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Future Cities: PhD Prize Fellows 2017

PhD Fellows 2017

Future Cities 

The Future Cities Programme includes the award of PhD  Future Cities Prize Fellowships to support the development of research relating to future cities by some of the brightest young PhD students at Cambridge University.


  The Future Cities Fellowships are
awarded through a generous gift from
Capital and Counties Properties Plc.


The Future Cities PhD Prize Fellowship winners for 2017 

The funding and support provided through the fellowship allowed these talented young Cambridge PhD students to develop their research and produce papers summarising their ideas about how future cities could be designed, developed, operated and lived within to meet social, economic and environmental aims.  The research students also presented their research and held poster presentations with discussion at the second Future Cities Conference in July 18th 2017.

Below you can see the PhD Fellows and the range of research for 2017 drawing on a range of disciplines and topics related to the future of cities:


Alessandra Luna Navarro


Graduate student, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge;  Research Paper - Façade Impulse: adaptive façade-occupant interaction for happier, healthier and low-energy cities.

Alessandra's research interests are in adaptive façades, human comfort and satisfaction, energy demand and efficiency for the sustainability in the built environment.  In 2013, she graduated with distinction in Building Engineering and Architecture at Università degli Studi "La Sapienza" in Rome.

She is a chartered civil engineer in Italy and worked in building services engineering, fire safety and building design for a broad range of large buildings.

In 2016, she successfully completed an MPhil in Energy technologies at the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge, and she joined the gFT research group, in the same department, to pursue a PhD on adaptive façades and human comfort and satisfaction. Her PhD research is funded by Permasteelisa, Arup and EPSRC. 

View conference poster


Dominik Hoehn


Graduate student, Division of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge:  Research Paper - Locating 'the human' in the urban laboratory of the future

Dominik is an anthropologist of architecture and urban design with particular interests in

urban decision-making processes. His PhD research examines contemporary urban design practices in Denmark in the 

context of an increasing drive towards so-called ‘evidence-based design’ practices and claims to build a ‘science of cities’. From August 2017, he will conduct 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Copenhagen, Denmark, with architectural and urban design practitioners.

Most recently, Dominik worked as an urban designer and anthropologist for a global architecture practice in London. Before that, he completed an EPSRC-funded MRes in Anthropology with The Bartlett, UCL under the auspices of the Space Syntax-led Adaptable Suburbs project. He studied Archaeology and Anthropology at Jesus College, University of Cambridge, and European politics at LSE.

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Doros NicolaidesDoros

Graduate student, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge;  Research Paper - A national power infrastructure for charge-on-the-move

Doros Nicolaides is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge. He has been working on the electrification of road transportation, with a particular emphasis on ‘charge-on-the-move’ technologies. This is an important subject because a widespread deployment of charge-on-the-move could be a critical enabling factor in moving towards the ubiquitous use of electric vehicles for long distance travel. It therefore has the potential to be a 'game changer' in electric vehicle technology and in international efforts to decarbonise road transport.

He has also been working on aspects of autonomous operation and public transportation. He is currently investigating the implementation of an Autonomous Taxi Service for the city of Cambridge UK. Such a system involves driverless vehicles that are capable of navigating a route in open space without physical guidance within an existing urban context. Technically feasible, economically viable, environmentally friendly and socially responsible this urban transport system can meet the sustainable objectives of current and future cities.

Previously he was an MPhil student in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge attending the course “Engineering for Sustainable Development”. His undergraduate studies were completed in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Cyprus.

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Linda Gichuyia


Graduate student, Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge:  Research Paper - Overheating Risk: a framework for temporal building adaptation decision-making

Linda Gichuyia is a Gates Cambridge scholar, currently pursuing a PhD in Architecture at the University of Cambridge. Her PhD research contributes to the management of the existing and future indoor overheating risk, incurred in a heterogeneous urban landscape; a landscape whose characteristics change with time, in an unpredictable world. The study develops and tests a building adaptation decision-making framework that informs indoor overheating mitigation strategies. The generic framework attends to the process of generating, exploring, and tracking the complex causal and solution space that characterises the indoor overheating phenomenon over a 50 to 100-year time horizon. This research demonstrates how the cities of the future can anticipate and mitigate overheating risk through building regulations, renovation, design and space use tactics, and also, through taming the aleatory uncertainty of higher risk factors to indoor thermal discomfort.

