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Previous PhD students

Richard Bramwell; Juliet Davis; Cecilia Dinardi; Richard Stockton Dunlap; Melissa Fernández Arrigoitia; Suzanne Hall; Alasdair Jones; Adam Kaasa; Juergen Kufner; Olivia Muñoz-Rojas Oscarsson; Iliana Ortega-Alcázar; Susan Parham; Attila Szanto; Ricardo de Vasconcelos

The people above all completed their PhDs (or MPhil) in the Cities Programme from 2008.  Not everyone who did so is included here, just those people who already had their details on our PhD students page.  Where possible we have included an update on what they are doing now, but otherwise the information only goes up to the time they were awarded their PhDs.  Click on the name to go to their details.

Richard Bramwell

Richard BramwellEnrolled: 2007
PhD (2011): The Aesthetics and Ethics of London Based Rap: a sociology of UK hip-hop and grime

Research interests:
Richard's doctoral study was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. He has interests in the Sociology of Culture, Gender and Critical Race Studies, Contemporary Literature, Culture and Technology. 

Richard studied English (BA 1st Class Hons.) then Contemporary Literature and Culture (MA Distinction) at Brunel University, with a focus on post-colonial studies, literary theory and rap music. His current research is on the relationships between contemporary youth culture, technology, and the urban environment. In particular he is concerned with the ways through which young men and women develop particular social forms, representations of the urban environment, and political and economic goals through the use of rap, music, and technology.      

Juliet Davis

Enrolled: October 2007
PhD (2011): Urbanising the Event: present politics and future plans for London's Olympic Legacy

Research interests:
 I am interested in the social and political contexts of architectural design practice including its potential role in the regeneration of economically and socially deprived localities. 

Update (2013): Juliet is now Senior Lecturer at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University.

I trained as an architect between 1992 and 1999. Between 1999 and 2005, I practised as an architect for Eric Parry Architects in London where I acted as Project Architect on a number of architectural and urban projects. In recent years, I have run first year undergraduate programmes in architecture at Cambridge University Department of Architecture and Canterbury School of Architecture.  2009-2011: Cities Programme Fellow, convening the MSc 'City Design and Social Science' design studio with Suzanne Hall. I am a member of the NYLON research network and a founding member of the Cities Programme PhD research group, citiesLAB.  2011-12: researcher at LSE Cities, focussing on urban resilience in terms of the relationship between the design and governance of urban form.

Cecilia Dinardi

 Cecelia Dinardi
Enrolled: October 2007

PhD (2012): Against the Culture Panacea: The politics of heritage, national remembering and urban regeneration in Buenos Aires

Research interests: sociology of culture, urban studies, cultural policies, urban regeneration, visual studies, and social research methods

Cecilia has been studying sociology since 1999, obtaining her BSc (Hons) from the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA), Argentina, and then an MSc (Distinction) in Culture and Society from LSE (2006-2007). Her current doctoral research examines the cultural politics and political economy of a culture-led urban regeneration project involving the transformation of an iconic postal building in Buenos Aires. In London, Cecilia worked on urban-regeneration research and various community consultation projects (Strategic Urban Futures), and developed and managed a web-based research database on the cultural and creative industries (City University London, www.rccil.org.uk).

In Buenos Aires, Cecilia was a researcher at the Instituto Gino Germani (Sociology of Culture team, 2003-2006), worked as a field researcher for a large number of consultancies, and spent two years working for the Government of the City of Buenos Aires (2004-2006).

Update (2014): Cecilia is currently Urban Studies Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Culture and Creative Studies, City University London, and is a member of the NYLON research network.  

Richard Stockton Dunlap


Richard Stockton-Dunlap 2013Enrolled: September 2006

PhD (2014): Reassessing Ronchamp: the historical context, architectural discourse and design development of Le Corbusier's Chapel Notre Dame-du-Haut.

