PhD Heritage zoning and population dynamics

PhD Heritage zoning and population dynamics

Published Deadline Location
15 Feb 1 Apr Delft

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Job description

This PhD research project will analyse the relation between heritage zoning and trends of population decline and growth in urban contexts. Heritage zoning is assumed to enable conservation, and consequently, to a certain degree, constrain society to further develop, and help prevent effects such as population decline, social segregation and musealization. In times of unprecedented demographic shifts, this research develops a novel framework to classify protected areas with respect to their level of urbanization, and reveal the current relation between heritage zoning and trends of population dynamics.

Specific focus will be to 1. classify cities according to their heritage zoning (e.g. core, buffer) in relation to surrounding urban areas, 2. classify cities according to their trends of population dynamics; in order to 3. compare and define trends on the relation between heritage zoning and population decline and growth.

The research will bring together heritage, planning, geographical and urban development aspects. The empirical part of the project will consist of a global research, using the UNESCO World Heritage List as sample, with validation in two case studies, Tel Aviv and Rome. The other case studies in this network will be used for comparative cases to address specific issues e.g. differences between cities with and without World Heritage properties, to validate the theoretical assumption that these cities are better managed, for their exposure to international recommendations and best practices in heritage zoning. The point of departure will be the update of the existing GIS on World Heritage properties, between 1978-2010, with the recent nominations, between 2010 and 2017.

The PhD candidate will have the opportunity to pursue three secondments. The first secondment is planned at DLR, Germany. This secondment will focus on training and data gathering. The second and third secondments are planned for the case studies; respectively, at Bezalel Academy and Roma3 University.

This PhD candidate is part of a group of 15 PhD candidates forming the ITN HERILAND, "Cultural Heritage and the Planning of European Landscapes", and of a group of 3 PhD candidates addressing the key challenge: Shifting Demographies.

The HERILAND project is funded by the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 813883. The first three years are to be funded by the ITN Marie Curie Program-Heriland project, and the fourth with complementary funding. For further information on Heriland, partners and other vacancies, see Applications for more than one position are allowed.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


The ideal candidate

  • has an academic background, preferably Masters in Architecture / Urbanism, Anthropology, Sociology, and/or Computer Sciences, with knowledge in digital mapping, data analysis, and (semantic) content analysis;
  • has proven interest in the topic of the study through previously conducted research activities. Earlier experiences in researching community engagement and/or heritage will be favoured;
  • has past research experience, by means of scientific publications e.g. conference papers, journal articles, book chapters;
  • has proven knowledge of English and Italian, including good communication and writing skills e.g. Tofel or equivalent, Master studies conducted in English;
  • has experience in managing research projects, from developing proposal to ensuring its completion;
  • has experience in succesful working in a team; has a team spirit.

And preferably:

  • is internationally-oriented, has past experience in varied cultures and/or countries;
  • has past experience in integrating both quantitative and qualitative methods;
  • has past experience in working interdisciplinary, and/or integrating interdisciplinary teams;
  • has past and present experience in acquiring funding to support education and/or research projects, including for the current project.  

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) is a multifaceted institution offering education and carrying out research in the technical sciences at an internationally recognised level. Education, research and design are strongly oriented towards applicability. TU Delft develops technologies for future generations, focusing on sustainability, safety and economic vitality. At TU Delft you will work in an environment where technical sciences and society converge. TU Delft comprises eight faculties, unique laboratories, research institutes and schools.


Faculty Architecture & the Built Environment

Since its foundation 110 years ago, the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment has built up a solid international reputation for training architects, urban planners and designers, as well as for its research portfolio and coaching of PhD candidates. With around 2600 students and 500 staff members, with around 230 FTEs devoted to academic positions, our faculty is one of the largest of Delft University of Technology and one of the most prestigious architecture and the built environment faculties globally. Traditionally, the faculty has prioritised high-quality training in design and research in the field of the built environment. Over 40 chairs cover a wide range of academic areas in design, process and technology, which together cover the entire field of the built environment. The faculty has a budget of around €38 million, of which approximately €7 million is sourced indirectly and from contracts with third parties.

The Department of Architectural Engineering + Technology provides education and performs scientific research in the field of building technology related to building design. It positions itself as an important player in the integration of design and engineering. The core areas of interest are façade design, structural design, climate design, and computational design with an important focus on sustainability. The section Heritage and Architecture focuses on the design projects of the built heritage and is responsible for research and education in restoration and transformation of existing cultural heritage, from conservation techniques to interventions in architecture and its surroundings. In all design projects in an existing context, the past plays a more or less important role. The section has three interrelated chairs, each with its own specific area of expertise: Heritage and Technology, Heritage and Design, and Heritage and Values.

The Chair of Heritage and Values focuses on further understanding heritage, the values that define heritage, such as cultural, social, ecological, and economic; and how they impact the sustainability of cities. One of the main goals is to define, develop, and test new integrated assessment frameworks to better monitor and strengthen heritage conservation worldwide.


  • PhD
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • max. €2325 per month
  • University graduate
  • BK2019/04


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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