Back to: Department of Geography and Planning

Andreas Siantos

''Connecting urban cycling to transport policy and urban design guidance - Linking national guidance to local practice and implementation in U.K. cities' 
Supervisors: Dr Alex Nurse, Dr Richard Dunning
Description: The thesis explores the concept of ‘urban cycling’ and sets out three key strategic aims: a) To examine how cities engage with transport policy and urban design guidance; b) To identify the degree to which it informs the governance of urban transportation frameworks, and ultimately; c) To understand how U.K. cities can succeed in establish cycling as a viable and desirable mode in the matrix of everyday urban life, in response to the needs of urban dwellers. A thorough biaxial case study analysis of cycling in U.K. cities, partly informed by inputs from high-profile professionals which hold key positions within national and local bodies of governance, exposes the inter-relational dynamics at play between the thesis' main thematic concepts and highlights the limitations of existing policy and governance frameworks in addressing the needs for sustainable urban transportation in the current age. The thesis ultimately aims at the development of a policy toolkit which provides clear guidance for cities, rooted on their specific context, in order to facilitate and enhance their decision-making mechanisms and processes. Email Andreas


Andrew K Palmer

'Motivations to visit green and natural spaces– how perceptions of ‘quality’ vary across different communities.' 
Supervisors: Dr Mark Riley (Primary), Dr Sarah Clement (University of Western Australia), Dr Karl Evans (University of Sheffield), Prof Laurence Jones (UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology), Dr Beth Brockett (Natural England)
Description: The numerous benefits derived from contact with the natural environment are well documented. However, certain communities (e.g., who face multiple deprivations or who belong to ethnic minorities) have been shown to visit natural spaces less often and have poorer health outcomes. Little is known about how individual perceptions of quality vary across different communities and what enables or constrains visitation to green and natural spaces. This research project partners with Natural England to address these cleavages by adopting a qualitative, user-centred approach to provide an in-depth understanding of how perceptions of quality vary across disadvantaged groups. These findings will inform the advancement of targeted strategies to close inequity gaps between different population segments. - Email Andrew


Bayan Shabeeb

'Environmental impact assessment and management of produced water in the southern Iraqi oil fields.' 
Supervisors: Prof. Thomas Fischer, Dr Urmila Jha Thakur
Description: - This study aims to establish how the produced water in oil fields is taken into account in planning applications of oil extraction activities with a particular focus on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and to identify how planning, EIA and management practices for southern Iraqi oil fields can be improved in order to become more environmentally sustainable. Email Bayan


Belinda Aulia

'Metropolitan Growth Management: Understanding the Challenge of Controlling and Directing Urban Growth within Metropolitan Areas' 
Supervisors: Dr Sebastian Dembski, Prof. David Shaw, Prof. John Sturzaker (University of Hertfordshire)
Description: The context of my study is managing urban growth within metropolitan areas through multi-level governance in a recently decentralised planning system. Metropolitan areas with various local institutional frameworks (in managing development) require a prescription for fulfilling regional planning aims to preserve agricultural land in suburban areas without jeopardising the spirit of decentralisation. Therefore, the aim of this study is to figure out why local institutional frameworks are failing to prevent urban sprawl and to propose an intergovernmental framework for managing metropolitan growth by understanding the difficulties in driving collective action. - Email Belinda


Charlie Cullen

'De-Naturalising Failure: a Foucauldian Archaeology of the Southgate Estate' 
ESRC Studentship
Supervisors: Dr Gareth Abrahams and Dr Olivier Sykes
Description: Completed in 1978 at the heart of Runcorn New Town, the Southgate estate was built to provide improved living conditions for people from across Merseyside. The estate’s demolition began just 12 years later in 1990, prompting questions over what ‘went wrong’ with this architecturally and socially ambitious project. In order to problematise the dominant narrative of this estate’s demolition as inevitable and its failure absolute, this research utilises a methodology inspired by Michel Foucault’s archaeological works, which were based on the ontological principle that the ways in which we think and behave are largely defined by contingent factors that are specific to a given time and place. In action, this means unearthing the extensive body of archival material that survives Southgate, to reveal how shifts in knowledge and practice allowed this housing scheme to be thought up, realised and razed in such an acute time period. - Email Charlie


