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MSCA-COFUND-CLEAR-Doc-PhD Position#CD22-36: THE FUTURE OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN WEST AFRICA: DISRUPTIVE INNOVATIONS IN HOUSING FINANCE AND DIGITALIZATION

14/10/2022

Job Information

Organisation/Company
Université Gustave Eiffel
Department
LATTS
Research Field
Geography
Sociology
Anthropology
Researcher Profile
First Stage Researcher (R1)
Country
France
Application Deadline
Type of Contract
Temporary
Job Status
Full-time
Hours Per Week
35
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?
H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND
Marie Curie Grant Agreement Number
101034248
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?
No

Offer Description

For the past two decades, public policy-makers and scholars have neglected the issue of affordable housing. In cities with high levels of population growth, the cost of access to housing has excluded a large part of the population from the formal property market, hindered the reduction of precarious neighborhoods, and encouraged urban sprawl with worrying socio-spatial consequences (inequalities, increased infrastructure costs…). In addition, the question of housing today is also tightly linked to environmental concerns (destruction of agricultural land, competition for water resources, increased risk of flooding…) and especially the new uncertainties associated with climate change. In this context, the issue of housing is today resurfacing in the urban policies of many African countries. It is essential to understand whether and how innovations in social housing will affect the much-needed, yet under-supplied, production of so-called affordable housing.

Two kinds of innovations have emerged as key elements of social housing policy today. On the one hand, new financing tools and mechanisms are broadening the spectrum of access to real estate credit (Marot et al. 2022; Parby et al. 2015; CAHF, UrbaMonde, and UrbaSEN 2020). On the other hand, the growing use of digital technologies is transforming both urban planning (Watson 2020) and the free flow of information required to secure real estate transactions. For example, public policies are promoting the digitization of cadastres and procedures for formalizing land rights, and they are developing digital platforms for applications to social and affordable housing as well as civil status documents (Dalberto and Banegas 2021; Rodima-Taylor 2021). Residents and private firms are also harnessing digital technologies to address an array of urban and economic concerns: diffusing information through social networks, popularizing money transfers by cell phone, routinizing remote visits to housing development sites, using drones for the surveillance of construction sites, etc. These novel tools and techniques are changing social ties with land ownership and contributing to the physical and material transformation of metropolitan peripheries (Goodfellow 2020; Meth et al. 2021).

Case study

Governments across sub-Saharan Africa have taken as a stated objective the emergence of world-class metropolitan regions and, alongside major urban development projects, affordable housing programs are presented as key instruments of this emergence (Diongue 2012). The proposed case study for this research project is the Dakar metropolitan area (Senegal). It may be conducted within the framework of a comparative analysis with another metropolitan area in the sub-region, such as an Anglophone area.

Scientific challenges

The literature on innovations in housing finance or digital applications is still limited in Africa (Migozzi 2022b, 2022a). This research often focuses on particular practices—e.g. its analysis is limited to spaces underserved by essential services (Chambers and Evans 2020; Guma and Monstadt 2021)—and it often refers to highly localized case studies or experiments (Choplin and Lozivit 2019). This sparse empirical information does not allow for an assessment of the wider effects that digital innovations may have on affordable housing at the metropolitan scale in cities across the continent. The present research project proposes to address this gap by scaling-up analysis to the metropolitan area, with a perspective on the sub-region.

This will require addressing two challenges. The first is to go beyond the myopic focus of a few hyper-mediatized experiments, to analyze how and why certain innovations constitute real game changers in housing policies. The second challenge is to incorporate different timeframes into the analysis: first, the relatively slow timeframe of urban transformation and the historical inheritances of land control; and second, the much faster timeframe of innovative financing mechanisms and the development of digital technologies.

Objectives and methods

Scholars in urban studies have long analyzed the material and spatial dimensions of socio-technical devices (Ferchaud et al. 2020). The proposed doctoral thesis will draw on and contribute to this established field of research through an interdisciplinary analysis of how the introduction of digital innovations into the production of affordable housing will affect social and material life in one or more West African metropolis(es). To this end, the doctoral researcher will conduct a field survey including a fine-grained ethnographic research on relevant themes. This ethnographic approach will employ participant and non-participant observation of public administrations, local economic actors, and inhabitants central to the production of affordable housing. This research will require mastery of French (Senegal) and fieldwork experience with a translator for local African languages. Mastery of the analysis of legal-regulatory and financial documents as well as the production of cartographic documents is expected.

Research Questions

The proposed doctoral thesis will question the transformative scope of innovations through an analysis of their effects on the large-scale production of affordable housing. The project will frame the research problem in line with one of the following axes of analysis:

•New instruments and actors in the financing of affordable housing: socio-technical characteristics of financial devices and their experts; critical analysis of “financial innovation”; impacts on the conditions of access to mortgage credit and the mobilization of new financial resources (diasporas); number, location, volume, and scale of real estate production operations...

•Deployment and uses of digital technologies: means and conditions of the adaptation of new technologies; reconfiguration of socio-economic relations in land and real estate transactions (relationships of trust, chain of intermediaries, mediation of international networks, litigation and virtual advocacy...); effects on socio-spatial inclusion/exclusion...

After selecting a focus, the thesis project will then incorporate an explicitly spatial and territorial analysis of affordable housing and its contemporary transformations. To what extent do the new financial and/or digital tools contribute to a new peri-urban geography of affordable housing? How are these financial and digital dynamics linked to the most major physical transformations of African metropolitan areas today (transport infrastructures, special economic zones, urban centers)? And what is the relationship between these large-scale changes and the long-held and highly-localized networks of sociability tied to urban land and its ownership?

Requirements

Research Field
Geography
Education Level
Bachelor Degree or equivalent
Research Field
Anthropology
Education Level
Bachelor Degree or equivalent
Research Field
Sociology
Education Level
Bachelor Degree or equivalent
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.
Specific Requirements

Applicants should possess a master (or equivalent) in Geography, Sociology or Anthropology

Languages
ENGLISH
Level
Good
Languages
FRENCH
Level
Good

Additional 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

Applicants must fulfil the following 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 fulfil the transnational mobility rule: incoming applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than 12 months in the 3 previous years.
  • One application per call per year is allowed.
  • Applicants must be available full-time to start the programme on schedule (November 1st 2023).
  • Application rules are enforced by the French doctoral system which specifies a standard duration of 3 years for a full-time PhD together with the MSCA standards and the OTM-R European rules as follows.
  • Citizens of any nationality may apply to the programme.
  • There is no age limit.
Selection process

Please refer to the Guide for Applicants available on the CLEAR-Doc website: https://clear-doc.univ-gustave-eiffel.fr/how-to-apply/useful-documents/

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.
  • International mobility planned:

The PhD student will be hosted in international mobility at the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar.

  • 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
Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)

Number of offers available
1
Company/Institute
Université Gustave Eiffel
Country
France
City
Marne-La-Vallée
Postal Code
77454
Street
5, Boulevard Descartes
Geofield

Contact

City
Marne-La-Vallée
Website
Street
5, Boulevard Descartes
Postal Code
77454
E-Mail
sylvy.jaglin@univ-eiffel.fr
claire.simonneau@univ-eiffel.fr