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Manchester Urban Institute

Manchester Urban Institute dual-awards with the University of Melbourne

Up to five fully-funded studentships are now available for applications to a defined list of urban projects.

Photograph of the Melbourne skyline at night

The Manchester Urban Institute is delighted to announce up to five fully-funded studentships as part of the University of Manchester’s and the University of Melbourne’s Global Doctoral Research Network (GOLDEN).

GOLDEN is a dual-award programme that offers candidates the opportunity to apply for a project with a strong supervisory team both in Manchester and in Melbourne. A dual award is a PhD programme which leads to separate awards from two partner institutions. PhD candidates will be registered at both Manchester and Melbourne and must complete all of the requirements of the PhD programme in both the home and partner university.

PhD candidates will begin their PhD in Manchester and will then spend at least 12 months in Melbourne. The amount of time spent at Manchester and Melbourne will be dependent upon the project and candidates will work with their supervisory team in the first year to set out the structure of the project.

PhD candidates on a dual-award programme can experience research at two quality institutions and applying for a dual-award programme will support you to develop a global perspective and will open the door to new job opportunities.

Funding

You will spend at least 12 months at each institution and will receive a dual PhD at the end of the 3.5-year programme.

Funding for the programme will include tuition fees, an annual stipend at the minimum Research Councils UK rate (around 15,000 for 2019/20), a research training grant and student travel to Melbourne.

The PhD research projects

The Manchester Urban Institute is delighted to announce up to five fully-funded studentships as part of the University of Manchester and the University of Melbournes Global Doctoral Research Network (GOLDEN).

GOLDEN is a dual-award programme that offers candidates the opportunity to apply for a project with a strong supervisory team both in Manchester and in Melbourne.  A dual award is a PhD programme which leads to separate awards from two partner institutions. PhD candidates will be registered at both Manchester and Melbourne and must complete all of the requirements of the PhD programme in both the home and partner university.

PhD candidates will begin their PhD in Manchester and will then spend at least 12 months in Melbourne. The amount of time spent at Manchester and Melbourne will be dependent upon the project and candidates will work with their supervisory team in the first year to set out the structure of the project.

 

PhD candidates on a dual-award programme can experience research at two quality institutions and applying for a dual-award programme will support you to develop a global perspective and will open the door to new job opportunities. 

Fire and flood: mapping the dynamics of innovation in building climate resilience for cities

As ‘climate emergencies’ emerge in different parts of the world, the implications for cities and regions are highly problematic. Climate change adaptation is now accepted for the basic form of ‘defensive resilience’. Beyond that lies a more challenging ‘transformative resilience’, where whole cities may need to relocate, or whole regions to rethink their landscape. Here the agenda is wide open, for new types of governance and institutions, finance and markets, infrastructure and urban technology, and social / cultural change. Several approaches have emerged to explore, analyse, and mobilize knowledge into action. Ecological complexity thinking explores the fundamentals of resilience (Waltner-Toews et al 2009): transition theory looks at the processes of structural change (Turnheim et al 2015). Behind this is the evolutionary strand of innovation studies and its regional dimension, exploring connections between innovation and transition processes. (Schot & Steinmueller 2017): and a co-evolutionary perspective on ‘path-inter-dependencies’ and ‘transversalities’ (Cooke 2015). Meanwhile urban innovation is emerging as a practice-theory of ‘living labs’, urban experimentation, and multi-level deliberative governance (Voytenko et al 2015). Such thinking can now be conceptualized as an emergence of ‘collective intelligence’ in urban and regional systems, i.e. the capacity for collaborative learning and thinking, with practical application to foresight and strategic planning (Ravetz & Miles 2016).

This research aims to bring these theoretical insights into an analysis of practice in a small number of case studies on opposite sides of the world. It asks critical questions on the policy responses to ‘climate emergencies’, both in formal international networks such as ‘100 Resilient Cities’, and other more grass-roots initiatives. It enquires into the fundamental dynamics of urban-regional innovation for policy, markets, finance, infrastructure and public services: and in particular the policy mechanisms of foresight and strategic planning, valuation and evaluation. It will use both analytic and creative-deliberative methods to explore the forward pathways, towards a ‘collective resilience intelligence’ in key sectors for the urban-regional resilience agenda.

The project will draw on a multi-national perspective. It will examine closely the 100 RC initiatives (now in their final phase) in Manchester and Melbourne, alongside other urban initiatives in Europe and the Asia-Pacific (likely to include Naples and Bangkok). It will benefit from existing clusters, ongoing research and research-policy communities in both cities. The result will bring topical insights for scholarship, and offer practical ways forward for policy and governance.

Principal investigator at Manchester: Joe Ravetz
Principal investigator at Melbourne: Kathryn Davidson

For more details, email joe.ravetz@manchester.ac.uk (Lead supervisor)

Making up the global city: the financing and governing of urban infrastructural futures

Many cities around the world are struggling with how to finance and to govern their transport infrastructure. Faced with a range of economic, environmental, political and social challenges, a growing numbers of learning from each other, experimenting with a range of models. For cities in the most industrialized countries this involves both existing and new infrastructure. Moreover, the value of infrastructure is increasingly understood not just in terms of the successful movement of a city’s population. Rather, there is a sense for a city to be understood as global it must have a certain set of transport infrastructures. That is, transport infrastructure is used by those who govern cities to project them into the world economy and to position them to capture and retain global capital flows. At the same time, cities have also sought to use transport infrastructure to address issues of inequalities and social exclusion, aspiring to produce a more inclusive and just city.

