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PhD programme

The Cities doctoral research programme offers an excellent environment for innovative and interdisciplinary graduate research on cities, space and urbanism.  Students come to the MPhil/PhD Cities from a range of academic and professional backgrounds, sharing an interest in linking the social and physical study of urban issues.

Hopton Street Bankside Mix advertising
Image of Bankside Mix advertising, Hopton Street from 'On tea and culture' by Corinna Dean, citiesLAB 2.

The doctoral programme includes training in research design, practice and presentation in the first year, together with a dedicated ongoing Research Seminar on Cities and Space for students at all year levels, and a range of student-led and international collaborations and initiatives, including the publication citiesLAB (see under Contents) and the collaborative conference and publication Writing Cities - see below.  

Please note the doctoral programme is very small, and we are only able to accept one or two applicants each year at most.  For more information on the PhD Cities and how to apply see Contents panel left.

The theses of Cities Programme PhD students who have been awarded their doctorates can now be found online along with those of other students in the Department of Sociology, see LSE Theses Online.

July 2015:

Torsten Schroeder's  PhD thesis on 'Translating the concept of sustainability into architectural design practices: London’s City Hall as an exemplar' has been shortlisted for the RIBA President’s Awards for Research 2015. Torsten is now teaching at Eindhoven University of Technology, where he is Assistant Professor in Architectural, Design and Engineering, Department of the Built Environment.

Robinson-2014Congratulations to Katherine Robinson, who was awarded her PhD in March 2015.  Her thesis, which was passed without corrections, is titled:  'An  everyday public?  Placing  public  libraries  in London and Berlin'.  She is now working as a researcher on Triaging Values, an ESRC research project  at Goldsmiths Sociology.

January 2015:

Congratulations to our latest successful doctoral candidates Corinna Dean, Richard Stockton Dunlap and Torsten Schroeder, Corinna for 'Establishing the Tate Modern Cultural Quarter: social and cultural regeneration through art and architecture', Richard for 'Reassessing Ronchamp: the historical context, architectural discourse and design development of Le Corbusier's Chapel Notre Dame-du-Haut' and Torsten for 'Translating the concept of sustainability into architectural design practices: London’s City Hall as an exemplar. ' 

Alasdair Jones's new book On South Bank: the production of public space (Ashgate 2014 - see below) was launched at an event at LSE on 9 December 2014, with  respondent Phil Hubbard, Professor of Urban Studies, School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent.  The event was chaired by Professor Fran Tonkiss, for details see poster (PDF).

November 2014:

Congratulations to successful doctoral candidates Günter Gassner, Adam Kaasa and Daniel Kilburn, who were awarded their PhDs in 2014, Günter for his thesis ‘Unfinished and unfinishable: London’s skylines’, Adam for ‘Writing, Drawing, Building: The Architecture of Mexico City, 1938-1964’, and Dan for ‘Together, Apart? Situating Social Relations and Housing Provision in the Everyday Life of New-build Mixed-tenure Housing Developments’.

Günter is Course Tutor in Sociology and City Design at the LSE.  He teaches with Professor Ricky Burdett on the MSc City Design core course Cities by Design, and is co-convenor of the City Design Research Studio, see his Department of Sociology staff page. Adam has taken up a position as Research Fellow in the Department of Architecture at the Royal College of Art, working on a collaborative project between the RCA and the University of São Paulo on ‘Public Spaces the Role of the Architect’, which explores the complex legacy of Modernism in London and São Paulo. Dan is now a Teaching Fellow at UCL.


Books by our graduates

Food and Urbanism coverDr Susan Parham's latest book is Food and Urbanism: The Convivial City and a Sustainable Future (Bloomsbury, 2015). Moving from the table, kitchen, dining room, and home garden to the food market, townscape, green space, suburbs, peri-urban edges, wider conurbations and rural regions, the book explores the urbanism connections between food and place at a range of nested scales expressed in past and present design and socio-spatial practices. 

