Exploring the material stock - urban form nexus for urban sustainability

Chalmers University of Technology - Gothenburg, Sweden

apply before May 30, 2023

Tasks: Engineering, Planning & Design, Research

Topics: Circularity, Digitalization, Urban Transformation

Type: Full-time, Hybrid

Experience required: Intermediate

Language: English is sufficient

Project description

The position is part of the Sustainable building Research group and in close collaboration with the Spatial Morphology Group, both at the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering (ACE). The Sustainable building Research group deals with concepts, tools, and strategies to enhance the sustainability performance of construction materials, building products, road infrastructures, and entire cities. Research methods range from sustainability assessments to social-cultural and climate-adapted design concepts, including energy- and material resource-based building stock modeling and its visualization. The Spatial Morphology Group is engaged in the fields of urban morphology, space syntax and urban analytics. The group has a long experience in developing methods to describe and measure the built environment with the aim to better understand the processes it allows or affords. This provides knowledge on how, through design, the built environment can help to achieve the global sustainable development goals, e.g., promote sustainable mobility, increase biodiversity, and reduce segregation.

As the built environment continuously grows, so does the accumulation of materials in buildings and infrastructures. This has dramatic environmental impacts: resource extraction and waste generation are ever-increasing, and turning resources into buildings and infrastructures stands for 11% of global carbon emissions. A better understanding of the role that urban planning – more specifically urban morphology – plays on the type and quantity of materials accumulated in the built environment is key to minimize environmental impacts linked to urban development. At the same time, the built environment should provide its intended functions that contribute to human well-being. This PhD position requires a systems perspective to include, understand, and analyze interrelations between built environment material stocks, morphological types (e.g., buildings, roads), their spatial characteristics, the function they provide (e.g., shelter, transport), and socioeconomic and environmental implications of different urban forms. This project thus integrates two disciplines with a strong systems perspective tradition: built environment stock modeling and urban morphology.

Major Responsibilities

The candidate is expected to independently review existing literature and approaches on both built environment stock modeling and urban morphology. Existing studies and data will provide a first understanding of relevant lines of inquiry. This includes, for example, developing scenarios of urban transformation that permits densification and creates walkable cities, and developing indicators that integrate both material stock and urban morphology aspects. Interdisciplinary collaboration with other PhD students and colleagues at Chalmers and at institutions abroad is very important. The position may include teaching or other departmental duties up to a maximum of 20%. The intended start of the project is September 2023.

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