PhD Scholarship opportunity: Urban quality of life

Applications are invited for a PhD scholarship in critical cultural approaches to urban quality of life.

Urban ‘quality of life’ and related concepts of ‘wellbeing’ and ‘liveability’ have become prevalent in planning and policy circles, usually when benchmarking cities against a variety of economic, environmental and social indicators. This PhD represents an opportunity to critically engage with and broaden the urban quality of life research agenda by examining the concept as a contingent and emergent property of everyday life, co-constituted through the interactions of individuals with the material spaces of the city. It is envisaged that the project will deploy a mix of qualitative methods and digital mapping technologies in ways that can account for the nuanced and varied nature of everyday urban life. Specific areas of interest are open and could include for example: mobility, temporality, perceptions of amenity or human-environment interactions.

The successful applicant’s research will be undertaken in conjunction with the Australian Research Council (ARC) project Experiments in Space: Geographic Information Technologies for cultural environmental research. This ARC research seeks to extend how the relationship between humans and their urban environment is understood, via a combination of qualitative methods and emerging digital mapping technologies. The successful applicant will be supervised by DECRA fellow Dr Chris Brennan-Horley.

A stipend of $25,392pa for three years is available. Applicants should have a First Class Bachelor Honours degree, in human geography or a relevant discipline (e.g. anthropology, cultural studies, sociology or town planning). Current students expecting such a result at the end of 2013 are welcome to apply. Applicants will need to demonstrate research training as evidenced in a substantial thesis characterised by primary research. Experience in qualitative research methods is necessary. Familiarity with and interest in Geographic Information Systems is also desirable.

The Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research (AUSCCER) applies cultural research methods to Australia’s contemporary sustainability and climate change challenges. Current staff and students come from backgrounds in human and physical geography, political ecology, archaeology, cultural studies, architecture and design. Located in the Faculty of Social Sciences, facilities include a state of the art human geography laboratory with specialist field equipment and spatial analysis (GIS) systems.
AUSCCER provides a vibrant and supportive environment for postgraduate research students. See our blog for recent activities, and our website for people and projects.

Enquiries can be directed to Dr Chris Brennan-Horley ( Applications should be sent to Denise Alsop ( by November 31, 2013, with “AUSCCER quality of life PhD application” in the subject line. Please format as a single document (pdf or word doc) that includes cover letter, Curriculum Vitae, copy of academic transcript, a brief research proposal (3 pages maximum) and contact details for 2 referees.

2 thoughts on “PhD Scholarship opportunity: Urban quality of life

  1. Very interesting project! I am writing my thesis and getting closer to the end of my PhD which has a similar focus. I am studying the meaning of quality of life in a specific cultural context and its relationship with microclimate and comfort perception. Here is a brief explanation about what I am doing. Would be interesting to keep in touch with the successful applicant. Cheers

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