Christopher Russell

'The effects of high-speed rail on innovation and developing inter-connected high-tech science landscape in Taiwan' 
Supervisors: Dr Chia-Lin Chen, Dr Chuan-Yuan Wong (NTHU), Dr Olivier Sykes, Dr Chuan-Kai Li (NTHU)
Description: This PhD research project aims to examine the impacts of high-speed rail on facilitating innovation, and delve into the phenomenal clustering of knowledge spill-overs across high-tech and knowledge-intensive activities and actors in Taiwan. Partly based in Hsinchu, Taiwan, on a dual-PhD programme with NTHU, this project looks to provide a new perspective to the high-speed rail debate, and identify whether investment in high-speed infrastructure offers innovative gains within firms. - Email Christopher


Claudia Akolam

'Women Empowerment and Environmental Impact Assessment in Ghana'
Supervisors: Dr Urmila Jha-Thakur, Dr Supriya Garikipati
Description: Gender inequality is a global issue, especially in developing countries where there are significant gaps between men and women in almost all aspects of life. Women are discriminated against in several ways including environmental decision-making. Although women play vital environmental protection roles; research suggests that women are more concerned about the environment than men but lacks influence and inputs in environmental decision-making processes including Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). This research aims to evaluate EIA public participation in Ghana with focus on women’s role and arrive at measures to build their capacities for effective contributions within EIA in the gold mining sector. Email Claudia


Dipita Hossain

'Exploring the role of existing Environmental impact Assessment (EIA) system in delivering environmental sustainability within the textile industry of Bangladesh.' 
Supervisors: Dr. Urmila Jha-Thakur, Prof. Thomas Fischer
Description: Textile and apparel industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world where Bangladesh is one of the top suppliers of apparel in global market. Textile units can cause serious environmental impacts through emissions to environment, disposal of toxic waste and consumption of resources like water, energy, and harmful chemicals. Such pollution affects human health, aquatic life and bio-diversity degrading standard environmental parameters.  Especially in developing countries with lack of stringent environmental rules and less access to resource, capacity or technology this industry is contributing towards major environmental problems, This research intends to explore if existing EIA system in Bangladesh is adequate to deliver sustainability for this industry. - Email Dipita


Farida Khuril Maula

'The Challenge of Developing Climate Resilience in Informal Settlements in Indonesia through Community Involvement'
ESRC Studentship
Supervisors: Dr Sebastian Dembski, Dr Thomas Moore
Description: Climate change poses a significant challenge to those living in informal settlements. Among the most challenging aspects of adaptation is building resilience. Yet, informal settlements have emerged outside the formal planning system and the regulations intended to ensure safe and resilient structures, settlements, and systems. How it is possible to build climate resilience for those living outside the formal systems remains a significant challenge for the local government. My research will be about exploring the potential of community involvement to build climate resilience in informal settlements located in Indonesia. Email Farida


Hafi Munirwan

'The Enforcement Policy of Street Vendors in Urban Space and the Relocation Practice in Indonesia' 
Supervisors: Dr Sebastian Dembski, Dr Richard Dunning
Description: Informality, Informality,  referring to the unplanned and unregulated activity, has long become an integral part of cities in the Global South. In the modern city, street vendors as a form of urban informality, is considered illegal and problematic by the authority, with the authority responding to such practice with the policy of eviction. However, the recognition of democracy, citizens' right to the city, and informal economies contribution toward urban economies, has led to the changing of policy towards street vendors in Indonesia, from the policy of eviction to the policy of enforcement, with the local authority starting to implement relocation strategy. With the authority shifting the policy, the policy implementation is facing many challenges in the field, such as refusal and the returning of the trader to the street after relocation. Based on that, this paper aims to examine the policy making process of street vendors relocation practice in Indonesia by looking at the interaction of the formal and informal institutions, to examine livelihoods and adaptability aspects in the policy framework, and finally, to propose some recommendations to improve the street vendors relocation policy framework. - Email Hafi


Hannah Jones

'Well-being at the coast: maximising the socio-cultural benefits of England’s seascapes'
Supervisors: Dr Stephen Jay, Dr Leonie Robinson
Description: Our seas and coastlines and oceans provide numerous ecosystem services to society. While many of these, including provisioning services such as food from fisheries, regulatory services regulating our climate others such as the value of the aesthetic to our mental wellbeing and sense of place are more difficult to quantify. The incorporation of a natural capital approach into the process of Seascape Character Assessment will help to shape the way decision makers can value these more social and cultural benefits. This project aims to develop an understanding of seascape that is informed by applying a natural capital approach to the coastal environment and that can be integrated to marine and coastal planning, with an emphasis on the contribution of seascape to well-being.  The project will also contribute to a more holistic understanding of natural capital, in that natural, social and cultural dimensions are co-constitutive of social benefits (Acott & Urquhart, 2017). This project will focus on seascape and the application of Seascape Character Assessments as part of the marine planning process in England.  The PhD project is being supported by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) who are responsible for marine planning in England, who are acting in a non-academic supervisory role within the project. Email Hannah


