PREFIGURE: addressing the housing / energy precarity nexus
We are looking for a PhD candidate to contribute to the research project PREFIGURE, which explores to what extend the demand for energy transition and the related social, political, economic and ecological practices, can address housing inequality and energy poverty. Project Summary
: In this challenging social, political and economic context, PREFIGURE
puts the spotlight on existing and emerging individual and collective efforts to actively produce alternative and innovative practices triggering a more just and sustainable housing security and energy transition. The project aims at identifying, tracing, analysing and networking emerging and active ‘prototypes of change’
with regard to the housing-energy efficiency/energy poverty nexus
. Such ‘prototypes of change’ are an array of structured social, political and economic practices of innovation contributing to affordable housing renovation schemes, and solution concepts targeting housing inequalities favouring vulnerable households and communities. Background
: Access to affordable housing is a crucial challenge for many million tenants across Europe, affecting exceptionally women-led single-parent households, ethnic minorities, refugees, and other non-privileged groups with low income. The recent sharp increase in energy prices has consolidated existing social vulnerabilities. The result is that energy poverty and housing inequalities are mutually reinforcing each other. Furthermore, homeowners and professional housing companies are also facing substantial financial constraints because of the need to conduct fast, large-scale deep renovations of the existing housing stock to achieve higher energy efficiency, which has now a lower profitability and higher financing costs, due to increased interest rates. The PhD candidate:
will be supervised by Prof. Maria Kaika & Dr. Mendel Giezen. The candidate will be embedded in the research group Urban Planning (UP) in the Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies (GPIO) at the University of Amsterdam. The PhD position is also embedded in the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research (AISSR), which hosts the PhD programme. What will you do
As a PhD candidate, you will be an integral part of the PREFIGURE project. In PREFIGURE, the University of Amsterdam research team will take the lead in theorizing the housing/energy nexus and in developing a methodology to scrutinize active and emerging prototypes of change; these will be social, political and economic practices of innovation in delivering energy and housing that contribute to affordable housing renovation schemes and favour vulnerable households and communities. The project aims to provide in-depth understanding of these incentives, of what drives them of how and why they evolve and if and how they can be scaled up.
As a PhD candidate, you will help develop the theoretical and methodological framework. You will also apply it to two case studies (one in the Netherlands, the second to be defined). You will cooperate with the project’s international partners. You will conduct fieldwork, data collection and analysis in both case studies, using qualitative and quantitative research methods (e.g. a survey that will need to be developed and implemented by all partners collaboratively).
Together with prof. dr. Maria Kaika and dr. Mendel Giezen, you will participate in many international workshops and meetings organized by the project partners and will contribute to several of the work packages of the project.
This requires good language, communication and cooperation skills, a drive for learning and for developing new skills and a willingness to travel. Your tasks
What we are looking for
- Write and complete a PhD dissertation within three and a half years maximum, which will include:
- The development of an analytical framework for researching the project’s prototypes
- Contribution to developing a conceptual framework on the housing/energy transition nexus
- Conducting fieldwork and comparative research
- Positioning your research within international academic and societal debates
- Take the lead in authoring academic articles and project reports
- Participate in the UvA's PhD training program;
- Assist in the (under)graduate education programmes of our department (10% teaching);
- Join the research group of UP which includes seminars and workshops;
- Travel for fieldwork but also for international conferences, workshops, seminars and other scholarly activities.
We are looking for a driven and enthusiastic candidate who has a passion for doing research and is keen on doing fieldwork and on working on issues within the nexus of Housing and Energy. The successful candidate should have:
- a masters degree in geography, urban studies, political ecology, urban and regional planning, or another related field.
- a particular interest in issues of political ecology and/or housing
- an interest in conducting fieldwork and rigorous empirical research conduct.
- some prior experience in primary data collection and analysis (e.g. masters degree with a research-based dissertation element).
- an interest in conceptual work
- good writing skills in English.
- Ability to adjust to different and unexpected conditions, work across disciplinary boundaries, and find creative solutions to emerging research problems.