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An investigation of the impact of disruption on occupiers and landlords in Commercial Real Estate Markets (Advert Ref: SF19/EE/ABE/GREENHALGH)

Faculty of Engineering and Environment

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Prof Paul Greenhalgh , Dr K Muldoon-Smith Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Commercial real estate markets are increasingly prone to dynamic and disruptive change, the drivers of which include technological, social, environmental and employment practices. Consequently, businesses and their employees, are demanding more innovative and agile working environments. Yet, some developers continue to build highly specified buildings in urban areas with little regard for changing occupier requirements or their long term, sometimes detrimental, impact on the urban fabric. To compound this situation, there is paucity of understanding about how, increasingly empowered, building occupiers/tenants are interacting with urban real estate stock. This project seeks to make use of big data to address this deficit, to offer insights to how demand for business premises is changing and inform urban development policy and planning by metropolitan authorities and other bodies.

This studentship seeks to investigate how disruptive trends are affecting urban commercial real estate markets to fundamentally determine the long term implications for commercial property of the spatial impact of disruptive change occurring in commercial real estate markets.

This PhD studentship should be of interest to those who are passionate about sustainable urban development, more sustainable and resilient town and city centres, and those energised by using data to reveal how those who construct the urban built environment interact with those who use it.

This project is supervised by Professor Paul Greenhalgh.

Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF19/EE/ABE/GREENHALGH) will not be considered.

Start Date: 1 March 2020 or 1 October 2020

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers.

Funding Notes

This is an unfunded research project.


Adebayo, A., Greenhalgh, P. and Muldoon-Smith K. (2019) Investigating retail space performance through configuration of consumer movement: a comparison of York and Leeds. Proceedings of the 12th Space Syntax Symposium. Beijng, China , July 2019
Muldoon-Smith and Greenhalgh, P (2019) Suspect foundations: developing an understanding of climate-related stranded assets in the global real estate sector. Energy Research & Social Science V54 pp60-67
Muldoon-Smith, K. & Greenhalgh, P. (2016) Greasing the wheels or a spanner in the works: permitting the adaptive re-use of redundant office buildings in to residential use in England, Planning Theory and Practice, 17(2), 175-191.
Thompson, E, Greenhalgh, P, Muldoon-Smith, K and Charlton, J. (2016) Planners in the future city: using city information modelling to support planners as market actors, Urban Planning, 1(1), 79-94 (Inaugural Edition).
Muldoon-Smith, K & Greenhalgh, P. (2015) Passing the buck without the bucks: some reflections on fiscal decentralisation and the Business Rate Retention Scheme in England, Local Economy, 30(6), 609–626.
Muldoon-Smith K, Greenhalgh, P., Conroy-Dalton, R. & Alvanides, S. (2015) Urban Transactions: Investigating the Relationship between Spatial Preference and Spatial Configuration in the City of Leeds. 10thSpace Syntax Symposium, University of Central London, 12-17 July 2015

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