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  Peripherocene: The Architecture of Peripheries in the Era of the Anthropocene (SF23/EE/ABE/MCEWAN)

   Faculty of Engineering and Environment

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  Dr Cameron McEwan, Prof R Dalton  No more applications being accepted  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

This project investigates the intersection of rapid peripheral urbanisation and the profound impact of the climate crisis. Uneven urban expansion into continuous peripheries has emerged as a dominant form of urbanisation. The periphery is where the ecology of the planet is most demonstrably in crisis, where our settlement patterns are changing the climate, while the climate is pushing back to change our settlements. It has consequences for how we live together, for social and spatial justice, and how to understand the urban condition today. It may be that the periphery is where we can make a difference. This research is interested in peripheries as human-made artefacts, entangled in issues of labour, nature, economy, representations, discourses, and given form by the architecture of the periphery. Central questions include: What is the corollary between the Anthropocene and the production of peripheral urban space? What are the conceptual frameworks, spatial typologies, and critical genealogies needed to understand the periphery under the pressure of the Anthropocene?

Candidates are invited to propose research which may address the following overlapping themes and questions:

-         Peripheral Imaginary, What are the principle spatial, social, economic, and political ideas or ideals ascribed to peripheries; and how might we think the periphery differently? What are the narratives of love and loathing of the periphery? How is the imaginary manifest in the territorial structure and typological order of peripheries?

-         Typologies of the Anthropocene, What are the formal, typological, and spatial models of peripheries, their landscapes, buildings, infrastructures, and geotechnics? What are the genealogies of figures, projects, and “low” types of the periphery that might help to make sense of the urban periphery in the time of the Anthropocene? 

-         Transgressive Urbanism, How are peripheries reconfigured, subverted, disturbed, or transgressed by imagination, infrastructures, institutions, knowledge, commons, energy, labour, monuments, nature, otherness, property, and their entanglements under the pressure of the Anthropocene?

On one hand, this research is situated in architectural theory and design research where the making of, and close-reading of, drawings, plans, maps, and allied creative practice-based knowledge will be foregrounded. On the other hand, it seeks to bring together different areas of thought and practice, including the environmental humanities, political theory, critical philosophy, and urban studies, taking advantage of the stimulating crossovers between text and image, drawing and writing, worldviews and methodologies that this offers. 

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Eligibility requirements:

·        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.

·        Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

This opportunity is open to home and international students. To be classed as a Home student, candidates must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
  • have settled status, or
  • have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • have indefinite leave to remain or enter.

If a candidate does not meet any of the criteria above, they would be classed as an international student.

Applicants will need to be in the UK and fully enrolled before stipend payments can commence and be aware of the following additional costs that may be incurred, as these are not covered by the studentship.

·           Immigration Health Surcharge

·           If you need to apply for a Student Visa to enter the UK, please refer to It is important that you read this information carefully as it is your responsibility to ensure that you hold the correct funds required for your visa application, otherwise your visa may be refused.

·           Costs associated with English Language requirements which may be required for students not having completed a first degree in English, will not be paid by the University.

For further details and to apply, visit: 

For applications to be considered for interview, please include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), and include the advert reference (e.g. SF23/EE…).

Closing date: Wednesday 25 October 2023

Start Date: 1 March 2024 or 1 October 2024

Northumbria University is committed to creating an inclusive culture where we take pride in, and value, the diversity of our postgraduate research students. We encourage and welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds a bronze Athena Swan award in recognition of our commitment to advancing gender equality, we are a Disability Confident Leader, a member of the Race Equality Charter and are participating in the Stonewall Diversity Champion Programme. We also hold the HR Excellence in Research award for implementing the concordat supporting the career Development of Researchers and are members of the Euraxess initiative to deliver information and support to professional researchers.

Architecture, Building & Planning (3) Creative Arts & Design (9) Geography (17) History & Archaeology (19) Politics & Government (30)

Funding Notes

This research project is open to students who can self-fund their studies. Tuition fee rates can be found at


Cameron McEwan, Analogical City (California, punctum, 2023);
Cameron McEwan, “Architectural Pedagogy for the Anthropocene: Theory, Critique and Typological Urbanism,” Archnet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, no. Preprint (2023): 1–18;
Cameron McEwan, “Architectural Theory, Multitude, and the Anthropocene,” Dialectic: Journal of the School of Architecture at the University of Utah 10 (2022): 25–36; Ruth Conroy-Dalton and Nick Dalton, “An American Prototopia: or Peachtree city as an inadvertent, sustainable solution to urban sprawl,” 2005;
Ruth Conroy-Dalton, “Social exclusion and transportation in Peachtree City, Georgia,” Progress in Planning, 67(3) (2007): 264-286;
Ruth Conroy-Dalton and Nick Dalton, “A spatial signature of sprawl: or the proportion and distribution of linear networkcircuits,” 2005;

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Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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