Paula Bialski

HafenCity University Hamburg (HCU)
Dr. Paula Bialski – Urban Sociology

Paula Bialski is a Polish-Canadian sociologist who received her doctoral degree from the Department of Sociology at Lancaster University, working with John Urry and  Monika Buscher. She gains her inspiration from the experiences she’s lived through, friends, family, and strangers. Her main interests include mobility, tourism, friendship and social networking.

After being based in the English countryside, she moved back to Warsaw to work at the Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities as well as with Dominik Batorski at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modelling, working on publishing research related to social networking practices and social capital.

She joined the Low Budget Urbanity team in October 2012, taking on the task of hitchhiking, couchsurfing, and stalking strangers down at train stations in order to uncover the low-cost transport issues inherent in inter-city travel. She also lectures about mobilities studies and social relationships at the Polish Academy of Sciences.


  • 2012. Online to Offline Social Networking: Contextualizing social networking today through Couchsurfing, in CouchSurfing®: Tourism, Cosmopolitanism and Computer Mediated Hospitality in the Early 21st Century. edited by Sonja Buchberger and David Piccard. London: Ashgate
  • 2012. Technologies of Hospitality: How Planned Encounters Develop Between Strangers. Hospitality & Society 1:3
  • 2012. Becoming Intimately Mobile. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.
  • 2010. (with Gill, N.) New friends in new places: Network formation during the migration process among poles in the UK. Geoforum 42:2, 2011 (with Batorski, D.)
  • 2009.”From Online Familiarity to Offline Trust: How a virtual community creates familiarity and trust between strangers ” in Social Computing and Virtual Communities edited by P. Zaphiris and C. S. Ang. Boca Raton: Chapman & Hall
  • 2008. Intimate Tourism: Enquete dans un reseau d’hospitalite. Limoges: Solilane.