Find a supervisor

Find a supervisor

The Department of Landscape recruits highly motivated, academically-strong PhD students who are able to develop innovative projects and push the boundaries of our understanding about landscape. Potential students require dedication and a high level of independent critical thinking.

Landscape by its nature covers a range of disciplines, (art, humanities, social science, science) and indeed, projects can often be inter-disciplinary. We welcome enquires from potential students with sound training and a first degree in those disciplines that match the proposed research topic. Studentship types and funding streams tend to fall into three broad categories:

  • University and externally funded (e.g. Research Council, Industry, Charitable bodies)
  • Self-funded (or overseas funded) studentships – where the student or overseas government has a desire to conduct research in a specific area (and complements an academic supervisor’s interests).
  • Self-funded or part-funded studentships where the research topic addresses a strategic priority area for the Department (see below).

Please see Staff Pages for more information on potential supervisors.

Staff research areas



Contact Details

Plants for storm-water planters – understanding of stress tolerance

  • Potential plant species for storm-water planters
  • Physiological understanding of stress tolerance and plant performance when under-going wetting / drying cycles
RHS: Do front gardens influence health and wellbeing?
Plant selection for improving the thermal performance of buildings
  • Cooling and insulation effects promoted by plant around or on buildings.
  • Species selection & ease of management.
  • Interactions with wind, drought etc.


Contact Details
Retrofitting cemeteries for biodiversity
  • The design and management of cemetery landscapes to help provide opportunities for biodiversity.
  • How can traditional cemetery landscapes be modified to create wildlife habitats, whilst retain their unique cultural & symbolic context?
Improving functionality of historical waterscapes / infrastructures to address changes in societal needs
  • Historical waterscapes / infrastructures (reservoirs, weirs, dams, mills runs, pump houses etc.) in the Sheffield / Peak District areas.
  • How can the heritage value of these infrastructures be retained, whilst improving their function for recreation, culture, biodiversity and environmental enhancement in the 21st Century?


Contact Details

City-centre living and space to breathe? Exploring the cultural and social dimensions of high-density living.
  • High-density urban form and morphology and the nature and quality of residents’ ‘local’ open space.
  • Cultural /social benefits and barriers of high-density living in relation to residential and public open space.
  • Role of design, planning and management and development of recommendations/ guidance for practitioners.
City-centre living and space to breathe? Exploring the cultural and social dimensions of high-density living.
  • Design, planning and management of a range of public open spaces which were created/ redeveloped in the wake of the Urban Task Force’s influential report.
  • Public open spaces, established for ten years (or so), within the analytical framework of place-keeping.
  • The scope for improvements to initial design and planning processes, with potential for ‘action research methodology’ within the project
The pressure for accessible open space in rapidly growing cities.
  • A broad range of urban open spaces (in private and public ownership) across a city and their social and cultural role for residents/ users.
  • How these open spaces map across the city according to criteria of equitable access, sustainable urban form and morphology.
  • How future urban expansion might be planned and managed according to principles of social justice and equity.


Contact Details
Exploring the relationship between biodiversity and stress relief in urban green spaces
  • Whether and how people detect biodiversity in urban green spaces.
  • What impact perceived biodiversity has on restoration from stress.
  • How context and perceived personal insecurity impact on perceptions of biodiversity and stress relief.
The role of landscape aesthetics in local development frameworks
  • The extent to which landscape aesthetic considerations form part of local planning policy.
  • Where explicit and implicit aesthetic judgments are derived from.
  • The potential impact of aesthetic considerations in planning.
  • How the quality of aesthetic components in policy may be evaluated and, if appropriate, improved.
Project – The role of landscape visits in the lives of dementia suffers
  • How frequently dementia suffers visit green spaces.
  • The potential benefits and disadvantages of green space visits.
  • Barriers to visits and how these may be overcome.


