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5 May 2019

PhD Programme in Urban Planning, Design and Policy (UPDP) |
Politecnico di Milano PhD School

Milan, Italy
APPLICATION DEADLINE | 21 May 2019, 2.00 pm (Italian time zone)
SCHOLARSHIPS: 7 (+ 2 additional positions)
• Politecnico di Milano
• Politecnico di Milano PhD School 
• DAStU - Department of Architecture and Urban Studies

The PhD Programme in Urban Planning, Design and Policy was initiated in 2013 through the merging of two earlier programmes both based in the Department of Architecture and Urban Studies. This is one of the most important departments in Italy in the field of urban studies, integrated in a strong international network of academic institutions. As one of 180 departments selected and financed by the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research for the "Departments of Excellence" initiative, the Department of Architecture and Urban Studies in the five-year period 2018-2022 will focus its efforts on the issue of territorial fragility. The PhD programme in Urban Planning, Design and Policy benefits from this rich research environment and aims at training young researchers in the field of urban studies according to the best international standards. Over the last six years, twelve PhD candidates have graduated and five more are expected to do so in 2019.

The PhD Programme in Urban Planning, Design and Policy aims at exploring the significance and impact of contemporary urban changes and understanding the way these changes can be governed through planning, design and policy-making activities. The programme pays specific attention to recent spatial, environmental, social and economic dynamics taking place in urban contexts, as well as to pro-active advancements in planning practices and to potential innovations in traditional urban studies, urban design and policy making. Based on a multidisciplinary approach, the main objective of both the educational programme and the individual research training is to offer PhD candidates a challenging environment with space for international debate, research, experimentation and innovation.
The main courses and workshops are focused on the following areas:

• Urban changes. Contemporary cities are worldwide confronted with increasing challenges regarding social inequality, local democracy, environmental, social and economic sustainability, and cultural diversity. The main issues addressed are: social, economic, environmental and territorial transformations; technological change that cities are facing; social and political innovation strategies.
• Planning theories and practices. Different planning fields and cultures are explored through a critical and comparative approach. The main issues addressed are: paradigms, traditions and innovations in planning theory; land use planning and its relationship with citizenship and justice; comparative studies about planning systems; the relationship between planning theory and practice; visioning and the strategic dimension in plans, policies and projects.
• Design topics, forms and tools. Theoretical and technical issues for the construction of urban projects and the implementation of public policies are addressed through specific research themes. The main themes addressed are: the role and form of urban projects in driving territorial change; innovations in the descriptions and representations of cities and landscapes; evaluation and management of urban projects to balance the financial feasibility of land development with land protection, biodiversity, and energy saving.

According to its international orientation, the programme intends to train highly qualified researchers and professionals. They are all expected to work worldwide in academic institutions, research centres, public administrations and the private sector in the following fields: spatial planning; design and management of urban and landscape projects; urban policies and urban studies.


Proposals covering the following topics are encouraged:
• Multiple institutional levels and land-use issues: the case of infrastructure.
• Preventing fragility where it could arise: the school squares.
• Planning in the face of financialisation.
• After implementation: a retrospective research on policies and their effects.
• Architects, Engineers, Planners: how do the changing urban conditions
require to re-design research and professional profiles?
• Spatial mobilities in contemporary cities: practices, politics, projects.
Understanding and managing the deep interwining of urban mobility and socio-spatial transformations.
• Urban Form Resilience. Exploring the link between the spatial configurationof places and their ability to adapt and support societal and environmental changes.
• New structures of spatial and socio-economic inequalities, local welfare
policies and labour market: social justice, social cohesion, redistribution, social investment, sustainability, transformations in the labour market and space implications.
• Ageing in different urban contexts, between autonomy and support: issues in housing, care, mobility and social relations.
• Beyond city-ism and metropolitan-ism: new spatial imaginaries, emerging
forms of agencies and the necessity of interrelated and transcalar approaches to governance problems in large urban regions.
• Changes in migrations and the cities: policies, practices, places of hospitality, integration, inclusion.

Applicants may also apply to five thematic scholarships, designed for students who wish to conduct research in specific subfields of urban studies:
1. Assessing and mitigating damage due to natural hazards and climate change to support land use and urban planning
2. The effects of cohesion policy on the socio-economic territorial fragilities (weaknesses). Institutions, government quality and regional growth
3. Between metropolitan areas and inner peripheries: the fragility of average medium size cities
4. Digitizing strategies for enhancing heritage and cultural landscape in fragile areas
5. The impact of electric mobility on urban transformations

Applicants are requested to fill out the online application form and attach the required documents by May 21th 2019, 2 pm (Italian time zone).

The PhD Program in Urban Planning, Design and Policy welcomes foreign and Italian students.
• English is the official language of the program.
• All candidates will be admitted with the basic departmental scholarships, and the specific research subject will be assigned, with the agreement of the candidate and the Board of Professors of the PhD Programme, within the first years of the PhD activity.

UPDP Webpage on the PhD School - POLIMI Website
• UPDP Webpage on DAStU Website
• 35th CYCLE Ph.D. CALL 2019/2020 - POLIMI Website       

• Prof. Luca Gaeta | PhD Programme Coordinator 
• arch. PhD Giulia Fini | PhD Tutor 

PhD Office at POLIMI School of Doctoral Programs

PhD Office at DAStU
• Dr. Marina Bonaventura
T. +39.02.2399.5165
• Dr. Marilena Mastalli 
T. +39.02.2399. 5405