Richard’s dissertation provides a reassessment of the design documents and historical discourse concerning Le Corbusier's Chapel Notre-Dame-du-Haut, Ronchamp. He argues that several previously overlooked drawings, which are reproduced in high definition and examined in exhaustive detail, comprise the earliest extant set of schematic plans produced for Ronchamp. On the basis of these discoveries, a revised sequence of design development for the first three phases of work within the atelier is proposed, as well as an alternate explanation of Le Corbusier's creative process, based upon a revolutionary approach to architectural design that the architect evidently did not wish to disclose to his professional peers or to the public. The dissertation also includes an exhaustive synthesis of available evidence concerning Le Corbusier’s involvement with the Vichy government, and the means by which he rehabilitated his public image after the war and successfully secured commissions at Marseille, Ronchamp, and elsewhere. The full text is now available online: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/1009/

The project was supervised by Robert Tavernor (Professor Emeritus of Architecture and Urban Design at the LSE), and was reviewed by Joseph Rykwert (Professor Emeritus of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania) and Tim Benton (Professor Emeritus of Art History at the Open University, London) at the London School of Economics. 

Research interests:

French history; Le Corbusier and the Chapel of Ronchamp; social context of art and architecture; critical analysis of scholarly consensus; formal analysis of architectural documentation; design theory and practice.   


Richard studied architecture, philosophy, and history at the University of California, Berkeley, graduating summa cum laude (B.A. Architecture, 1999; M.Arch, 2002). He maintained an architectural practice in Santa Barbara and Paris while completing his PhD dissertation on Le Corbusier and the Chapel of Ronchamp at the LSE. He currently resides in Santa Barbara, California, where he is completing a monograph on the Chapel of Ronchamp.

Email: rsdunlap@alumni.lse.ac.uk


Melissa Fernández Arrigoitia 

MFernandez_smallEnrolled: October 2005
PhD (2010): Constructing 'the Other', Practicing Resistance: Public housing and community politics in Puerto Rico

Research interests:
gender/feminisms; post-coloniality; urban studies; housing; sociology and politics of space/place; women's human rights.

Melissa has a BA from Tufts University in Philosophy and Women's Studies and an MSc from the LSE in Gender and Development Studies, both focusing on women's participation in Colombian guerrillas and the integration of women, conflict and rights in Colombia.  She has trained in Applied Conflict Analysis and Resolution (American University), worked for the Center for Peace and Human Security (NYC), Amnesty International (London), and the Inter-American Commission for Women (OAS, Washington, D.C).  She currently works as book review editor to the Graduate Journal of Social Sciences and with the LSE London group.

Suzanne Hall

Suzi photo 2010Enrolled: October 2005
PhD (2009):A Mile of Mixed Blessings: An Ethnography of Boundaries and Belonging on a South London Street
Awarded the LSE's Robert McKenzie Prize for outstanding performance in a PhD programme. 

Research interests: As an urban ethnographer my research interests include ordinary spaces and everyday practices, social and political forms of inclusion and exclusion, and ethnography and visual methods. 

Update (2013): Suzanne is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at LSE and teaches in the Cities Programme, and Research Fellow in ‘Cities, Space and Society’ at LSE Cities. For more on Suzi including recent publications see her departmental Staff page.

For ten years prior to my Ph.D research I practised as an architect and urban designer in South Africa, and ran a practice with Jacqui Perrin from 1999 to 2003. My focus was the role of design in the context of rapid urban transformation, explored through public projects in poor and racially segregated areas. I have taught in architecture and urbanism departments at the University of Cape Town and University of Cambridge. Project awards include the South African Rome Scholarship in Architecture (1998-1999) and the Housing Generator Competition sponsored by NAI (first prize, 1997).

Alasdair Jones

Alasdair-JonesEnrolled: October 2003
PhD (2008): On South Bank: the production of public space
Funder: Recipient of an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) '1+3' Full-time Studentship.

Research interests:
Urban Sociology/Geography; public space, the public realm and new forms of sociation/sociability 'out in public'; (re)conceptions of citizenship and identity; urban subcultures; urban transportation.

