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Towards ‘Citizen-centric’ Design-led Resilience in Future Cities

Project Description

In the UK, current housing delivery models focus on a large number of new residential (or mixed-use housing & commercial) quarters in post-industrial urban sites (e.g. Thames Gateway) and higher-density, mixed-use re-development of other underused sites (e.g. Kings Cross). Such developments typically aim to improve living conditions for deprived and marginalised communities, and to facilitate their integration into the market economy through associated new employment opportunities in the new commercial premises.

However, gentrification and/or privatised public spaces have commonly been the outcomes (Carmona, 2009; Lees, Shin & Lopez-Morales, 2016) and several commentators have highlighted the risk of new housing recreating the same unintended consequences. A problem arises from new neighbourhoods being less well-integrated at two levels of scale: relations with their local context, as well as in generating less than ideal occupant relations within the developments.

There are now calls for forms of housing that promote citizen-centric approaches to urban resilience and social inclusion through design parameters like scale, degree of confinement or openness, and creating opportunities for community/social interaction. The notion of a citizen-friendly ‘future city’ is an antidote to problematic ideas of smart cities based solely on big-data-based, ‘city dashboards’.

This project will analyse citizen-centric design through the spatial organisation of selected housing developments, and the lived patterns of interaction, occupation and use that emerge within those configurations.

During this project, the postgraduate researcher will analyse housing forms in community-led schemes (e.g. the Eldonians, Liverpool; Coin Street, London South Bank; Marmalade Lane, Cambridge) and their influence on user interaction patterns and practices, contributing to our understanding of the interactions between design, social organization and the built environment.

Candidate requirements

Applications are invited from UK/EU nationals only. Applicants are expected to hold, or about to obtain, a minimum upper second-class undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a cognate discipline. A Masters degree in a relevant subject is desirable.


You can apply via our landing page We will review all applications after the submission deadline of 9 February. Applications missing the project reference number will be rejected as will applications for multiple studentships.

If you have any queries relating to the application process or the terms and conditions of the studentships, please contact Becky Kraszewski on 01245 684920, or email .

Documentation required

You will also need the following documents available electronically to upload them to the application portal (we can accept files in pdf, jpeg or Word format):

1) Certificates and transcripts from your Bachelor and Masters degrees, (if applicable)
2) Your personal statement explaining your suitability for the project
3) Passport and visa (if applicable)
4) English Language qualifications (if applicable)
5) Curriculum Vitae

Funding Notes

The successful applicant for this project will receive a Vice Chancellor’s studentship awards which covers Home/EU tuition fees and provides a UKRI equivalent minimum annual stipend for three years. The award is subject to the successful candidate meeting the studentship Terms and conditions.

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