Urban Development and Governance

PhD programme

Focusing on urban governance and development, the IHS PhD programme addresses the social, economic and physical challenges cities face in today’s rapidly changing world. More people live and work in cities than ever before. We need to understand and analyse the newly arising challenges and issues in order to improve the quality of life in cities all around the globe.

The PhD programme consists of seven different pillars (thematic areas), providing a wide variety of possibilities to conduct PhD research.

Urban Environment, Sustainability and Climate Change focuses on analysing complex environmental challenges from a city’s perspective and investigating what strategies, approaches, and tools can contribute to sustainable and resilient urban development. 

Urban Economic Development and Resilience: analyses which factors determine a city’s socio-economic success compared to other cities and regions. Interest in issues of economic growth, distribution and sustainability. Welcomes multi-disciplinary studies related to a variety of topics in urban economics such as competitiveness, economic resilience, transitions towards sustainable economic development, poverty, inequality, innovation, informal economic development and economic policies. 

Green Cities and Infrastructure: provides hands-on knowledge and expertise on how local governments can most efficiently provide, manage, finance and operate municipal infrastructure assets to deliver desired levels of service to help cities become greener. The specialization is anchored on our Green City Concept, which gives a framework to help cities become greener, more sustainable, liveable, healthier and competitive.

Urban Housing, Equity and Social Justice: deals with the concept of equity in the housing process. Explores housing principles of affordability, accessibility, availability, acceptability and adaptability, in the creation of sustainable housing approaches that foster social, economic and spatial integration and inclusion. While looking at social justice, this specialization critically reflects upon these approaches in relation to housing rights, social/low-cost housing, slum upgrading and resettlement.

Urban Land Governance for Sustainable Developmentadopts a governance approach to urban and peri-urban land, water and natural resources. There are three inter-related focal areas: 1) understanding the legal framework of land and the institutions that govern land development, formal and informal regulations, as well as public and private actors; 2) key land market instruments and how they affect land use and land markets, and help governments increase revenues; and 3) the sustainable use and management of urban land, water and natural resources. 

Strategic Urban Planning and Policy: aims at understanding the complex processes which happen in cities and cause permanent transformations. We interpret cities as systems that are exposed to urbanization and globalization processes where diverse stakeholders have important roles for ensuring the city’s development and sustainability. Our research investigates the relationship between local socio-economic and spatial development and the conditions created by policies and through socio-spatial dynamics.”

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