[Iag-list] Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Volumetric Urbanism, Western Sydney University

Donald McNeill D.Mcneill at westernsydney.edu.au
Fri Mar 24 15:57:31 AEDT 2017

Ref 429/17 Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Volumetric Urbanism), Institute for Culture & Society, Western Sydney University

The Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) carries out research on the transformations in culture and society in the context of contemporary global change. ICS is looking to appoint a full time Research Fellow for a period of two and a half years to provide support to an ARC Discovery Project titled ‘Volumetric Urbanism’. The successful appointee will work closely with the project leader Professor Donald McNeill in managing the research project and conducting original research as set out in the project description, and will also support the research of co-investigator Professor Simon Marvin (University of Sheffield). 

ICS operates as a leading international centre for interdisciplinary, engaged and collaborative scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences for a digital age. Research at the Institute for Culture and Society is organised around an integrated program of research focusing on a number of broad themes including: Digital Life, Heritage and Environment, Cities and Economies, and Diversity and Globalisation. 

About the project: Volumetric urbanism: the calculated production of urban space

In major cities around the world, governments are faced with the problem and possibilities of ‘volume’: the stacking and moving of more and more people and things above, across and below tightly defined, interlocking sites within booming central business districts. What has long been understood as the statutorily defined building ‘envelope’ or city plan is now being shaped by innovative technological, design and financial logics: architects, engineers, developers, bankers and other specialist service providers act in consortium to, quite literally, ‘push the envelope’: advising, lobbying, sketching, appraising, modeling and ultimately reconfiguring the nature of built space. 

This project will examine the challenges of understanding these contemporary urban spaces, which together constitute what we term ‘volumetric urbanism’, in three specific areas;
(1) experimental design and engineering practices in skyscraper design, eco-city design (such as domes and capsules), and underground space; 
(2) the expansion of ‘virtual’ rights to space, including air right and subterranean land ownership rights, transferable and distributed space ownership rights, which are reconfiguring conventional property development valuation and practice 
(3) the role of consultants and global service firms that provide the intermediate technological practices and products that make these volumetric spaces function safely, comfortably and profitably, from elevator design to air-conditioning systems to transport interfaces. 

The successful applicant will ideally possess skills in semi-structured interviewing, the interpretation of built environments, and an ability to undertake ‘forensic’ readings of policy documents and financial reports, as these are regarded as key evidence for explaining the valuations and metrics that constitute city development. 

Please refer to the Position Description for further information:


This is a full-time, fixed-term position, based at the Parramatta South (Rydalmere) campus. 

Remuneration Package: Academic Level A $85,330 to $103,092 p.a.(comprising salary $76,984 to $93,008 p.a. plus Superannuation and Leave Loading)

Position Enquiries: Professor Donald McNeill (d.mcneill at westernsydney.edu.au). 

Closing date: 17 April 2017

Donald McNeill
Professor of Urban & Cultural Geography, 
Australian Research Council Future Fellow,
Institute for Culture and Society
Western Sydney University

d.mcneill at westernsydney.edu.au
mobile 0404168909


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