PhD Position ‘The Sustainable Turn in Urbanism' – historical research track
Last modification : Monday, June 20, 2022
The Department of Architecture (www. architecture.kuleuven.be) is part of the
Science and Technology Group at KU Leuven and coordinates the research on
(interior) architecture, urbanism and spatial planning at the the Faculty of
Architecture (Brussels and Gent) and the Faculty of Engineering (Leuven).
The Department enjoys an international reputation and currently counts more
than 150 (international) PhD students. The doctoral researcher will be part
of the research groups P.PUL (Planning for People, Urbanity and Landscape;
www. ppulresearch-kuleuven.be) and Architectural Cultures of the Recent Past
(ARP); www. arp-researchgroup.be).
The PhD is part of the research project ‘The Sustainable Turn in Urbanism.
Past and Future Interactions between Ecology, Urban Design and Participation
in Brussels'. In the Brussels Capital Region, pressing urgencies such as
housing seem to come at the detriment of nature and biodiversity, and vice
versa. This leads to ongoing discussions between governmental agencies, action
committees, designers/planners and other societal actors. Focusing on tensions
between social and ecological goals, as well as between governmental
institutions and action committees, this research studies the history of
participation and urbanism, while instrumentalizing design in contemporary
discussions on Brussels. Thus, it brings together history and design in an
‘The Sustainable Turn in Urbanism' consists of two parallel PhD tracks that
are expected to closely collaborate. A first PhD researcher will examine the
genealogy of socio-ecological interaction in Brussels since the 1960s, by
interrogating the legacy of the various historical actors that are still
active in Brussels today. It will be supervised by prof. Bruno Notteboom, dr.
Koenraad Danneels and prof. Sven Sterken. The second PhD researcher will
deploy research-by-design methods in dealing with the tensions between built
and open space, and social and ecological challenges, under the supervision of
prof. Martion Tattara, prof. Bruno Notteboom and prof. Sven Sterken. Both
research tracks are part of a joint research framework in interaction with
societal stakeholders (action committees and governmental institutions) in
round table sessions, and design and research labs. Apart from academic
publications and two PhD thesis, the outcome of the project includes an
exhibition and a conference.
This particular vacancy concerns the historical research track.The research is
based on archival material and oral sources related to the actors involved
(BRAL, ARAU, Inter-Environnement, Bruxelles Environnement, Perspective
Brussels and more) and on published material, framed by theoretical insights
from the environmental humanities, design and planning theory and history, and
(history of) participation and related fields. The research concerns also
the interpretation of historical design strategies (such as the
counterproject), and the actions and discourses of the actors involved.
We are looking for an outstanding candidate who is passionate about
(historical) research. You are the ideal candidate if you:
have obtained a masters degree and can show proof of a strong interest in
research in architecture, architectural theory/history, landscape
architecture, urban design, urbanism, (art) history, environmental
humanities or equivalent;
have distinguished yourself during your studies, academic career or
professional life (to be demonstrated by means of distinctions,
achievements, or endorsements);
are able to show proof of you writing skills by means of an article, book
chapter or masters thesis;
know how to organize yourself, and don't mind working under pressure or
function well in an interdisciplinary team but are also able to work
have a good command of French and Dutch (for archival research and
interaction with stakeholders) and English (language of the research and
Apart from carrying out the research for the project in close cooperation with
the supervisors, your job will consist of:
following the doctoral training at the Faculty of Architecture;
contributing to teaching at masters level in the supervisors' classes and
publishing your research in academic journals and books, and presenting it
at international conferences;
engaging in general services for the department (for example: surveying
of exams, assisting in the organization of events, ...);
organizing international research meetings, a conference and an
exhibition, with the PhD researcher in the parallel research track.
We offer a full-time appointment in a doctoral fellowship in a creative and
dynamic work environment. You will be appointed for the duration of 1 year,
extendable to a maximum of 4 years in total (depending on positive interim
evaluations). You will be based at the Faculty of Architecture, campus Sint-
Lucas Brussels and Ghent. Candidates are expected to start on November 1st
2022 or on the earliest alternative date agreed upon with the supervisors.
For more information please contact prof. Bruno Notteboom
(firstname.lastname@example.org), dr. Koenraad Danneels
(email@example.com) and/or prof. Sven Sterken
(firstname.lastname@example.org). Please be aware that we might not be able to
answer to your emails during the month of July 2022.
Candidates are kindly invited to apply online before Monday September 12, 2022
Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed on Thursday September 22, 2022 in
Brussels or, if necessary, online.
Please include in your application file:
a cover letter that includes a clear motivation why you are applying for
this specific position and this particular project;
the names of two referees we might contact during the selection process;
a writing sample, e.g. an article, a (chapter of) a masters thesis.
Specify why this writing sample is relevant for this vacancy;
any additional material that can support your application.
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish,
regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If
you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us