08/12/2021
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

MSCA-COFUND-CLEAR-Doc - PhD Position #CD21-49: Volumetric climate-controlled urbanism: issues, instruments and international circulations of a new modality of urban production

This job offer has expired


  • ORGANISATION/COMPANY
    Université Gustave Eiffel
  • RESEARCH FIELD
    Architecture
    Geography
  • RESEARCHER PROFILE
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
  • APPLICATION DEADLINE
    21/03/2022 17:00 - Europe/Brussels
  • LOCATION
    France › Marne-La-Vallée
  • TYPE OF CONTRACT
    Temporary
  • JOB STATUS
    Full-time
  • HOURS PER WEEK
    35
  • OFFER STARTING DATE
    01/10/2022
  • EU RESEARCH FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND
  • MARIE CURIE GRANT AGREEMENT NUMBER
    101034248

OFFER DESCRIPTION

CONTEXT AND ORIGINALITY

The interstitial spaces of cities are being urbanised, through interventions in height and depth, or the creation of three-dimensional enclosures. Underground or vertical farms for horticultural production, creation of underground equipment or infrastructure, urban deployment of networks of micro-greenhouses housed in containers – these are all examples of new forms of ‘volumetric’ urban space. There appears to be a combination of factors – constraints and restrictions in terms of urban space leading to densification policies, the search for technological solutions to adequately respond to environmental crises, issues of health and well-being, or even the demand for greater accessibility to local food production and collective facilities, etc. – which are bound up in making enclosed and interstitial urban spaces increasingly strategic places for the development of different activities.

These interventions share one thing in common: the use of technologies for controlling the microclimatic environment (hygrometry, temperature, air circulation, light, etc.) to create and maintain optimized and efficient ambient conditions. Although these technologies are not new, their deployment at the urban scale and their circulation at the global level for the past ten years are only rarely questioned, even though they constitute a major modality of urban response to the needs of adaptation to climate change and ecological transition which are now of concern to all stakeholders in the urban arena (Marvin & Rutherford 2018).

There is a long tradition of research on the one hand in the field of underground urbanism (Barles, Barroca, AFTES work, etc.) and on urban verticality (Drozdz et al 2018), and on the other hand on technical management of urban environments (work on indoor air conditioning, deployment and distribution of infrastructure, etc.). But there remains is a dearth of work combining both a reflection on the urban modalities of the deployment of these generic technologies and a socio-technical analysis attentive to the properties and effects of microclimatic control technologies on the urban fabric.

The aim of this thesis is to question the ways in which initiatives, projects or experiments around these volumetric urban spaces are both shaped by the local context (forms, regulations, relations between actors, etc.) and contribute to its transformation and its distinction through the development of particular infrastructural configurations. In this context, the thesis poses the hypothesis that, behind this apparent diversity, there are infrastructural configurations that nonetheless share common elements, linked to the circulation of expertise, knowledge and socio-technical devices.

APPROACH AND METHOD

Mobilising an approach attentive to the spaces and territories of implementation of the ecological transition, this thesis studies the emergence of a mode or modes of volumetric climate-controlled urbanism in two different urban contexts (Paris and Singapore) and from three angles:

• Understanding of the logics and issues that push a variety of urban actors (municipalities, businesses, associations, etc.) to develop them;

• Exploration of the circulation and functioning of the technical systems underlying these spaces, including their visual representations;

• Analysis of the compromises, contradictions and socio-political concerns they generate.

The thesis will therefore study the modalities of creating urban volumetric environments through a focus on objects or sites which the candidate will identify in consultation with the supervisors and partners. Several possible sites can already be identified: in Paris, the thesis could be based on the results of the Ville 10D project (2017) and its experimental sites in Paris and La Défense, the projects supported by the City of Paris (2016) to “reinvent” the basements of the capital, as well as emblematic projects of local food production in volumetric enclosures (Cité Maraîchère de Romainville, the urban farm La Caverne); in Singapore, it could study the emergence of volumetric urban knowledge and expertise (McNeill 2019) involving universities, demonstrators and actors of urban production through e.g. the creation of the Nanyang Center for Underground Space, the biodiversity conservatories of the Gardens by the Bay botanical garden, as well as numerous vertical farm projects in the context of the quest of the city-state for increased food self-sufficiency. In both cases, the thesis will analyse how the servicing of volumetric spaces is based on the production of controlled urban environments capable of stabilizing optimal ambient conditions and hosting human presence and activities.

The methodology of the project draws on the identification of specific case studies to which a comparative analysis will be applied, with the development of an analytical framework of common categories to be defined during the first stages of the thesis (based on a review of existing research in the field, study of historical context and an initial survey phase with key experts). The candidate will then use mainly qualitative methods in fieldwork (semi-structured interviews with the urban actors involved, participant observation, analysis of grey literature), supplemented by analysis of cartographic productions and visualization techniques of the spaces studied. In effect, the development of these spaces requires prior representations involving different types of technical innovations such as digital twins or surveys that can represent urban volumes. Understandings of these technologies and the effects of their dissemination are still poorly developed and thus require specific investigation.

