Project code



School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences

Start dates

October 2021

Closing date

4 May 2021 (12.00pm GMT)

Applications are invited for a fully-funded, 3 year PhD to commence in October 2021.

The PhD will be based in the School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences and will be supervised by Professor Donald Houston and Dr Heather Rumble

Candidates applying for this project may be eligible to compete for a Portsmouth Global PhD scholarship. Successful candidates will receive a scholarship to cover tuition fees at an international rate for three years, a stipend in line with the UKRI rate (£15,609 for 2021/22), and one return flight to London during the duration of the course. Bursary recipients will also receive  £1,500 for project costs/consumables for the duration of the programme.

The work on this project will

  • Assessing the importance of environmental amenity in cities in attracting the creative class and investment in urban development.
  • Assessing the importance of environmental amenity in cities in supporting bio-diversity and in improving human health and wellbeing, particularly in deprived neighbourhoods.
  • Assessing the distribution of environmental amenity in cities in relation to patterns of social deprivation, and its potential to contribution to gentrification and exclusion.
  • Investigate and identify policies that may help increase urban environmental amenity in ways that promote bio-diversity, social inclusion and economic success
This PhD will explore how sustainability transformations can be equitable and prosperous, based on the understanding that local environmental amenity is critical both for economic success and for social inclusion and wellbeing.  Environmental amenity encapsulates both biophysical amenities (e.g. green and blue space, clean air, absence of noise) and social amenities (e.g. cultural offer, quality of services, city and neighbourhood social mix, safety and security from crime), increasingly thought critical for economic success in mature post-industrial economies.  Yet the potential for places with high environmental amenity to exclude less privileged groups (and so relegate them to low-amenity environments) through economic and social mechanisms appears substantial, yet surprisingly little evidence exists on how these relationships shape, and are shaped by, economic success and so identify configurations conducive to ‘win-win-win’ sustainable transformations.  This topic could be explored using technical or subjective environmental data in conjunction with either quantitative or qualitative economic and social data on neighbourhoods, towns and cities in the UK or beyond.

Entry requirements

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in a related area. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or Qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

How to apply

We’d encourage you to contact Prof Donald Houston ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV.  Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. 

When applying please quote project code: SEGG6201021