Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO)  - PhD - Design for the Nordic Digital city

The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO) is a specialized university and a leading international architecture and design school that provides education within architecture, landscape architecture, urbanism and design. AHOs fields of knowledge focus on design in all scales, objects, buildings, urban areas and landscaping. AHO is organized into four institutes, and has approx. 700 students and 145 employees.

The Institute of Design adopts a broad, holistic approach to design that emphasizes the relevance and importance of design within our contemporary society. It teaches and researches within the fields of industrial design, interaction design, service design, and systems oriented design, as well as themes that go across these disciplines, such as healthcare or maritime industry. Our perspective is that good design creates aesthetic and functional products, services, and experiences that delight and improve the lives of their users.

PhD - Design for the Nordic Digital city

Urban environments, digital data and media are increasingly interconnected. Digital technologies are becoming integral to urban and civic life in terms of public services, commerce, media, culture and education. The digitalisation of urban cultures, businesses and public sectors presents new problems but also possibilities for design, architecture and planning. Addressing this development requires interdisciplinary collaboration. Currently, the digital design sector is increasingly working on projects that involve ‘smart city’ planning and governance as well as digitalisation of urban services. At the same time, architects and urban planners proactively seek to engage with the new possibilities and expectations that the digitalisation of cities and urban living creates.

Within research there is a need to mobilise interdisciplinary competencies and perspectives on the urban digital. This has two reasons. One is that the city or the urban phenomenon in itself is multidimensional and interdisciplinary. The other is that in order to make the best use of digital resources in the urban realm, we must go beyond established limits of disciplinary specialisation to see how technology, design and urban practices can be joined up in new and innovative ways.

When it comes to theory building, the Digital Urban Living project aims at establishing conceptual frameworks that make for a better understanding of how the urban condition, seen as an evolving field of possibilities, can inform future notions of digital cities and urban liveability. The clue for success herein lies in the overall conceptual framing of urban cultures and resources as both dynamic and transgressive, as hinted at by the phrase “seeing like a city” (Amin & Thrift, 2017). By tapping into such urban resources, through ‘close readings’ and fine-grained designing of digital urban services, our aim is to enable informed speculation about future possibilities and challenges for sustainable urban living.

Proposed research

This PhD should be developed in relation to the following overarching research questions: How can insights across the disciplines of urbanism (architecture, planning and urban studies etc.) and digital design (interaction and service design etc.) be combined to create new knowledge about potentials for digital urban living? How can new digital urban services be designed and developed in terms of the sharing of social and cultural resources, civic engagement and urban learning? What international experiences, theories and insights be brought together in ways that address Norwegian and Nordic issues and concerns in the development of digital urban services and cities, and vice versa: what does the Nordic context for the development of digital urban services contribute in terms of theory building and design practices? These questions may be approached by focusing on one, or combining several, of the following research areas:

1: ‘Emerging digital services and urban culture’. This area examines how urban and civic technologies related to sharing of urban resources will impact the Nordic context in the near future. Social and cultural resources, opportunities and problems are to be identified in terms of their potential effect on urban and civic life. The PhD should explore interdisciplinary methods and insights to design, prototype and test how urban resources can be shared and activated in a contemporary Nordic setting. Scenarios and experimental prototypes of new services and scenarios could potentially be designed and developed in collaboration with selected experts from the project network and/or researchers and master students in interaction design and urbanism.                                     

2: ‘Seeing like a city’. One important dimension in this area would be to ask how digital, urban data can be mobilized for purposes of knowledge building and urban learning. A PhD project in this area could focus on how the development of digital urban services is or can be informed by mapping and cultivation of urban resources, including the built environment, digital data, and social and cultural dimensions of urban liveability. This could include exploring how digital services can enhance forms of urban cultural engagement, use of city spaces and social interaction through the use of urban data.

3: ‘City voices’. This area focuses on the potential for implementing digital urban services across governance and civic life in order to enhance participation and civic engagement. It asks how digital urban services can be enlisted in order to facilitate local and democratic participation and engagement. Such an approach would address potential synergies and tensions between digital actors, local cultures and democracy in the face of sustainable urban transformation.

 These areas relate to the research interests of the Digital Urban Living project. Recent publications and events are listed at: http://www.oculs.no/projects/digital-urban-living/                                                                                                         

The PhD fellow will join the well-established AHO multidisciplinary doctoral programme.

Academic reqirements

Applicants must hold a:

  • Master’s degree or equivalent in a field of relevance for the call. Especially relevant are applicants from interaction- or service-design, architecture, landscape architecture, urbanism or planning.
  • Applicants who do not have English or Scandinavian language as their mother tongue must submit documentation of their proficiency in English by the deadline of the application (TOEFL test or similar). Students with university studies where English comprised the major component of the studies are exempted from the requirement.

Evaluation criteria

Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • The formal academic requirements for the position,
  • The quality of the project description and its relevance for the call,
  • The academic competence of the applicant and the applicant’s suitability within the context of the institutes’ research environment.

The application must include

1.       A letter of application describing why the applicant is qualified for this position (maximum two A4 pages.)

2.       A project proposal (maximum 5 A4 pages) which must include the topic, relevant theory, methods or practise, and a timeline for the project. Applicants are expected to be able to complete the project during the appointment period. Special needs in terms of for instance technical equipment or association with national or international institutions or partners should be mentioned.

3.       CV with a full summary of education, practice and academic employment, list of publications, projects and academic work that the applicant wishes to be considered by the evaluation committee (Max 5 A4 pages).

4.       Copies of educational certificates (foreign applicants must attach an explanations of their university’s grading system)

5.       One example of written work that the applicant wishes to be considered by the evaluation committee, maximum 10 pages.

6.       One presentation (where relevant) of practice-based work that the applicant wishes to be considered by the evaluation committee (can be online).

Please note that all documentation must be in English (or a Scandinavian language).

Applications who do not fulfil the formal requirements will not be considered.

Attachments beyond the required documents will not be taken into consideration.

We offer

The PhD scholarship is fully funded and there is no tuition fee. The salary is NOK 443 900 for a full position, extensive relevant experience can give a higher start salary. From the salary, there will be a mandatory deduction of 2% as a contribution to the State Pension fund (SPK). Standard employment conditions for state employees in Norway apply for the position.

An annual sum of 20 000 NOK for literature and other necessary academic activities.

Office space in a professionally stimulating working environment.

Attractive welfare benefits and generous pension agreement, in addition to Oslo’s family-friendly environment with its rich opportunities for culture and outdoor activities.

Formal regulations

The educational component in the AHO PhD Programme is mandatory and requires fulltime attendance.  Residency in Oslo for the employment period is preferable. Research stay at a relevant international academic institution is encouraged.

The PhD fellowship will start on September 1st 2018.

More information about PhD fellowships at AHO can be found at www.aho.no/en/RD/The-PhD-program/

For information about the project and the position please contact: Associate professor Jonny Aspen Jonny.Aspen@aho.no or Associate professor Einar Sneve MartinussenEinarSneve.Martinussen@aho.no

Please apply through our website or directly at www.jobbnorge.no

Søknadsfrist: 06.03.2018
Web: www.aho.no

Kontakt: Jonny Aspen

Kontakt 2: Sneve Martinussen