CONTRIBUTION OF THE THESIS

The main contribution of the thesis will be a detailed and multi-situated analysis of the emergence and growing significance of a new form of urban production, volumetric climate-controlled urbanism. This analysis will focus on the logics and issues (why), the modalities (how), the locations and circulations (where), as well as the socio-political implications (the tensions and conflicts raised) of this form of urban production through in-depth case studies in two different urban contexts. The thesis will thus contribute to an emerging and important field of urban research at the international level and will bring an original and empirically supported reflection on the transdisciplinary theme of ‘the city of tomorrow’ within the framework of the CLEAR-Doc project.

As well as the links that could be developed with NTU Singapore, the project will build on the two supervisors’ existing international research networks for the mobility of the ESR. Natacha Aveline, CNRS research director and expert on east Asian cities, is due to be based in Singapore and will be asked to provide scientific support to the project. The thesis will also benefit from the current projects of the supervisors on volumetric urbanism involving UCL Urban Laboratory (Andrew Harris) and the Urban Institute of the University of Sheffield (Simon Marvin). Both these centres could host the candidate for short research stays to enable the candidate to present their ongoing work and to exchange with scholars in these centres working on similar topics.

References:

Barles, Sabine & Jardel, Sarah (2005). L’urbanisme souterrain. Étude comparée exploratoire. Paris: Apur.

Barroca, Bruno (dir.) (2014). Penser la ville et agir par le souterrain. Paris: Presses des Ponts et Chaussées.

Drozdz, Martine, Appert, Manuel & Harris, Andrew (2018). High-rise urbanism in contemporary Europe. Built Environment, 43(4), 469-480.

Graham, Stephen & Marvin, Simon (2001). Splintering Urbanism: Networked Infrastructures, Technological Mobilities and the Urban Condition. London: Routledge.

Harris, Andrew (2015). Vertical Urbanisms: Opening up Geographies of the Three-Dimensional City. Progress in Human Geography 39(5), 601–20. doi.org/10.1177/0309132514554323.

Marvin, Simon & Rutherford, Jonathan (2018). Controlled Environments: an urban research agenda on microclimatic enclosure. Urban Studies 55(6), 1143-1162. doi.org/10.1177/0042098018758909.

McNeill, Donald (2019). Volumetric urbanism: The production and extraction of Singaporean territory. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 51(4), 849-868.

Ville 10D (2017) Rapport d’étape, PN Ville10D – Ville d’Idées, http://www.ville10d.fr

Ville de Paris (2017) Appel à projets urbains innovants Réinventer Paris - Les dessous de Paris, https://www.paris.fr/pages/reinventer-paris-ii-4839"

International Mobility

To be discussed with the PhD thesis supervisor, Dr Jonathan Rutherford

 

More Information

Benefits

  • High-quality doctoral training rewarded by a PhD degree, delivered by Université Gustave Eiffel
  • Access to cutting-edge infrastructures for research & innovation.
  • Appointment for a period of 36 months based on a salary of 2 700 € (gross salary per month).
  • Job contract under the French labour legislation in force, respecting health and safety, and social security: 35 hours per week contract, 25 days of annual leave per year.
  • International mobility will be mandatory
  • An international environment supported by the adherence to the European Charter & Code.
  • Access to dedicated CLEAR-Doc trainings with a strong interdisciplinary focus, together with a Career development Plan.

 

Eligibility criteria

  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree. At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research career (career breaks excluded) and not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. Career breaks refer to periods of time where the candidate was not active in research, regardless of his/her employment status (sick leave, maternity leave etc). Short stays such as holidays and/or compulsory national service are not taken into account.

  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the call deadline.

  • Applicants must be available to start the programme on schedule (around 1st October 2022).

Selection process

Additional comments

  • The First step before applying is contacting the PhD supervisor. You will not be able to apply without an acceptation letter from the PhD supervisor.
  • Please contact the PhD supervisor for any additional detail on job offer.
  • There are no restrictions concerning the age, gender or nationality of the candidates. Applicants with career breaks or variations in the chronological sequence of their career, with mobility experience or with interdisciplinary background or private sector experience are welcome to apply.
  • Support service is available during every step of the application process by email: clear-doc@univ-eiffel.fr

 

Web site for additional job details

Offer Requirements

  • REQUIRED LANGUAGES
    ENGLISH: Excellent
    FRENCH: Good

Skills/Qualifications

  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree.
  • At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.

 

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Université Gustave Eiffel
France
Marne-La-Vallée
77454
5, Boulevard Descartes

EURAXESS offer ID: 716918

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