Sonia Hirt, interim associate dean for academic affairs for Virginia Tech's College of Architecture and Urban Studies and associate professor of urban affairs and planning in the School of Public and International Affairs has received Honorable Mention for this year's Davis Center Book Prize for her book “Iron Curtains: Gates, Suburbs and Privatization of Space in the Post-Socialist City.”

The prize is sponsored by Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and is awarded annually by the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies for an outstanding monograph published on Russia, Eurasia, or Eastern Europe in anthropology, political science, sociology, or geography in the previous calendar year.

The jury that awarded the prize stated, “Sonia Hirt provides a thoroughly researched and brilliantly written study of post-socialist urbanism that is a must read for anyone interested in contemporary urban politics, and especially, questions related to the privatization of space.”

Hirt has been a faculty member in the Urban Affairs and Planning department at Virginia Tech since 2005. She holds a Ph.D. and master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture degree from the University of Architecture and Civil Engineering in Sofia, Bulgaria. She is also a graduate of the Executive Development Institute at Virginia Tech. 

She served as a visiting associate professor at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University in 2011, where she taught Urbanism in Europe and served as design critic in the Urban Planning Studio. 

Hirt has served as an associate editor for the Journal of Architectural and Planning Research and the Review of European Studies. She is also on the editorial boards of five other journals such as Urban Design International and the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies. She has 60 scholarly publications, which include three research monographs  and three edited compilations . She has an active program of funded research and has guest lectured in many universities in the United States and abroad, including the Bauhaus, Brown, Cornell, Vanderbilt, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Pennsylvania.