Contact Details

Integrated 3d-visualisation design and planning Tools
  • As applying to a wide range of context and landscapes scenarios
See for examples:
Virtual Environments No
Local identity: identification and assessment


(currently on maternity leave, please contact Ross Cameron)

The multi-culture of racially diverse neighbourhood places: public realms of connectivity, resilience and belonging.
  • Perceptions, use and significance of local public space as places of interaction and multicultural sociability.
  • Notions of place-memory, both for long term residents and recently arrived migrants, and how this informs or disrupts a sense of belonging to a racially diverse residential area.
  • Extent to which public realms of connectivity and belonging, as well as policy and practice, produce resilience in the neighbourhood as an inclusive and secure place to live.
  • Methodology will be fieldwork based in an urban neighbourhood, e.g. Sheffield, and use mixed ethnographic methods.
Migration and the joys of growing vegetables: local urban food growing practices and cultural diversity.
  • Values and practices of people from migrant backgrounds engaged with small scale food growing: allotments, community projects and family gardens.
  • In the context of wellbeing, social networks, sense of belonging and transnational connections.
  • Will critique current local food growing priorities and policies in terms of inclusion and public space.
The Intercultural City: spatial policies and practices from the global to the local.
  • Urban policy development regarding city neighbourhoods in response to increasing population diversity due to migration and settlement (global case studies).
  • Interactions with planning, design and management of urban public space.
  • Role and practice of landscape architects and urban designers in responding to urban cultural diversity.


Contact Details
Communication of Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation on the landscape scale in Delta (British Columbia / Canada)
  • The potential to conceptualize, implement and test a mobile augmented reality application. This will demonstrate to users possible climate change impacts, mitigation and adaptation measures in the landscape.
  • Technical understanding of GIS and visualisation are required in addition to knowledge in landscape relevant climate issues.
  • Ideal additional skills would be previous experience with the Unity 4 development platform.
  • Potential to collaborate with University of British Columbia
Partly funded through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada SSHRC
Social Acceptability of Different Wind Farm Designs
  • Solutions to assess the social acceptability of different wind farm designs.
  • Location, siting, wind farm layouts, different technologies and designs.
  • Applicants should have pre-existing knowledge in landscape character assessment as well as visualization and empirical social sciences.
Building Information Models (BIM) and GIS on the Landscape Level
  • The potential for a Building and Landscape Information Model BLIM on the landscape scale
  • To develop a prototype application and test in a case study.
  • Applicants require strong knowledge in GIS and/or CAD in addition to a good understanding of landscape planning issues.
Project – International comparison of Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) Tools Despite the European integration in general, most European countries have very different approaches to landscape character assessment (LCA). At the same time, large scale developments of onshore wind farms and other energy resources with significant landscape impacts are putting new demands and additional pressure on the LCA tool. In this context, it would be most interesting to a) compare LCA approaches across Europe and internationally and b) evaluate their performance with regard to current tasks such as renewable energy proposals. tbd


Contact Details

Control and Transitional Edges: developing a socio-spatial framework for urban design
  • Social significance of interfaces between built form and human habitation in urban settings
  • Relationships between human experience and spatial organisation
  • The potential for integrating professional processes of urban place making and occupant self-organisation
  • Developing a conceptual framework for socio-spatial urban design as template for education and practice
Urban Social Restoration: integrating restorative environments research with socially responsive urban design
  • The current knowledge framework of restorative environments research
  • Socially responsive urban design theory and practice with a focus of issues of urban human-well-being
  • The development of potential models for socially oriented human restoration
  • Proposing new theoretical structures for urban social restoration and its urban design implications
‘New-aging Cities’: development of a cross-disciplinary educational framework for socio-spatial urban design
  • Disciplinary fields relevant to informing new socio-spatial conceptions of urban order
  • Distillation of cross-disciplinary themes into an integrated conceptual structure for urban design theory and practice (new-aging cities)
  • Development of processes and practices for application in urban design higher education
  • Identification and compilation of exemplars for components of ‘new-aging cities’.