nygren coordinator, 2016-2020, working full time 2019-2020). The projects analyzes the ways in which fragile cities in the global South are dealing with the challenges of societal security, environmental vulnerability and representative justice in the spaces of multi-scale governance, and how close (or far) they are from the ideal of societal security.

Formerly she was a research fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (UH)(2016-2019) Currently, Quesada is also writing a book about about the urban and cultural transformation of Guatemala City between 1880-1930. The research examines, from an interdisciplinary and regional perspective, the process of urban modernization and the power relations expressed in the urban sphere. The city's transformation is also analyzed in the context of political and economic processes, cultural and social changes, architectural and urban transformations and, last but not least, using images, literary descriptions and representations. 

She teaches courses in contemporary urban Latin America, urban cultural and architectural history, sustainable tourism, and violence, inequalities and insecurity in Latin America. 

She earned her PhD in Latin American Studies from the UH, a DEA in history from Université Paris 1-Sorbonne and a master’s degree in history from the University of Costa Rica. She has carried out primary research in Guatemala, Honduras, and Costa Rica, and in archives in France, Spain, and the United States. For eight years, she was a lecturer in the international virtual program of Latin American Studies-AMELAT XXI, coordinated by Universidad Complutense de Madrid and part of a network of European and Latin American Universities. 

Before coming to Finland from Costa Rica, she was a researcher at Centro de Investigaciones Históricas de América Central (CIHAC) at the University of Costa Rica, and at the Department of Education of the Central Bank Museums.

She was a co-curator of the first Costa Rican Pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition/Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014 of La Biennale di Venezia.

Quesada has published on Central American urban cultural history, planning and sustainable tourism. Her latest book about the urban modernization in San José, Costa Rica received the 2011 Cleto González Víquez Award from the Academy of Geography and History of Costa Rica.

Fields of Science

  • 615 History and Archaeology
  • Latin American Studies
  • Urban cultural history
  • 5203 Development Studies
  • Sustainable tourism
  • Urban studies

International and National Collaboration Publications and projects within past five years.


Historiografía de la historia urbana y la urbanización en Centroamérica

Translated title of the contribution: Historiography of the urban history and urbanisation in Central AmericaQuesada, F., 2020, Después de la heroica fase de exploración. La historiografía urbana en América Latina. . Mejía, G. & Martínez, G. (eds.). Bogotá: Pontificia Universidad Javeriana

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

“Cities, space, modernization, and modernism in Central America"

Quesada, F., 2019, (Accepted/In press) Modern Architecture in Central America. Quirós-Pacheco, M. & Ibelings, H. (eds.). Montreal/Amsterdam: The Architecture Observer, 21 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

Ensanches y nuevos espacios de poder en la ciudad liberal: Ciudad de Guatemala, 1880-1920

Translated title of the contribution: Urban growth and new spaces of power in the modern city: Guatemala City, 1880-1920Quesada, F., Oct 2018, Vísperas del urbanismo en Latinoamérica, 1870-1930 : Imaginarios, pioneros y disciplinas. Almandoz, A. & Ibarra, M. (eds.). Santiago de Chile: RiL Editores, p. 75-119 44 p. (Instituto de Estudios Urbanos y Territoriales UC).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


Professori Pakkasvirta Presente

Translated title of the contribution: Professor Pakkasvirta PresentJukka, A., Mykkänen, J. (ed.), Quesada, F. (ed.), Mika, R. (ed.), Siltala, A. (ed.) & Teivainen, T. L., Sep 2018, Finland: Into kustannus. 312 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBookScientific

Open Access



Urban Planning (Journal)

Anja Nygren (Editor in chief), Florencia Quesada Avendaño (Editor in chief)
Aug 2020Sep 2020

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

Diane Davis

Anja Nygren (Host), Florencia Quesada Avendaño (Host)
18 Sep 201922 Sep 2019

Activity: Hosting a visitor typesAcademic visit at UH

Erik Swyngedouw

Anja Nygren (Host), Florencia Quesada Avendaño (Host)
17 Sep 201921 Sep 2019

Activity: Hosting a visitor typesAcademic visit at UH

Crazy World Series: Divided City

Florencia Quesada Avendaño (Invited speaker)
18 Sep 2019

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Press / Media

Interview maailma.net (Silja Ylitalo journalist)

Florencia Quesada Avendaño


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Press / Media

Radio Programme: Window to the South

Florencia Quesada Avendaño


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Press / Media

Radio program history of San José, Costa Rica

Florencia Quesada Avendaño


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Press / Media