Update (2014): Alasdair is Assistant Professor in Qualitative Research Methodology in the Department of Methodology, LSE.

Background: Alasdair obtained a BA (Hons) in Geography (1st class with distinction) at Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge. Remaining at Fitzwilliam College, he went on to complete an MPhil (with distinction) in 'Modern Society and Global Transformations' at the Faculty of Social & Political Sciences, before transferring the '+3' element of his ESRC Studentship to the Cities Programme, LSE.

Prior to joining the Department of Methodology Alasdair was Research Fellow at the University of Hertfordshire’s Centre for Sustainable Communities (CSC). Working with the CSC’s Head of Urbanism (Dr Susan Parham, PhD 2009 - see below), Alasdair led on a comparative study of sustainable living practices in the UK and Australia and joined the University of New South Wales’s City Futures research centre as a Visiting Fellow during 2012.

Adam Kaasa

Enrolled: October 2007
PhD (2013): ‘Writing, Drawing, Building: The Architecture of Mexico City, 1938-1964’

Research interests: I am curious as to why certain cities, certain urban forms, are associated with 'original' modernity, while others are simply copies, mimetic. Why do we think some cities are more 'urban' than others, and how does this affect urban policy? Specifically, I am interested in the relationship between what appears to be 'mimetic urban modernism' and resulting forms of urban citizenship. Through an archival look at three housing sites in post-revolution Mexico City, I would like to explore the connections between transatlantic circulations of urban forms and modernities, their effect on the built form of Mexico city, and emerging ideas of urban citizenship.
Key Words: Comparative urbanism; urban history; modernism; modern architecture; 20th Century urban planning; social and cultural theory; visual culture; Mexico; Latin American studies; citizenship; sexuality and space.

Background: Project Associate at the Urban Age (LSE Cities research centre) an international investigation into the future of cities. Organised the NYLON seminars and conferences, a transatlantic intellectual working group between universities in and around London and New York, and taught in the Sociology Department at the LSE.

Previously, I worked on several international development projects ranging from capacity building for HIV/AIDS youth organisations in Guyana, working with a small community health centre in Mexico, and exploring cross-cultural education in Sri Lanka. As a researcher I have completed several projects on the city including a grant-funded project examining the architecture of the city square in Mexico. I hold an MSc in Cites, Space and Society from the LSE, a BA (Hons) in Sociology from the University of Alberta, Canada and am an Associate of Trinity College London in Speech and Drama.

Update (2014): Adam is Research Fellow in the Royal Academy of Arts.

Juergen Kufner

clip_image002_smallEnrolled: October 2006
PhD (2012): Tall building policy making and implementation in central London: Visual impacts on regionally protected views from 2000 to 2008

LSE Research Studentship (2010-2011)
AHRC Doctoral Award (2007-2010)
LSE Research Studentship (2006-2007)

Research Interests:
Tall Buildings; British town planning; Interest advocacy in policy making and implementation; Assessment of Urban & Architectural Design Quality; Interpretive qualitative analysis and fieldwork.

Background: Juergen studied at Fachhochschule Regensburg in Germany where he obtained his first professional degree (Dipl.-Ing.) in architecture. Funded by the German-American Fulbright Commission and the Institute of International Education, he subsequently studied for a post-graduate Master of Architecture at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in the USA. As an architect, he has worked for private offices in Germany, Switzerland, and the UK.

Olivia Muñoz-Rojas Oscarsson

Munoz-Rojas-OscarssonEnrolled: October 2005
PhD (2009): War-time destruction and post-war urban reconstruction: case studies of Barcelona, Bilbao and Madrid in the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath
Funder: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) '+3' Studentship (EU student), LSE Research Studentship (2005-2006; 2007-2008; 2008-2009)

Research interests: Urban history, social and political theory, visual culture, art history.

Background: Olivia studied Political Science at Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain) (1996-2001) and Uppsala University (Sweden) (1995-1996). She took courses in Art History at Lund University (Sweden) (2001) and completed a Master in Humanities and Social Thought at the New York University (2002-2004). She has been a research assistant and researcher for institutions in Madrid, Barcelona and London, including the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (2001), the Open University of Catalonia (2004-2005), and the BURA (2007). She was awarded her PhD in May 2009.

