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The two PhD candidates will work on the ERC Starting Grant project CoChina “Collaborative Planning in China: Authoritarian Institutions, New Media, Power Relations, and Public Spheres”. The CoChina project is a 5-year research project funded by the European Research Council (ERC), and directed by Dr Yanliu Lin at the Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Utrecht University. The project team is part of Spatial Planning Group within the Urban Futures programme of the department.

Collaborative planning has recently emerged in China to address conflicts of interest in urban renewal and environmental management. The internet is an influential platform that provides opportunities for the interactions between the government and citizens. However, the egalitarian principles that ground the collaborative planning theory call into question its validity in China. The aim of this project is to examine collaborative planning practices in China and identify the challenges to the assumptions of the theory about institutions, power relations, and public spheres. This ERC project will lead to a new understanding of collaborative planning in China, and a reconceptualization of collaborative planning theory to fit authoritarian contexts.

PhD Project 1
This PhD project focuses on institutions. It will critically analyze the extent to which policies, planning systems, social and cultural capital influence the interactions between various stakeholders and actors in collaborative planning in different local contexts in China. It will also examine whether new regulations, planning mechanisms, and social and cultural capital are created in the interactive processes. The PhD candidate will conduct theoretical and empirical research, and closely collaborate with other team members of the project. You should have knowledge of collaborative/participatory planning and (in)formal institutions in China. Expertise in the influence of new media on urban planning is a plus. You have research experience in critical discourse analysis and fieldwork (especially semi-structured interviews in China).

Main activities include, but are not limited to:

  • develop an excellent PhD proposal within the context of the project and based on academic literature;
  • conceptualize and critically analyze the relations between collaborative planning and institutional contexts in China;
  • conduct in-depth fieldwork in Chinese cities (collection of policy/project documents and semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders);
  • apply critical discourse analysis and other methods to analyze the collected data;
  • publish results in scientific journals and present them at international conferences;
  • complete a PhD thesis within four years;
  • contribute to the organization of workshops, a conference and other project activities;
  • teaching duties within the Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning (0.1 FTE/year).

PhD Project 2
This PhD project focuses on power relations. It will critically analyze various forms of power relations between governments, citizens and other actors/stakeholders. The PhD candidate will conduct theoretical and empirical research, and closely collaborate with other team members of the project. You should have knowledge of collaborative/participatory planning and power relations in China. You also have research experience in data mining (e.g. skills of programming, web scraping), data analysis, social network analysis, and stakeholder analysis.

Main activities include, but are not limited to:

  • develop an excellent proposal within the context of the project and based on academic literature;
  • conceptualize power relations in collaborative planning in China;
  • conduct data mining via social media, websites, and other online platforms;
  • analyze various forms of power relations between government, citizens and other actors/stakeholders, particularly generated by online social networks;
  • publish results in scientific journals and present them at international conferences;
  • complete a PhD thesis within four years;
  • contribute to the organization of workshops, a conference and other project activities;
  • teaching duties within the Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning (0.1 FTE/year).

Qualifications

We seek highly motivated PhD candidates who fit the requirements, with:

  • a Master’s degree in urban planning, media studies, public administration, geography or a related field;
  • an interest in academic theory development and theory application;
  • competence in writing academic papers (evident from your Master’s thesis and/or other publications);
  • an excellent command of written and spoken English and Mandarin;
  • the ability to work autonomously, and to develop, implement and complete plans within the framework of the project and the given time frame;
  • a teamplayer, with the ability to collaborate with other team members and external partners in the project;
  • an open mind, a proactive attitude and the ability to think critically;
  • strong social and communicative skills.

Offer

You will be offered a full-time PhD position, initially for one year with extension to a total of four years upon a successful assessment in the first year, and with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period. The gross salary ranges between €2,395 in the first year and €3,061 in the fourth year (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year. In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions  external link (multiple choice model). More information about working at Utrecht University  external linkcan be found here.

About the organisation

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University  external link, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

Utrecht University’s Faculty of Geosciences  external linkstudies the Earth: from the Earth’s core to its surface, including man’s spatial and material utilisation of the Earth – always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the Faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty of Geosciences is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.

The Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning focuses on the enhancement of long-term economic developments of cities, how to cope with social inequalities, and how to accelerate sustainability transitions of cities and infrastructures. Research on these topics takes place within our research programme “Urban Futures: Transitions Towards Economic and Social Sustainability for Cities”. Within the department, the Spatial Planning Group addresses the increasingly complex governance challenges in planning, developing and operating urban systems in line with sustainability goals in an international context. Specific attention is given to the role of technical infrastructures in urban/regional governance and urban planning.

Our research programme is closely related to our Research Masters in Urban and Economic Geography and in Geographical Information Management and Applications and with the Professional Masters in Spatial Planning, Human Geography and International Development Studies. The Department also runs a large and highly appreciated Bachelor’s programme and is part of the Netherlands Graduate School of Urban and Regional Research for PhD candidates. Unique characteristics of the department are a special team focusing on innovations within teaching methods, its strong involvement in the transdisciplinary sustainability research theme and professional consultancy for public partners.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact:
Dr Yanliu Lin  external link(Assistant Professor), via y.lin@uu.nl  external link.

Apply

Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, a letter of motivation, digital copies of university degrees, and additional documents (Master’s thesis and/or a key publication) via the ‘apply’ button below.

The application deadline is 31 January 2021.

APPLY NOW EXTERNAL LINK

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