Research Students

Abed, Ahmad M

Project title

An evaluation of affordable housing policies and strategies in Saudi Arabia, Case study of Jeddah City

Project abstract

audi Arabia has grown rapidly in recent years. This urbanization process has gone through massive economic development and population growth in a very short period of time. This has further affected all sectors in Saudi Arabia, especially the housing market as the residential sector specifically has struggled to adapt to the realities of these changes. Consequently, the Saudi 9th 5-Year National Development Plan from 2010-2014, stated that, “The housing sector in the Kingdom faces several issues and challenges, including, adequacy of supply of housing units, rate of home ownership, prevailing price and rent levels for housing units, and availability of finance for housing and residential land”. Therefore, this study will seek to identify the critical drivers that influence the development of affordable housing solutions in Saudi Arabia from both a planning policy and socio-cultural perspective.

Supervisors

Professor Neil Dunse & Professor Colin Jones


Bondinuba, Francis

Project title

The Role of Microfinance as an Innovative Strategy for Low-income Housing delivery in Developing Countries

Project abstract

The low-income demographics (LIDs) segment in DCs often experience challenges such as unemployment and poverty which result in the shortage and unsatisfactory conditions in their housing. Efforts to overcome them are constrained by factors such as ineffective housing policies and lack of access to finance. To address the above requires innovative financial models such as Housing microfinance (HMF). However, most Microfinance institutions (MFIs) often shy away from such markets. This study seeks to identify and evaluate the motivations behind MFIs intention to enter into the housing market (HM) with HMF to meet the housing needs of LIDs in Ghana. Adopting a mixed method approach, a model of intention is developed using the Push-Pull-Mooring framework to explained MFIs intention to enter into the HM. The study unearthed the social, economic and sustainability dimensions as the motivations behind MFIs entry into the HM. The study would serve as a useful source with new thoughts for stakeholders in developing alternative financing strategies for low-income housing delivery.

Supervisors

Professor Mark Stephens and Professor Colin A. Jones


Brunelli, Luca

Project title

Everyday life and Older People’s Well‐being in Local High Streets. A study of Local Town Centres in Edinburgh.

Project abstract

Local High Streets have always been a focus of activity in UK towns and cities. For many older people their public realm offers a chance to be connected to the community and to participate in local civic and social life, providing access to commercial and community services. By taking three local town centres in Edinburgh as multiple case study, my research explores how these locales are supportive for the well-being of older adults. Four main dimensions of well-being emerged from the analysis of the ethnographic data collected: social interaction, autonomy, sense of place and aesthetic enjoyment. The discussion highlights those aspects of policies and regulations that may contribute to improve the design and management of local high streets in order to sustain everyday well-being of older adults ageing in place.

Supervisors

Dr Harry Smith and Dr Ryan Woolrych


Chen, Yiyi

Project title

Social and Spatial Dimensions of Working Long Hours: Effects on Health Inequalities

Project abstract

Western research has shown that working long hours may have profound health and wellbeing implications. The conventional Danwei organization, and the bureaucratic state-based working hour allocation systems were thought to limit the adverse health and wellbeing effects of working long hours for urban workers in pre-reform China. In the context of the market-oriented reforms in post-reform China, an unintended long working hour consequence for urban workers including migrant workers in cities is the degradation of health and wellbeing conditions.

This paper uses data from a large scale 2013 individual survey in Beijing to examine the effect of having a regular working hour life style (8 hours per day, 5 days per week) on self-rated health outcomes in the context of a Chinese mega-city. The survey reported one’s self-rated health, on which we can base our perceived health assessment. The results show that having a regular working hour life style is significantly associated with better health outcomes in post-reform urban China, whereas individuals working more than 5 days per week have a significantly higher risk of poor self-rated health. This effect was more obvious after controlling for neighbourhood built environment characteristics. This association tends to be stronger among private-sector urban workers than among those who are migrant workers and employed in state sectors. Importantly, perceived health implications of those who worked longer than 5 days per week tend to be varied with housing types, access to social infrastructure and commuting patterns Findings of this study clarify the importance of conceptualizing social and spatial dimensions of working long hours into consideration and designing work-life balance policies.

Supervisors

Dr Wenjie Wu and Prof Mark Stephens


Gardner, Alan

Project title

The True Cost of Owning and Managing Commercial Property in the UK

Project abstract

The project will define and publish a range of aggregated expenditure variables leading to more realistic measures of commercial property investment performance. These variables will include, but not be limited to, the true costs of maintenance and environmental issues. We will seek to open up various areas of research that can build on the initial results. The intention is to make the research relevant and usable to industry practitioners by combining theoretical research techniques with substantial practical experience in how such research is integrated in the investment planning process at portfolio and asset levels. Given the challenges resulting from the scale of refurbishment required to meet environmental/sustainability standards and other issues, we explore how various forms of anticipated expenditure will impact on expected returns over the medium term. This is particularly relevant given the expected level of long-term real interest rates and related squeeze on estimated IRR’s that commercial property faces.

Supervisors

Professor Colin Jones and Professor Neil Dunse


Liu, Chenxi

Project title

Analyse and Evaluate the Performance of Eco-community Using Ecological Footprint Assessment

Project abstract

Human and environment constitute the main part of ecological community. To achieve sustainability in an ecological community, not only the building itself has to meet the requirement of green building evaluation such as BREEAM, but also the residents’ life has to be sustainable. Using Ecological Footprint Assessment (EFA) to evaluate the eco-community in the aspects of building Life Cycle Assessment will make it comparable to other assessed eco-communities. The result of EF figures make it comparable for different projects in different places. Therefore, the strength and weakness in energy-efficiency for a certain eco-community can be determined by compare to other project with EF result.
The study will focus on developing an assessment method to analyse and evaluate the performance of eco-community by referring to other reports about EFA methods, such as BedZED, Findhorn community and Steward Community Woodland.

