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Real Estate Futures: Understanding how disruptive trends will affect the (re)development and use of the urban built environment (Advert Reference: RDF19/EE/ABE/GREENHALGH)

  • Full or part time
    Prof Paul Greenhalgh
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 25, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Urban land and property 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 commons. 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 commercial real estate markets in UK towns and cities. The proposed studentship is split into three principal areas of investigation:

1. Determine the long term implications for UK commercial real estate of the spatial impact of disruptive change occurring in urban land and property markets
2. Real Estate market demand and supply: identification, collection, preparation, refinement and enhancement of datasets for analyses
3. Data analysis and modelling – develop, enhance and refine analytical techniques including spatial analysis using GIS to deliver robust results for dissemination

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. Relevant skills may include:

Data modelling
Urban/Spatial analysis
Data science techniques

However, the core requirement is for an enquiring mind with a passion for all things urban.

The principal supervisor for this project is Professor Paul Greenhalgh.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

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

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. RDF19/EE/ABE/GREENHALGH) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 25 January 2019
Start Date: 1 October 2019

Northumbria University is an equal opportunities provider and in welcoming applications for studentships from all sectors of the community we strongly encourage applications from women and under-represented groups.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Students Worldwide, and covers full fees and a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2018/19, this is £14,777 pa).


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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