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Re-imagining the City: Urban Foresight and City Visions

Project Description

In the broad context of urban studies there is a growing appreciation amongst policy-makers and decision-makers that foresight, or futures, studies offer a way of helping navigate to a sustainable future at a variety of scales. This is clearly evidenced by the growth of ‘territorial foresight’ studies in the EU (Guell, 2009; EU, 2011) and, within the UK and elsewhere, a growing focus on the ‘future of cities’ agenda (Government Office of Science, 2016). In parallel with this, many cities in the UK and internationally have developed visions (or shared and desirable expectations) of the future. These visions have been developed through a variety of lenses, from ‘green’ to ‘liveable’ to ‘healthy’, and from ‘smart’ to ‘sustainable’. Some visions have emerged informally through a set of fragmented or bottom up ‘experiments’ or assemblages, whereas other visions have used, or are using, more formal participatory and performative techniques to develop the city vision. These city visions frequently include elements relating to climate change, economy, place, people and environment. But how have these visions been constructed? What methodologies have been used? What are the institutional and participatory dynamics that have been employed? Who leads and owns the development of such visions? What are the implications for urban design, urban planning and construction/development at city level, and how successful are these visions in mobilising city-wide and scaled up actions to move to a sustainable future? This PhD studentship is designed to critically review such visions and develop a conceptual framework for an improved understanding of how urban foresight methods can help formulate successful city visions. Drawing on elements from within futures studies, and urban design, construction and urban planning disciplines, the studentship aims to use case studies and mixed methods to identify the range of tools being used to create and implement city visions. The research, which is likely to be both action-based and reflexive, will draw on UK and international case studies, and will have the opportunity to link with ongoing work on the Smart and Sustainable Reading 2050 project (in partnership with Reading UK CIC and Barton Willmore; http://www.reading2050.co.uk).

Funding Notes

The successful candidate should have, or expect to have, an Honours Degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in a built environment discipline (including construction, architecture, surveying or planning) or geography, or a cognate discipline.
Essential Background: need to have a basic understanding of urban studies. Knowledge of: Statistics and futures studies.

How good is research at University of Reading in Architecture, Built Environment and Planning?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.90

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

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