Alumni Spotlight: ADI KUNEVA

According to Vanity Fair, “the Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.” Inspired by the Proust Questionnaire, we have put together a set of 32 questions designed to reveal the true nature of 4CITIES alumni. Or to at least give us some insight into what they are up to and what makes them, as students of “the urban”, tick.

1. What is your name?
Adi Kuneva.

2. Which 4CITIES cohort were you a part of?
Cohort 09 (2016-2018). 

3. Where and when were you born?
The “Sugar factory” neighborhood in Sofia, Bulgaria. 

4. Where did you grow up?
In “Lozenets” (vineyard) neighborhood in Sofia. 

5. What did you study before 4CITIES?
Cultural studies.

6. Why did you join 4CITIES?
To understand better processes and contexts that make the places we live in. 

7. What is your fondest memory from 4CITIES?
The time spent with my fellow students and dear friends.

8. What was the most important thing you learned from 4CITIES?
People are active agents in making their surroundings.

9. What (if anything) have you studied since 4CITIES?
Currently doing a PhD back in the Cultural Studies department.

10. Where do you live now?

11. Where else would you like to live?
Perhaps close to the sea (any sea or ocean).

12. Which city have you never visited but would most like to?
So many…since several years I wanted to visit Kathmandu.

13. Where is your favorite non-urban place to be?
The seaside, or the mountains.

14. What kind of work are you currently doing?
I’m currently working on my PhD dissertation about the role of culture in urban planning.

15. What other work have you done since graduating?
Since I graduated I worked as a coordinator of an international theater festival, as a freelance researcher and also as an expert in a national fund for culture.

16. What job would you most like to attempt?
I would like to work more as a researcher in an interdisciplinary team.

17. What urban-related job does not exist but should?
Maybe it’s not a job, but a practice – “a day in someone’s shoes”, so we can build a more compassionate city.

18. What about cities do you enjoy the most?
The people.

19. What about cities do you enjoy the least?
Megalomaniacal attitudes.

20. What about cities do you find most interesting?
The stories of places and people.

21. What about cities do you think is over-emphasized or over-hyped?
The competition with other cities.

22. What about cities do you think is under-appreciated?
Mundane everyday life.

23. Why do you think urban studies is important?
For showing the complexity of how we live in urban space.

24. What is one myth about cities that you would like to bust?
That there is no nature in the city.

25. If you could time travel, what city and year would you visit?
I would visit my own city, but in the future (at least one century ahead).

26. What is your favorite imaginary city (from books, movies, etc.)?
Ankh Morpork (from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld).

27. What would you like real cities to learn or take from this imaginary city?
That it is not so imaginary as it seems.

28. What books, authors, or films would you recommend to someone who wants to better understand “the urban”?
The best way to understand it is to go out and observe, take part. The urban has many faces. One book that helped me understand better my city is “Iron Curtains” by Sonia Hirt.

29. What changes would make cities more livable?
More livable is a question also about who? Make the city friendly to children, to people with disabilities, combat social and cultural exclusion.

30. What are the most important changes cities must make in response to the sustainability crisis?
Degrowth – reduce energy and consumption. However, I think cities have different experiences and can’t all follow the same steps.

31. If you could change one thing about your city, what would it be?
To have a well-distributed network of open access free public libraries, which offer space for study/work/spent time for children and adults. It’s not a big revolution, but it’s one change I would do.

32. What question have I not asked that you would like to ask other 4CITIES alumni?
Do you still like cities?


You can find Adi on LinkedIn.