This project compares how Manchester and Melbourne are approaching the financing and governing of their transport infrastructures to balance the competing demands that are being placed on them.

Principal investigator at Manchester: Kevin Ward
Principal investigator at Melbourne: Michele Acuto

For more details, email kevin.ward@manchester.ac.uk (Lead supervisor)

Integrating urban sustainability and digital platforms?

Comparing strategic urban responses and implications in Greater Manchester and Greater Melbourne.

Applications are sought for a 3.5 year PhD studentship that critically addresses the question: Are digital platforms a threat or a complement to urban sustainability strategies?

Leading to a joint award of the Universities of Manchester and Melbourne, the successful applicant will undertake research at the interface of urban studies and innovation studies that synthesises two debates: first, debates around visions of future sustainable cities and how these are incorporated in to urban strategies and policy; and second, the emergence of digital platforms as a new business model and their intervention into systems of provision at urban scale.

The PhD will develop rich contextual understanding of how digital platforms contribute to rethinking what is meant by urban sustainability. It will undertake comparative research on this issue across two urban contexts (Greater Manchester and Greater Melbourne). This will be done via in-depth case studies, reliant on qualitative data, including that drawn from documentary analysis and key informant interviews.

The successful candidate will be supervised by Dr Mike Hodson and Professor Andrew McMeekin at the University of Manchester and Professor Brendan Gleeson at the University of Melbourne, will be based in the Sustainable Consumption Institute, and will also be a member of the IMP Division of the Alliance Manchester Business School. They will spend a minimum of 12 months in Melbourne at the Institute for Sustainable Societies.

Principal investigator at Manchester: Michael Hodson
Principal investigator at Melbourne: Brendan Gleeson

Relevant PhD programme: PhD Business and Management

For more details, email michael.hodson@manchester.ac.uk (Lead supervisor)

Assess city-wide socio-spatial and environmental impacts of autonomous vehicles

Developing an integrated modelling framework to assess city-wide socio-spatial and environmental impacts of autonomous vehicles.

Autonomous vehicles or self-driving cars are increasingly becoming part of the portfolio of advanced technologies that will shape transport and mobility and transform urban built environments. Like transport innovations in the past, this new form of transportation will not only change the way we travel and interact in cities, but it will also re-shape existing built environments and the supporting infrastructure, and dictate how we design and build new towns and cities. Autonomous vehicles will also have implications for transport-related energy consumption, land use (e.g. road networks and parking), pollution, climate change, air quality and overall public health outcomes in cities of tomorrow. It is therefore critical to examine these socio-spatial and environmental impacts of autonomous vehicles. In doing so, an approach that transcends siloed thinking by embracing an integrated and complex systems perspective is particularly relevant.

The objective of this PhD research, is to develop and apply an integrated visioning and decision support framework to understand the city-wide socio-spatial and environmental impacts of the diffusions of autonomous vehicles. The successful PhD candidate will be expected to integrate insights from systems dynamics theory and urban transport governance to address the following research questions: 

  1. What scenarios of adoption, diffusion and modes of employment of autonomous vehicles are possible and under what conditions?
  2. What will the socio-spatial and environmental impacts be of the adoption and diffusion scenarios of autonomous vehicles for the Manchester and Melbourne city-regions?
  3. What are the implications of the scenarios of impact for urban transport and mobility governance? 

Manchester and Melbourne city-regions will be used as case study areas for this research. Relevant empirical work and model development and applications will be undertaken with these contexts under a joint supervision arrangement involving academics at The University of Manchester and the University of Melbourne.

Principal investigator at Manchester: Richard Kingston
Principal investigator at Melbourne: Crystal Legacy

For more details, email richard.kingston@manchester.ac.uk (Lead supervisor)

Transportation and housing market interactions in cities

Transportation and housing market interactions in cities: infrastructure changes and urban form, housing needs and policy implications.

The nexus between transport infrastructure demand and housing needs is fraught with significant challenges. As increasing land development is made possible by infrastructure improvements, the dynamics for residential developments change with both short and longer terms implications. The first aim of the proposed PhD is to identify the indirect value of transportation infrastructure reflected in property market appreciation. This can be achieved by integrating the recent innovations in house price modelling and further developing the methodological framework. The second aim of PhD research is to gain insights on the policy implications of transport improvement by analysing their long term effects and explicitly addressing the aspects of affordability, population dynamics, and inflection points of capacity constraints. This can be achieved by employing machine learning, simulations, and/or small area city wide panel models.

The candidate will have a solid background in urban analytics, urban/regional/ transport /behavioural economics, applied econometrics, planning, or real estate. Excellent skills in statistical/econometric analysis is a requirement.

Principal investigator at Manchester: Sotirios Thanos
Principal investigator at Melbourne: Gideon Aschwanden

For more details, email sotirios.thanos@manchester.ac.uk (Lead supervisor)