Haojia Wang

'Research on the effectiveness of Plan Environmental Impact Assessment (PEIA) in China' 
Supervisors: Prof Thomas Fischer and Dr Urmila Jha Thakur 
Description: Description of my research project: SEA is well accepted as an important decision-making tool in many countries and regions. China, as one of the first countries to develop SEA, has introduced corresponding laws and regulations to guarantee SEA, but SEA at the Plan level (PEIA) is considered the core part of SEA in China, and these laws and regulations are mainly focused on PEIA. With the launching of the Environmental Impact Assessment Law in 2003, more and more cities are integrating PEIA into their urban planning process. My research attempts to explore whether these urban planning PEIAs are fulfilling their roles, responsibilities, and objectives. That is, research focusing on the effectiveness of PEIAs. - Email Haojia


Juwo Lwesya-Sibale

'A comparative analysis of the effective public participation in Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) in the decision-making process between rural and urban areas in Malawi ' 
Supervisors: Prof Thomas Fischer and Dr Urmila Jha Thakur 
Description: Many countries across the globe are characterised by a population living in rural and urban areas. The public from these differing areas have different demographic, social and economic characteristics. In terms of general characteristics, rural areas are traditionally considered to be inhabited by homogeneous population who are mostly illiterate but have a strong sense of group solidarity while urban areas are inhabited by heterogeneous populations but who are mostly literate and also well -off households. Despite the variation in characteristics between these locations, no known study has examined its impact on contribution of public participation towards decision making in the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) process. My PhD research therefore aimed to assess the extent at which public participation between rural and urban ESIA projects contribute towards decision-making in the ESIA process in Malawi.  Email Juwo


Jennifer Hamilton

'Investigating the role of governance in delivering healthy green and blue spaces' 
Supervisors: Dr Alex Nurse and Dr Catherine Queen
Description: Green and blue spaces (e.g. parks and playing fields, lakes and canals) are important natural resources which offer people in urban areas opportunities to exercise and connect with nature, the benefits of which are well known. The ways in which these spaces are managed varies, often relying on intricate networks of agencies, groups and local citizens to develop and maintain them. This project aims to explore these different networks and understand how they interact with national-level institutions and ultimately set out best practice and make policy recommendations for the governance and management of green/blue spaces. Email Jennifer

 


Li Li

'A Study of Health Science Parks in China'
Supervisors: Prof. Alex Lord, Prof. Yiquan Gu
Description: To determine a location to start firms, entrepreneurs of today navigate increasingly complex environment, facing rising amounts of information and an expanding choice of alternatives. The blossom of biotech industry in China resulted in huge number of health science industrial parks developed with wide space, mature infrastructure and advanced facilities available for access and making policies to promote sites. However, the nature of the industry increases symmetric expectations for demand and supply sides of the parks planning. This research is to provide new insights into the process by which health science parks are planned in China and the decision making of those businesses and researchers that come to occupy them. Email Li


Malachy Buck

''Exploring the application of behavioural insights in analysing the integration of environmental objectives in urban planning.' 
Supervisors: Prof. Alex Lord, Dr Richard Dunning
Description: My research applies a range of behavioural theories and insights drawn from behavioural economics and psychology, using these insights to explore interaction between environmental objectives and other key spatial priorities, identifying barriers and opportunities to ‘mainstreaming’ environment objectives within spatial planning in the UK. I have published and presented a range of research projects at international conferences and journals as well as contributed towards several policy papers examining climate change resilience, social housing, land value capture and urban cycling. Email Malachy


Mashal Hamed Alammar

'Adopting Urban Green Infrastructure in Arid Urban Cities, Case of Dammam Metropolitan Area, Saudi Arabia' 
Supervisors: Prof. David Shaw
Description: As the population of most urban cities in arid zones and around the world have rapidly increased, most of existing and planned urban green assets (public open spaces, parks, gardens, seafronts, eco parks, street trees, etc.,) became abandoned, fragmented, and treated as leftover spaces. Therefore, this research has investigated the potential of urban green infrastructure (GI) planning in arid urban cities to tackle quality of life and liveability challanges. GI defined by many orgnizations and scholars as (an interconnected networks of natural and man-managed open spaces that provide multi-functional uses for human, fauna, and flora). This thesis has adopted a planning framework for Dammam Metropolitan Area, Saudi Arabia. The thesis were designed to fill a knowledge gaps of planning public open spaces within the boundary of the case study. Three local governances were investigated (Eastern Province Municipality; Sharqiyah Development Authority; Saudi Oil Company). This thesis followed governmental documents analysis and semi-structured interviews that draw a holistic understanding of planning, design, management, and maintenance of POS at DMA through the lens of Arid-Green Infrastructure. This research is funded by the Saudi Cultural Bureau in London. Email Mashal