Susan Parham is Head of Urbanism at the University of Hertfordshire, and completed her PhD on London's food quarters in the Cities Programme in 2009.  Click on cover image right for publisher's webpage, and see below for more on Susan Parham's first book.

On South Bank coverDr Alasdair Jones (PhD 2008) is Assistant Professor in Qualitative Research Methodology in LSE’s Department of Methodology, teaching research design and qualitative research methods. Alasdair has also been made an Associate of LSE Cities and is currently writing up research conducted in Sydney, Australia, into the fit between sustainable design features of masterplanned developments and their residents’ living practices. For further information on Alasdair’s work see his profile in the Department of Methodology.  Drawing on his Cities Programme doctoral work, Alasdair’s book On South Bank: the production of public space has been published by Ashgate (2014), click on cover image right for publisher's webpage

Dr Robin J. H. Kim (PhD 2010, now Research Fellow at UCL and Visiting Professor at Dongguk University, Seoul) has published a new book: Industrial Heritage and Urban Regeneration (Dolbegae Publishing Press, 2013). With case studies in 13 European cities including London, Paris and Madrid, the text explores the remaking of industrial estates and buildings as an effective means of ‘materialising’ environmental, economic and social sustainability. The book will be translated for publication in English.

Dr Susan Parham's first book  Market Place: Food quarters, design and urban renewal in London (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Dec 2012) was launched with an event at LSE on 11 June 2013 chaired by Dr Fran Tonkiss, Director of the Cities Programme, with Tim Butler, Professor of Geography at King's College London, in discussion with Susan.  Are food quarters developing in London? If that’s the case, are these no more than artful settings for people to play out a middle class ‘habitus’ based on distinction about food? Is food just another ‘field’ in London’s relentless gentrification? Or are these places something more? Do new interconnections between physical design and socio-spatial practices in relation to food promise to offer cities greater conviviality and sustainability? Might they provide interesting models for food-informed design and planning elsewhere?

City Street and CitizenDr Suzanne Hall, former PhD student and now Assistant Professor  in the Department of Sociology and Research Fellow at LSE Cities has had her first book published: City Street and Citizen: The Measure of the Ordinary (Routledge, April 2012).  Based on her work on London's Walworth Road for her PhD thesis (Cities Programme 2009) it asks: 'How can we learn from a multicultural society if we don’t know how to recognise it? The contemporary city is more than ever a space for the intense convergence of diverse individuals who shift in and out of its urban terrains. The city street is perhaps the most prosaic of the city’s public parts, allowing us a view of the very ordinary practices of life and livelihoods.'  For more information click on cover image right for publisher's webpage.

Olivia Muñoz-Rojas’s book Ashes and Granite: Destruction and Reconstruction in the Ashes and Granite (Muñoz-Rojas)Spanish Civil War and Its Aftermath came out in June 2011. Based on her PhD dissertation (Cities/Sociology 2009), it is published by Sussex Academic Press in collaboration with the LSE Cañada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies. 

Olivia's essay ‘Metonyms, metaphors, cities and the city’ (‘Metonimias, metáforas, ciudades y ciudad’) was awarded the 2011 Fermín Caballero Prize by the regional Association of Sociology of Castilla La Mancha (ACMS) (Spain).

For more information about our current PhD students and those who recently completed their doctorate here, please see our PhD students and Previous PhD students pages.

Writing Cities

Writing Cities 1.Writing Cities is a collaboration between research students at the Cities Programme at LSE, the Department of Urban  Studies and Planning at MIT, MIT Media LAB, Harvard Graduate School of Design and Harvard Law School. Click on image right to read Writing Cities 1: 'How do views shape words: How do words shape cities?' (eds. Hall, Suzanne, Fernández Arrigoitía, Melissa and Dinardi, Cecilia, LSE, 2010). (PDF).

Writing Cities 2: 'Distance and Cities: Where do we stand?' (eds. Gassner, Gunter, Kaasa, Adam and Robinson, Katherine, LSE, 2012) is also available to read as a PDF, click on image below:
Writing Cities 2


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