Iliana Ortega-Alcázar

Resear2_smallEnrolled: October 2003   
PhD (2008): Brick by brick: building families and houses in Mexico City. Family practices in the consolidated irregular settlement of Santo Domingo.

Research interests:
urban sociology/family practices/ethnography

Iliana Ortega Alcázar studied Sociology at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and at New York University (NYU). She then completed an MSc in City Design and Social Sciences at the London School of Economics. Iliana has worked as a researcher at the Instituto Nacional de Estudios Históricos de la Revolución Mexicana (INEHRM) and for the LSE Urban Age, Mexico City Project.

Update (2013): Research Associate, Department of Geography, Queen Mary, University of London. 

Susan Parham

Resear3_smallEnrolled: October 2002   
PhD (2009): Exploring London's food quarters: urban design and social process in three food-centred spaces.  The study hypothesis posits connections between the urban design of particular places and the existence of food relationships that may contribute to sustainable life in cities. Using a case study approach the work explores a complex spatial continuum from food deserts to fully realised food quarters.
Funder: Mix of self funding and funded by employer

Research interests
: urban design, urbanism; gastronomy, sociology of food; urban sociology, political economy of the city, sustainability, governance.

Update (2013): Head of Urbanism, University of Hertfordshire’s Centre for Sustainable Communities (CSC).

Background: Susan Parham has a first degree in political science, with postgraduate qualifications in town planning and more recently a master's degree in urban design from the University of Westminster, UK. She was a director of the UK based consultancy firm CAG Consultants, which specialises in projects focused on regeneration, sustainability and stakeholder engagement.

Susan is a member of the Board of the Council for European Urbanism (C.E.U.), which is dedicated to the pursuit of humane urbanism in Europe's cities, towns, and villages and to protecting its countryside from sprawl (www.ceunet.org ).  Susan acts as a design juror, most recently for the University of Bologna's Architecture School (www.unibo.it ), for the Congress for the New Urbanism's 2006 charter awards (www.cnu.org ), and as a charrette leader in Norway and Romania under the auspices of INTBAU (www.intbau.org ).  Susan is also an occasional urban design lecturer at the University of Greenwich.  She has been appointed as an academician for the Academy of Urbanism (www.academyofurbanism.org.uk ), a member of the Department of Community and Local Government's City and Regional Policy Development Panel and is a member of the SDC's Sustainable Development Panel.   

Attila Szanto

AttilaEnrolled: October 2004
PhD (2010): Narrating the Urban in Contemporary Budapest
LSE Research Studentship, British Journal of Sociology, German Academic Exchange Service.

Research interests:
Urban design and social life; place and identity; narratives of everyday life; post-socialist cities; visual and qualitative research methods.

Background: Attila studied sociology at the Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, and photography at the State Academy of Photographic Design, Munich. He then completed an MSc in City Design and Social Science at the LSE. Attila has been a research assistant at the Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR). He worked for LSE Cities, where he co-authored a report on the Bristol Welcome Points Survey, prepared for Lacock Gullam's Bristol Legible City Survey. Attila also worked as a part-time Lecturer at the Institute of Sociology, Eötvös Loránd University Budapest, as a project manager for the Chamber of Handicrafts of Munich and Upper Bavaria, and as a freelance journalist for sueddeutsche.de.

Ricardo de Vasconcelos

Enrolled: October 2002
MPhil (2011): Design of urban space: the case of Parque das Nações 1993-2005

Research interests: Urban design; Urbanism and architecture; (Social aspects of) public space; Residential environments; Urban regeneration

Background: Ricardo Cruz de Vasconcelos was born in Porto, Portugal in 1971. He studied Architecture at the University of Porto and at the Milan Polytechnic School in Italy. After working as an architect in practices in Porto and London he joined the Cities Programme at the London School of Economics and Political Science.