Our staff and students aim to develop collaborations that address international challenges and adopt comparative perspectives.
For more information about international collaboration opportunities, please contact Mat Paterson.
The SCI has recently been successful in securing one of 10 joint University of Manchester-University of Melbourne, Global Doctoral Research Network (GOLDEN) PhD Projects. The 3.5 year PhD studentship will critically address the question: Are digital platforms a threat or a complement to urban sustainability strategies?
The research contributes to the SCI’s developing programme on urban platforms. It is situated at the interface of urban studies and innovation studies and synthesises two debates: first, debates around visions of future sustainable cities and how these are incorporated in to urban strategies and policy; and second, the emergence of digital platforms as a new business model and their intervention into systems of provision at urban scale.
The PhD will develop rich contextual understanding of how digital platforms contribute to rethinking what is meant by urban sustainability. It will undertake comparative research on this issue across two urban contexts (Greater Manchester and Greater Melbourne). This will be done via in-depth case studies, reliant on qualitative data, including that drawn from documentary analysis and key informant interviews.
The successful candidate, Danial Naqvi, will be based both in Manchester and Melbourne and will be supervised by Dr Mike Hodson and Professor Andrew McMeekin at the University of Manchester and Professor Brendan Gleeson at the University of Melbourne.
Sherilyn MacGregor, Catherine Walker & Tally Katz-Gerro, University of Haifa have been awarded a research grant (£331k) from the Leverhulme Trust for their project ‘Environmental Sustainability in Immigrant Households’. The funding is for 39 months and will fund a full-time post for Catherine as well as a PhD student.
This project will investigate how Global South-to-North migration and the drive for urban sustainability intersect at the household level. The location is Manchester, where increasing immigration and ethnic diversity combine with an agenda to become a leading green city in Europe. Through mixed-methods, co-produced research, we will examine how immigrants from Pakistan and Somalia, two of the largest and fastest-growing groups in Manchester, perceive the green agenda and engage in 'environmentally significant' practices in daily life. We will also investigate how immigrants’ engagement in sustainability practices can contribute to building social cohesion and community resilience.
Sherilyn MacGregor, Tally Katz-Gerro, University of Haifa and Catherine Walker have been awarded £10k through the Melbourne-Manchester Research Fund to undertake a collaborative pump-priming project with Professor Lesley Head (Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor and Head of School of Geography) at the University of Melbourne.
The purpose of the project is to compare and consolidate research on Global South-to-Global North migration and environmental sustainability in the context of climate emergency and global inequalities. It will explore questions about how the everyday environmental practices and knowledge of immigrants 'unsettle' dominant sustainability perspectives and how they might be positioned as a resource rather than a problem in Global North contexts.
The funding enables a residential visit by Prof Head and a post-graduate researcher. The project also aims to yield a funding bid for a major comparative, cross-national research project, two Manchester-based workshops, and a panel at the Royal Geographical Society annual conference in August 2020.
Prof Femida Handy from the University of Pennsylvania, Dr Itay Greenspan from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Ya’ara Vered from the University of Haifa will be spending a week at the SCI, working with Tally Katz-Gerro, presenting in the SCI seminar, and meeting with the sustainability and social inequalities working group. The aim of the visit is to make progress on research funded by the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation, on intergenerational transmission of environmental behaviours in Israel, South Korea and the United States. The visit is funded by the SCI Research and Internationalisation Fund.
On 28 February and 1 March, the SCI, in collaboration with the Manchester Urban Institute, is organising and hosting an international workshop: Urban platforms and the future city: Transformations in infrastructure, governance, knowledge, and everyday life. The workshop will welcome more than 20 attendees from the US, Canada, Australia, India, the Netherlands and the UK. Its aim is to begin a process of integrating a vibrant but currently fragmented academic agenda on urban platforms as part of a process of producing an agenda-setting edited book.
Prof Susanne Sweet, Prof Ranjula Bali Swain and additional colleagues from the Stockholm School of Economics Mistra Center for Sustainable Markets will be visiting the SCI on 29th January to participate in a workshop on Innovating Markets towards Sustainable Consumption and Production.
Profs. Igor Nikolic and Jaco Quist will visit from TU Delft in the Netherlands to present about the use of visioning and agent-based modelling. They discuss how these interesting new research methods, both individually and together, can offer entirely new ways to explore transitions to sustainability, policies for socio-technical change and stakeholder engagement.
Dr Andrew Bollinger will visit from the Urban Energy Systems Laboratory (UESL) at Empa in Switzerland to present about his work on energy flexibility, energy demand modelling and local-scale renewable integration. He will discuss how the technical and economic dimensions that he usually focuses on the need to be elaborated with social, psychological, ethical and legal dimensions in order to address the increasingly urgent problems arising as digital technologies reshape urban and energy systems.
Wouter Spekkink is currently participating in the project ‘Network Uncertainties and Intergovernmental Collaborations in Environmental Governance in Urban Agglomerations’, led by Dr Rui Mui from the Faculty of Public Administration at the Dalian University of Technology, and funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China.
The main background to the project is the recent effort of the Chinese state government to stimulate cities to collaborate on environmental issues within Urban Agglomerations, hoping to realise a shift from the metropolitan level to the agglomeration level as the main focus of environmental governance of Chinese cities.
Against this background, the project revolves around the following main research questions:
- To what extent and how do Chinese local governments in urban agglomerations succeed in establishing collaborative governance in environmental planning and management?
- What factors promote or prevent this collaboration?
The project makes use of Event Sequence Analysis (ESA), a set of methods and techniques for longitudinal analysis of social processes, in order to create a processual understanding of the emergence and development of collaboration on environmental governance between Chinese cities. Wouter’s role in the project is to provide support and guidance in the application of ESA.
- Professor Martin de Jong of the Delft University of Technology visited the SCI to discuss overlapping research interests and opportunities for collaboration. Martin specialises in urban and infrastructure development in China and has a special interest in eco-city/low carbon city development. We were also joined by Dr Li Sun, Lecturer in Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds. Her research focuses on various issues related to urbanisation in the Global South. Professor de Jong presented his research on city branding, with a particular focus on the relationships between branding and policy, and on brands that are related to various understandings of sustainability. Martin’s presentation was the basis for a lively discussion among the visitors and members of the SCI staff, in which we discovered several areas of overlapping interests. This discussion is certainly not over yet, and we will think about a possible follow-up for it in the near future.
- Tally Katz-Gerro presented a paper titled 'Experiencing aesthetico-cultural cosmopolitanism: a comparison of youth in Paris, Sao Paulo and Seoul' at an international conference - Cosmopolitanism revisited: comparative perspectives on urban diversity from the Gulf and beyond, organised by Institut Nationales de Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Paris.
- Tally Katz-Gerro joined an international group of scholars from 19 research institutions, led by Carsten Stage from Denmark, who has submitted a COST Action network application titled 'Democratic participation in cultural institutions: reassembling expertise, affect and connective engagement' (DePart).
Three EU-collaborative grant proposals have been submitted to the Open Research Area programme:
- Alistair Ulph - Carbon footprint reduction and country of origin of goods;
- Luke Yates (PI), Alan Warde and Dale Southerton - FOODTRACKS: Tracking food practices across Europe: Linking eating habits and food governance trajectories;
- Tally Katz Gerro - Cultural border crossing and the politicisation of social difference for youth in increasingly divided societies.