Michael Hurtley

'Analysing the changing relationship of design promotion within the statutory town planning system' 
Supervisors: Dr Olivier Sykes & Dr Manuela Madeddu
Description: The role of design within the statutory planning system has once more become a dominant theme within policy initiatives and political rhetoric, and appears to be a central concept within placemaking. However, despite attempts by successive governments to promote improved design standards, the quality of design and placemaking has arguably not improved. This thesis seeks to offer a historic analysis of the changing relationship between design and town planning since the inception of the statutory town system in 1909. By using three key moments of design as case studies, it will be possible to explore how and why design became a more dominant output of town planning practice, at certain moments in the history of the development of the planning system in the UK over the last century.  In order to consider emergent themes and analyse why design ideals underpinned planning theory in these key moments, this research utilises the policy stream theory and the path dependency model as methodological tools to assess the role of key individuals, institutions and the wider political and social narrative of the day. It is anticipated that this approach will reveal dominant themes, the cyclical nature of the relationship between statutory town planning and design, and offer answers to how design thinking might be better integrated into planning practice today. Email Michael


Min Wang

''Social capital and heritage-led regeneration process, a case study of Xi’an' 
Supervisors: Dr Olivier Sykes, Dr Fei Chen, Dr Gareth Abrahams
Description: - Social capital is one of the omitted aspects in current study of urban regeneration. Today, when participatory and bottom-up planning is considered, social capital is regarded as one of the most important and influential social factors in urban regeneration. Heritage-led regeneration attempts to marry “conservation” and “development” during times of rapid urbanisation, which is a very constructive method for conservation and social benefits. There is an increasing expectation for the value of social capital in the heritage-led urban regeneration process, which provides an opportunity for sustainable local development and heritage engagement. Firstly, this research attempts to investigate social capital in the case study area and analyse the value of social capital. Social Capital Assessment Tool (SOCAT) is used to collect qualitative data. Secondly, this research will analyse different dimensions of social capital, and explore the role of local community, private sector, urban planners/authority in fostering local development through regeneration schemes and planning policies. Lastly, this research aims to develop a social capital analytical framework and policy recommendations in the further heritage-led urban regeneration process, which will perform as a regeneration project life cycle model and contribute to sustainable planning and decision-making processes. Email Min


Mohammad Meidiansyah

''Does Participatory Budgeting Matter in Developing Indonesian Rural Areas?' 
Supervisors: Dr Sebastian Dembski, Prof. David Shaw and Dr Catherine Queen
Description: - In rural areas, uncertainty hinders decision-making. Uncertainties include the certain risk of new investment opportunities due to lack of human behaviour knowledge, intrinsic unpredictability, and behavioural uncertainty that could lead to unachievable results. Diverse policymakers with various priorities yield unpredictable results. When there are several decision-makers, the analysis becomes complex, and it's hard to discover a solution. The final decision becomes tough, hindering rural development. This proposed study investigates participatory budgeting's process in developing rural communities. The study's main purpose is to examine the participative decision-making process that identifies rural stakeholders' preferences and needs. Email Mohammad


Nicolás Del Canto

''Land value capture instruments and the transition from regulatory planning towards a new urban planning culture in Chile' 
Supervisors: Dr Richard Dunning, Professor Mark Baker (University of Manchester) and Dr Tatiana Moreira de Souza
Description: This research addresses the influence of laws in cities, specifically, how legal instruments can trigger shifts in urban planning trends. In Chile’s case, urban planning can be described as “regulatory planning” due to its centralist, fragmented and legal-driven features. Such a framework hinders the development of, for instance, collaborative mechanisms that require more flexible institutional setups. In this context, Land Value Capture instruments have started being applied, with the aim of funding mobility and public space initiatives. Thus, this proposal aims to understand if the implementation of LVC instruments can strengthen the transition from regulatory planning to a new planning culture in Chile. Therefore, the importance of this study relies on identifying if LVC instruments are enhancers of a shift from a regulatory planning culture to a more robust culture that includes collaborative or strategic planning elements. If this relation is found, research findings could trigger a debate on how LVC instruments can strengthen determined planning cultures both practically and theoretically. Email Nicolás


