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  Incentive-based Regeneration of Traditional Blocks in China: FAR Incentives for Quality and Equity

   Urban Planning and Design

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  Dr Y Xu, Prof A Lord  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


Principal supervisor: Dr. Yunqing Xu (Department of Urban Planning and Design, XJTLU)

Co-supervisor: Professor Alex Lord (Department of Geography and Planning, UoL)

External Co-supervisor: Dr. Sheng Zhong

Project Description

Urban regeneration is in a critical moment to explore a new mechanism with both high quality and effective implementation. The recent national requirements towards a more scientific combination of “retaining, retrofitting and demolishing”, combined with the increasing unsustainability of government direct investment, pushes the need to improve both governance capacity and enterprise operation capacity, so as to empower government and leverage market contribution to quality public goods via market-based public interventions and incentives. This research aims to examine influential factors and barriers for low-cost and enforceable planning incentives for regeneration of traditional blocks, often lack public funds and investment interests despite being more malleable in function and space changes. It further puts forward institutional rearrangements and technological advancement contributing to the balance of quality and equity in Chinese context. It employs theories and approaches of institutional analysis and transaction costs, as well as conducts case studies with visualization on abstract cause-effects, this research conceptualizes the suitability, efficacy and limitations of FAR incentives, and institutions and designs for effective motivation, viability evaluation and quality management.

This studentship involves three principal areas of investigation:

  • Conceptualise the key features of traditional blocks and the specific institutional and market barriers for effective urban regeneration of quality and vitality.
  • Examine the transaction costs, enforcement conditions, local-adapted innovations and outcomes of FAR incentives towards greater motivation, quality and equity.
  • Identify the essential mechanism designs to enable incentive-based urban regeneration of traditional blocks in China.

For more information about doctoral scholarship and PhD programme at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU): Please visit:


The student will be awarded a PhD degree from the University of Liverpool (UK) upon successful completion of the program.

How to Apply:

Interested applicants are advised to email [Email Address Removed] (XJTLU principal supervisor’s email address) the following documents for initial review and assessment (please put the project title in the subject line).

  • CV
  • Two reference letters with company/university letterhead
  • Personal statement outlining your interest in the position
  • Proof of English language proficiency (an IELTS score of 6.5 or above)
  • Verified school transcripts in both Chinese and English (for international students, only the English version is required)
  • Verified certificates of education qualifications in both Chinese and English (for international students, only the English version is required)
  • PDF copy of Master Degree dissertation (or an equivalent writing sample) and examiners reports available

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Dr. Yunqing Xu ([Email Address Removed]), whose personal profile is linked below,

Architecture, Building & Planning (3) Economics (10) Politics & Government (30)

Funding Notes

The PhD studentship is available for three years subject to satisfactory progress by the student. The award covers tuition fees for three years (currently equivalent to RMB 80,000 per annum) and provides a monthly stipend of 5,000 RMB as a contribution to living expenses. It also provides up to RMB 16,500 to allow participation at international conferences during the period of the award. It is a condition of the award that holders of XJTLU PhD scholarships carry out 300-500 hours of teaching assistance work per year.
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