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University of Bath URSA project: Nature Based Solutions to Promote Climate Justice in Economically Deprived Neighbourhoods.

   Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering

  ,  Sunday, January 29, 2023  Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

This project is one of a number that are in competition for funding from the University of Bath URSA competition.


Climate change impacts such as more frequent heatwaves compounded by hotter days and warmer nights will increase heat-related deaths ten-fold by 2050 in England and Wales. This increased risk of heat stress will be even more pronounced in cities, which are usually warmer than their rural surroundings, due to a phenomenon known as the Urban Heat Island (UHI). There is a growing awareness that Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) can contribute to mitigating the effects of the UHI while promoting biodiversity and enhancing citizens’ physical and psychological well-being. The incorporation of green or blue infrastructure into urban areas is usually considered to alleviate heat stress through cooling from evapotranspiration and the increased vertical transport of heat and air away from the urban surface. Those who live in deprivation and poverty are amongst the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and increasing urban heat. Deprived areas in cities are often typified by low quality housing and a lack of public amenities such as parks. The lack of green and blue space in deprived areas gives rise to a more pronounced UHI which can be as much as 10°C during hot weather events. People who live in economically deprived neighbourhoods are also typically more susceptible to adverse health outcomes, further exacerbating the risks to human health and well-being. 

The world is urbanising and in cities space is a premium, hence, desirable locations close to public amenities such as parks and other green and blue spaces, typically command a higher land value. There is the real risk that as the climate warms and the risk of extreme heat events intensifies the heat mitigation effects of green and blue space will be the preserve of the rich and the socioeconomic-wellbeing gap will widen.

This project will not only investigate the magnitude of this issue now and in the future but also consider how the implementation of NBS in the most deprived areas can mitigate against these health risks and promote climate equity in our cities. 

Candidate Requirements

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class or good Upper Second Class Honours degree (or the equivalent). A master’s level qualification would also be advantageous.

Non-UK applicants must meet our English language entry requirement by February 2023 in order to be considered for funding.

Enquiries and Applications

Informal enquiries are encouraged! Direct these to Dr Kershaw -

Please make a formal application should via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Architecture

When completing the form, please identify your application as being for the URSA studentship competition in Section 3 Finance (question 2) and quote the project title and lead supervisor’s name in the ‘Your research interests’ section. 

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found on our website.

Funding Eligibility

To be eligible for funding, you must qualify as a Home student. The eligibility criteria for Home fee status are detailed and too complex to be summarised here in full; however, as a general guide, the following applicants will normally qualify subject to meeting residency requirements:

  • UK nationals (living in the UK or EEA/Switzerland)
  • Irish nationals (living in the UK or EEA/Switzerland)
  • Those with Indefinite Leave to Remain
  • EU nationals with pre-settled or settled status in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme.

This is not intended to be an exhaustive list. Additional information may be found on our fee status guidance webpage, on the GOV.UK website and on the UKCISA website.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

We value a diverse research environment and strive to be an inclusive university, where difference is celebrated and respected. We encourage applications from under-represented groups. In particular, we are welcoming applications from candidates with Refugee, Asylum Seeker, or Humanitarian Protection in the UK to our Doctoral Sanctuary Studentship in Engineering and Design.

If you have circumstances that you feel we should be aware of that have affected your educational attainment, then please feel free to tell us about it in your application form. The best way to do this is a short paragraph at the end of your personal statement.

The Disability Service ensures that individuals with disabilities are provided the support that they need. If you state if your application that you have a disability, the Disability Service will contact you as part of this process to discuss your needs.

Keywords: Built Environment; Climate Science; Environmental Engineering; Environmental Geography; Environmental Health; Environmental Physics; Human Geography; Socio Economics; Urban Geography; Urban Planning

Funding Notes

Candidates may be considered for a University of Bath (URSA) studentship tenable for 3.5 years. Funding covers tuition fees at the ‘Home’ rate, a stipend (£17,668 p/a in 2022/23) and a £1000/annum training budget.
As URSA studentships only cover the ‘Home’ tuition fee rate, Overseas students are not eligible to apply. Are you an Outstanding Overseas student (e.g. with a UK Masters Distinction or international equivalent) who is interested in this project? If so, please contact the intended supervisor in the first instance, to discuss the possibility of applying for additional funding.

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