Supervisors

Dr Fionn MacKillop and Dr Fan Wang


Miret Garcia, Ana

Project title

Exploration of Public Space Vitality in new non-central residential areas. Case studies in Madrid and Edinburgh.

Project abstract

My research explores the role of streets in contemporary residential neighbourhoods. It aims to examine the flourishing of street and neighbourhood vitality in new residential areas, and the role that vitality plays in resident’s everyday life. I understand street vitality as a goal to achieve by urban design through the concentration of diverse people and activities (Jacobs 1961, Montgomery 1998). This definition contrast with contemporary city life in the Western countries, which is increasingly being organized through homogeneous, enclosed and private networks (Sennett 1974, Carmona 2010) in which streets are losing their traditional purpose as social spaces of necessarily passing-through and of casual encounters between everyday activities. In this context, my work explores the case of large urban design residential projects in which certain design preconditions for vitality (such as mixed use provision or compactness) have been considered. I will develop a new definition of urban and public space vitality which will incorporate three different perspectives. Firstly, the point of view of professionals which have been involved in the planning, design and implementation processes; secondly, the point of view of local entrepreneurs; finally, the experience of local residents in their everyday lives.

Supervisors

Dr Caroline Brown and Dr Ryan Woolrych


Mostafa, Abdulkader Omar

Project title

The Financial Returns for Buying versus Renting: The experience of first time buyers in different regions of the UK, 1975-2011

Project abstract

This research estimates the financial returns from leveraged buying versus renting for the first-time buyers (FTB) as at 2012 over the period from 1975 to 2011 in eleven regions. The empirical analysis uses the net present value (NPV) approach to measure the created wealth per each pound invested in buying (initial outlay). The analysis is based on financial simulations (using a comprehensive financial model) of individuals that buy in every possible year over the period from 1975 to 2011 in eleven regions. It aims to investigate whether the FTBs in Britain have created wealth or not. It also investigates the impact of capital gains on the overall return over time. The research examines the relationship between the returns and the state of the housing market by comparing the returns at booms and busts of the housing cycles. The research finally explores the historical breakeven year for all FTBs over time.

Supervisors

Professor Colin Jones and Professor Neil Dunse


O’Loghlen, Aisling

Project title

The nexus of displacement and urbanisation: assessing the vulnerability levels of the refugee and urban slum populations in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Project abstract

The research examines the resilience strategies of the urban refugee and Tanzanian populations who inhabit the informal settlements of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The asset vulnerability framework acts as the foundation for assessing their vulnerabilities and coping strategies in the context of an informal urban setting.

Supervisors

Dr. Christopher McWilliams and Dr. Michael Gormley


Oyedokun, Tunbosun

Project title

Evolution and Impact of a ‘Green’ Office Submarket

Project abstract

As global concerns about the carbon footprint of cities and buildings persist, commercial offices have become a sector of focus on the global agenda for sustainability. Consequently, many standards have been introduced to ensure sustainability in buildings. However, the solution is not in simply building new offices to a green standard but also in the greening of the existing stock through refurbishment or redevelopment. Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) was established in 1990 as the first environmental scheme in the United Kingdom. While the initial adoption of the label was slow, there has been significant increase in the number of BREEAM-certified offices in the last decade. This research therefore aims to (1) assess the extent to which (sub)markets for green offices have been established in the UK; (2) evaluate financial performance of green offices as potential driver of investment and (3) examine the (greening) impact of green office markets on the non-labelled offices.

Supervisors

Professor Neil Dunse and Professor Colin Jones


Stephenson, Adam

Project title

Lost worlds of welfare: Local homelessness systems in England

Project abstract

In England, the main response to homelessness is generally considered to be the statutory homelessness system. A series of nationally initiated and locally implemented measures have since been added to this system, including the Rough Sleeping Initiatives, the prevention approach and more recently, localisation.
The research will adapt the nationally focused welfare-housing regime framework to examine the evolution and divergence of localized and systematic responses to homelessness. The paper hypothesizes that emergence and divergence of local welfare regimes. The hypothesis supposes that local regimes will be centered on the local authority, but will also other local policy actors such as welfare, housing, health, criminal justice and civic society. The hypothesized local welfare regimes will mediate national welfare, housing and homeless policy according to local priorities through the provision and commissioning of services. There services will form a localized system of services that are connected via local policy, culture and practice.

Supervisors

Professor Mark Stephens and Dr Beth Watts


Tsachageas, Panagiotis

Project title

Housing Policy and Outcomes in Southeastern Europe: Bulgaria and Greece compared

Project abstract

This PhD Research focuses on the systemic structure and functioning analysis of the Southeastern European Housing Regimes. Housing research in the region has been relatively limited as fairly contextual and mainly exhausted on describing or justifying socio-political ‘idiosyncrasies’. Recognizing the uniqueness of Housing as a multi-disciplinary field (Policies, Outcomes etc.), this analysis adopts a theoretical and research combined multi-approach. Through such a perspective, the Southeastern European Housing Systems can be effectively incorporated in broader comparative Housing Studies.
To this research end, Bulgaria and Greece have been selected as case studies to be examined in comparison. Coming from historically differentiated socio-political structural backgrounds, the two countries present significant systemic similarities in Housing. More importantly, during the last decade pronounced socio-political and financial challenges have strongly affected Housing in all its aspects and in multiple ways, bring the debate for its future evolution to the forefront.

Supervisors

Professor Mark Stephens and Professor Glen Bramley