Milja Lindberg - WiTLAB research alumna

Meet Milja, a Finnish-Canadian architect and independent researcher from the early years of WiTLAB’s research group.
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Surround yourself with people who are passionate about the same topics as you are, join or build a network of people, and challenge yourself!

Milja Lindberg

Milja graduated from Aalto University in 2014. In her work, she is committed to understanding how architecture can create and enhance the resilience of people, communities and cities. She finds inspiration in social capital and aims to design environments for meaningful human interaction.

At Aalto University Milja did her thesis on post natural disaster reconstruction and disaster preparedness strategies. The thesis concludes by stating that architects can have a long-lasting positive impact on a community and build resiliency over time by addressing directly the underlying causes of vulnerability to natural disasters – that is poverty and the lack of social capital, education and equality. Read more about Milja’s thesis here.

After graduating from Aalto University, she shared the 1st prize in the From Border to Home competition and got to display her work at the 2016 Venice Biennale. She continued to work in research for a year with the help of an Askon Säätiö grant studying transitional housing and shelters. Later on, she continued to work as a project architect for a women and children’s shelter and transitional housing project in Canada which was completed in the spring of 2022.

  • What inspired you to write your thesis about post natural disaster reconstruction and disaster preparedness strategies?

As I was preparing to start work on my thesis, Typhoon Yolanda had just hit the Philippines causing major destruction and loss of lives. After intensive media broadcasts for a few weeks regarding the disaster all news from the area started to dwindle and finally stopped. I wanted to understand what happens in the months and years that follow a natural disaster as well as what we as architects can do in order to help mitigate the impacts of natural disasters.

  • How has being part of WiTLAB influenced your independent research and your work with shelter and transitional housing?

Being surrounded by such incredible, brilliant, and caring people who support and push you forward has been a resource I've been able to draw inspiration and energy from in my career.

  • What advice would you give to students who are interested in doing independent research after graduating?

Hold on to your thirst for learning after graduating and incorporate research into your life whether it is independent research or work on building projects in your local or global community. Surround yourself with people who are passionate about the same topics as you are, join or build a network of people, and challenge yourself!

Thank you Milja, for sharing your inspiring story!

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