Parametric Urbanism and Climate Sensitive Design: An Innovative Approach to Urban Sustainability

  • Application end date: 11th February 2018
  • Funding Availability: Funded PhD project (EU/UK students only)
  • Department: Portsmouth School of Architecture
  • PhD Supervisor: Dr Alessandro Melis, Dr Fabiano Lemes de Oliveira

Project code: ACES4330218

Project description

This research project aims to develop a parametric urban design model that considers parameters of climate, infrastructure and density as a means to improve performance and provide a more climate sensitive urban design. The model will provide measurable simulation, connecting aspects of climate, transport and density. A pilot project will be developed to test the model and fine-tune it. The final result, applied in urban design frameworks, will generate and shape city forms and buildings that are responsive to the environment.

The computation approach will provide the tools for the simulation, the assessment, and consequently the measurability, of the pilot project’s outcome. In fact the idea of parametric design implies that “all the elements of the design become parametrically variable and mutually adaptive” (Fusero, Lorenzo and Sara, 2017) with the elements in a parametric system interlinked, and referential to each other in the sense that an outer interference or influence will also influence or change all. Parametric techniques and tools will be applied through the use of computational programming interfaces such as Grasshopper or Dynamo which are integrated within modelling softwares of Rhinoceros and Revit respectively.

Thus it is expected that the applicant will have a computation/parametric design skills as well as a knowledge of the climate sensitive design.
The main result of this PhD will be the definition of a parametric model that can be used as a tool for the planning of sustainable and responsive cities. This will also be tested in a pilot project. The methodology will mainly, but not exclusively, include (in addition to the literature review):
a) Definition of the parametres, construction of the model and design simulation and assessment through advanced digital tools;
b) Comparison of case studies;
c) Pilot project. 

Supervisor profiles

Dr Alessandro Melis

Dr Fabiano Lemes de Oliveira

Dr Antonino Di Raimo 

Admissions criteria

You’ll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (depending upon chosen course, minimum second class or equivalent) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Specific candidate requirements

  • Excellent command of English and good academic writing skills are essential.

  • Experience in digital fabrication and/ or generative design is desirable.


Informal enquiries are encouraged and can be made to Dr Alessandro Melis at (02392 842085) or Dr Fabiano Lemes de Oliveira at (02392 842090).

For administrative and admissions enquiries please contact

How to Apply

We welcome applications from highly motivated prospective students who are committed to develop outstanding research outcomes. You can apply online at You are required to create an account which gives you the flexibility to save the form, log out and return to it at any time convenient to you.

A link to the online application form and comprehensive guidance notes can be found at

Applications should include:
- Full CV including personal details, qualifications, educational history and, where applicable, any employment or other experience relevant to the application
- Contact details for two referees able to comment on your academic performance
- Research proposal of 1,000 words outlining the main features of a research design you would propose to meet the stated objectives, identifying the challenges this project might present and discussing how the work will build on or challenge existing research in the above field.
- Proof of English language proficiency (for EU students)

When applying, please quote project code: ACES4330218

Interview date: TBC

Start date: October 2018.

Funding notes

The fully-funded, full-time three-year studentship provides a stipend that is in line with that offered by Research Councils UK of £14,553 per annum.

The above applies for Home/EU students only.

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