Salah Butti

'Towards A Participatory Urban Planning Process for Arab Cites' 
Supervisors: Prof. David Shaw, Prof. Alex Lord, Dr Abdelkhalek Ibrahim (local supervisor)
Description: Planning process in the Arab countries miss the efficient stakeholder process. The main purpose for the research arise from two major problems. Firstly, the problems of the urban planning approach currently adopted in Arab cities, in general, and the specific case study, Sharjah city, in particular. Secondly, the acknowledgement of a knowledge gap regarding the elements of the stakeholder participation process (methodology, steps, analytical tools, evaluation tools, and urban strategic plan outputs), which has led to poor outcomes from the participation process. Therefore, there is a need to propose a framework for adapting an efficient participatory approach in the strategic urban planning process. Email Salah


Umrah J. Mahadik

''Connecting religious values to climate change adaptation and planning' 
Supervisors: Prof. Thomas Fischer and Dr Urmila Jha Thakur (External supervisors: Dr Sarah Clement, Prof. Christopher Baker and Rev'd Dr John Reader
Description: . - This research investigates the intersection of religious beliefs, values, and climate action to understand how we can effectively act on the most urgent environmental and moral issue of our time, climate change. Whilst there is widespread consensus on the evidence, the use of facts is limited in efforts to tackle climate change, as motivation to act is often more influenced by ideology and personal values. In fact, psychologists argue that religion is among the most powerful of all social forces, playing an adaptive role in society whilst sustaining communities; a mosaic of psychological influences on the human-nature relationship which encourages people to act collectively in tackling what has been called the world’s biggest collective action problem. This research aims to create an original, practical and innovative indexing system to score the adaptive capacity of dominant world religions. This PhD is funded by the Gift of Knowledge with in-kind support from the William Temple Foundation. Email Umrah


Vivian Agbasoga

'Telecommunications Masts and Base Transceiver Stations in Neighbourhoods: The Role of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)' 
Supervisors: Prof. Thomas Fischer, Dr Urmila Jha-Thakur, and Dr Sarah Clement
Description: The Nigerian telecommunications industry has experienced enormous growth since the introduction of the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) in 2001. Growing demand for broader telecommunications coverage and wider transmission of electronic signals across Nigeria and beyond necessitated the need for extensive distribution of masts and base station installations across cities. Despite, the advantages of telecommunications in Nigeria, there are rising concerns over its negative impacts on the environment. Fears over the multiplication of base stations arise from immediate dangers associated with environmental pollution as well as the collapse of masts. This study aims to explore residents’ perception of the environmental impacts of masts and base stations, examine the function of EIA in their installations and proffer recommendations for effective environmental management. Email Vivian


Yizhi Song

'Working title of your thesis:  Smart City Governance in China: with examples taken from Datong, Yinchuan and Zhuhai'
Supervisors: Dr Alex Nurse and Prof. David Shaw
Description: The aim of this research is to explore smart city initiatives through the lens of urban governance in China so as to fill the research gap in the study of smart city governance especially in relation to the Chinese context. In doing so, the research identifies three representative cities/governance models as case studies through a qualitative and indicative research strategy. This research highlights the diverse interpretations of three modes of smart city governance based on observations of the governance process, structure, content and the role of government at the local level under an authoritarian state. This research contributes to the international debates of smart city practice and the emerging China’ transformation of city governance. Email Yizhi


Zihao Wang

'Relationship between land value capture and air quality in China' 
Supervisors: Prof. Alex lord, Dr Richard Dunning, Dr Yuan Shi
Description: - Land is a major source of extra-budgetary revenue and an important tool for driving economic development for local governments in China. In addition, China faces the challenge of air pollution. This research therefore focuses on exploring exogenous variables such as air quality, has a significant impact on land values and correspondingly represents an economic case for investment in the environment, such as through initiatives to improve air quality.  Email Zihao


Ziru Liu

'The Changing Relationship between Local Government and Residents in Urban Village Redevelopment in China' 
Supervisors: Dr. Sebastian Dembski, Dr. Olivier Sykes, Dr. Shih-yang Kao (XJTLU)
Description: This study aims to investigate the different roles of the local state in the redevelopment of urban villages in the urban fringe of Chinese cities to understand the interaction between the government, developer, and villagers. This study will focus on how the forced demolition projects were implemented, which actors were involved, and who the beneficiaries via comparing cases for which some local state acted as administrator and some acted as facilitator. In addition, this study aims to explain why the government choose one way to solve the resistance over others as well as the consequences and long-term impacts of the strategies used by the government. - Email Ziru