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Job ID: 102068

Fully funded PhD studentship
Northumbria University

  • Jan. 8, 2018
  • Jan. 28, 2018
  • Oct. 1, 2018
  • Graduate Student
  • Urban Studies and Planning
    Research Methods/Data Analysis
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Project Description:

Childhood obesity is a growing issue in many countries around the world. Studies from various disciplines have demonstrated that people living in pedestrian-friendly environments tend to have relatively higher daily walking rates and lower Body Mass Index. However, relatively little is known about how urban form, in general, and street network configuration, in particular, is related to children’s physical activity and health. While most studies tend to focus on qualities of the micro-environment (e.g. sidewalk quality), there remains a research gap on environmental factors influencing active travel behaviours in larger areas, such as neighbourhoods or districts. In addition, objective street connectivity measures fall short in describing the spatial and structural pattern of street networks that define urban areas.

This PhD project will focus on improving the reliability and validity of urban form indicators and street connectivity measures. It will also develop better conceptual models to link urban form to physical activity, focusing on young people. Consideration will also be given to the comparison of perceived (self-reported environmental attributes) and objectively verifiable environmental attributes in explaining physical activity outcomes. It will integrate multiple methodologies and techniques: space syntax will for evaluating the street network design of children’s urban environment; GIS-based analyses of the built environment to identify obesogenic environments; and secondary datasets for determining children’s physical activity levels and their perception of the environment. Offering a comprehensive methodological approach, this project is expected to provide insights into the design and policy interventions that target increased physical activity among children and inform urban design and master planning projects aimed at creating sustainable urban forms.

Applicant profile:

You are expected to have a good first degree and/or a Masters in a related field (planning, geography, architecture, public health, geomatics, statistics) with a strong interest in public health. You will be expected to develop skills in geographical analysis (GIS, space syntax), multivariate statistical analyses and spatial statistics. Applications from all parts of the world will be considered and the studentship covers full international fees

Space syntax; obesogenic environments; childhood obesity; Geographical Information Science

  • Eligibility and How to Apply:

    Please note eligibility requirement:
    [*]     Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities ); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
    [*]     Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
    [*]     Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

    For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

    Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF18/…) will not be considered.
    Deadline for applications: 28 January 2018
    Start Date: 1 October 2018
    Northumbria University is an equal opportunities provider and in welcoming applications for studentships from all sectors of the community we strongly encourage applications from women and under-represented groups.

    Funding Notes:

    The studentship includes a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2017/18, this is £14,553 pa) and fees (Home/EU £4,450 / International £13,500).

Please reference in your cover letter when
applying for or inquiring about this job announcement.

Contact Information

  • Ayse Ozbil Torun
    Architecture and Built Environment
    Northumbria University
    2 Ellison Pl, Newcastle Upon Tyne
    Newcastle, Tyne and Wear NE1 8ST
    United Kingdom


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