Research Students

Research Student Abstracts

Emma Griffin

This research explores the social dynamics and structures of a community land trust in the early stages of a housing development project. As we see more partnerships emerge between land trusts and housing associations, there is a need to understand the nature of these collaborations and to look critically at normative assumption that community-led housing leads to citizen empowerment. This research uses a participatory research approach to capture the stories of members involved in a housing project in Bristol. It examines the case study members' experiences through the lens of power relations in order to understand the extent to which the project supports active participation in alternative housing delivery.

Supervisors: Professor Katie Williams and Dr Michael Buser

Katarina Joachym

What makes temporary urban interventions successful?

The purpose of this research is to understand what makes a temporary urban intervention (TUI) successful. This is important due to the rapid proliferation and popularity of TUIs in the contemporary public realm and their potential benefits and dis-benefits on place making, urban public life, community engagement and participation. TUIs can take many forms. They can be referred to as: tactical urbanism, user-generated urbanism, DIY urbanism, micro-urbanism, pop-up urbanism, guerrilla urbanism, adaptive urbanism, city repair and many more. They vary in shape, form, size, scale, purpose, lifespan and impact. TUIs are an urban response in part to economic crisis, which has left behind vast numbers of urban spaces vacant, underdeveloped, undeveloped or misused. Solutions that projects bring for these spaces are temporary. Their focal intention is to provide local solutions for local problems. 

The project will evaluate documented examples of TUIs and the UK-based case studies. Case study site surveys; semi-structured interviews; and observations will be conducted to gain understanding on how various stakeholders involved in the production and use of TUIs define success. The research process will facilitate gradual building of the knowledge. This process will enable progressive and informed coherent accumulation of complex data and stage evaluations for the final comprehensive analysis to gain understanding on what it is that makes temporary urban interventions ‘successful’. 

Supervisors: Professor Katie Williams, Louis Rice, Professor Bill Gething

Sarah Burgess

Achieving healthy urban environments through incremental development: a case study of Bristol, UK

This research explores how incremental developments in existing urban areas have contributed towards achieving a healthy urban environment. The impact of the built environment on sustainability, health and wellbeing has been established for many decades. Yet, little is known about how small-scale, incremental developments can individually contribute to the long-term cumulative goal of achieving healthy urban environments. Using the theoretical concept of incrementalism from planning theory, the aims of this PhD are to understand whether physical changes to the urban environment that have occurred as a result of development managed through the English planning system over the last 20 years have contributed to creating a healthier urban environment, and to examine planners understanding of how incremental development can contribute to this agenda. Using a qualitative case study approach, this research combine critical evaluation of planning application documents and fieldwork (streetscape surveys) with face-to-face interviews with planners and built environment professionals.

Supervisors: Professor Katie Williams, Dr Danielle Sinnett, Dr Michael Buser

Elena Marco

The direction of this research involves exploring how clutter, consumerism and utilitarian objects can influence sustainable behaviour as well as looking at understandings into key energy literacy attributes in the context of architectural education and practice in the UK and beyond.

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