Linda holds an MPhil in Environmental Design from the University of Cambridge, a Bachelor of Architecture, and a Bachelor of Architectural Studies, both from the University of Nairobi. Before commencing her PhD, she worked in multiple architecture firms in Nairobi, and as a tutorial fellow at the University of Nairobi. She has been involved in architectural research projects in Kenya, and has also been a consultant on reforming markets design within the City County of Nairobi, following an award-winning market design proposal to rehabilitate Toi open air market located right next to East Africa’s largest slum – Kibera

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Melanie Jan-Singh


PhD student, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge: Research Paper - 'Optimising urban farming for integration with infrastructure in cities'

Melanie is researching how urban resources can be harvested to integrate greenhouses into cities, and thus whether growing food more locally could reduce energy consumption and improve air quality in cities.

Passionate about integrating natural processes into infrastructure, Melanie works with start-ups in the UK, who are developing urban farming in derelict spaces in cities. She is implementing her own hydroponic designs in the Department of Engineering in Cambridge, by building a greenhouse on the roof and in the office to improve air quality.

Trained in civil and environmental engineering at Imperial College, she became interested in hydrological processes in her Masters at ETH Zurich, before completing an MRes in Future Infrastructure and the Built Environment in Cambridge. This MRes is part of a Doctoral Training Centre, funded by the EPSRC.

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Nicolas Valenzuela-Levi


PhD student, Department of Land Economy , University of Cambridge:  Research Paper - 'CONNECTED AS EQUALS:  Institutional capacities for governing inclusive networked infrastructure systems'

Nicolás is currently a PhD Researcher in Land Economy, University of Cambridge, funded by the Chilean National Commission for Science and Technology. Between 2012 and 2015 he served as Director of the Planning Secretariat for the Municipality of Providencia, and lectured at the Facultad de Arquitectura, Diseño y Estudios Urbanos, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. He also holds an Architect and a Master in Urban Development degrees from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, and an MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Cambridge.

In Providencia, he was responsible for an annual budget of aprox. £90,000,000 along with strategic planning, project management, coordination and supervision inside the Municipality. Departments under his direction were Budget, Planning and Statistics, Project Supervision and Coordination, Urban Planning, and Information Technologies. During his time in office, some achievements were the biggest investment budget ever executed in the Municipality (2014), completing of a massive participatory process for a new Development Plan (2013-2021), implementing a metropolitan bike hire system, and executing an energy efficiency project for 16,000 public lights (financed by the Inter American Development Bank). He has also experience as social activist, being Secretary General of the Students Federation, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in 2009, and executive director of the NGO Reconstruye, formed after the 2010 8.8 earthquake in Chile. The latter was awarded as one of the 100 "Best Practices" by UN-HABITAT and the Dubai Government in 2012, for the project "Network initiatives to reconstruct in a sustainable way".

Nicolás’ research interests focus on the political economy of network industries (transport, energy, water, telecommunications and waste), politics of urban investment, and the links between infrastructure and inequality.

View conference poster 


Rebecca Love

Rebecca Love

PhD Student, Centre for Diet and Activity Research, University of Cambridge:  Research Paper - Urbanization and chronic disease: A case study of Soweto, South Africa

Rebecca is a doctoral candidate in epidemiology at the Centre for Diet and Activity Research and member of King’s College. Her research examines the social and economic determinants of chronic disease, with a focus on children and adolescents. Before pursuing graduate school, she worked in health and education development in the Caribbean region and Canada.

Rebecca’s Future Cities research will utilize data from the Birth to Twenty (BT20) Cohort to investigate the effect of urbanization on behavioural patterns and rates of chronic disease. The BT20 Cohort began in 1990 to track the health and development of 3273 infants born in Johannesburg-Soweto, South Africa. The collapsing of the Apartheid state South Africa in 1990 led to rapid urbanization, a transition concurrent with a reduction in physical activity and a higher caloric diet. Data of residential environments, health behaviors and disease outcomes at multiple time-points from infancy into adulthood will allow for examination of the influence of transitioning neighbourhoods on lifestyle behaviour.

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Theodora Bowering 


PhD student Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge:  Research Paper - Ageing and the city: urban resilience and sociospatial marginalisation of older people in East London

Theodora Bowering is an architect, Gates Cambridge scholar and PhD Candidate in the Centre for Urban Conflict Research (UCR) at the Department of Architecture at Cambridge. Her doctoral research interrogates the conditions and experiences of marginalisation and resilience of older people within cities, looking specifically at civic spaces – streets, squares, transport infrastructures, markets, community centres – in the London Borough of Newham.

Before beginning her PhD, Theodora completed the Masters in Architecture and Urban Studies in the Department of Architecture at Cambridge. Her professional architectural education was at the University of Sydney, where she gained a Bachelor of Architecture (Hons I) and Bachelor of Science (Architecture). She has also been a registered architect in NSW, Australia (RAIA) since 2013. Theodora worked for over six years in architectural practice, in Sydney and London, on residential, heritage and public buildings, from concept and detail design through to contract administration and office management. Additionally, she has four years’ design and communications studio tutoring and lecturing experience in the Department of Architecture at the University of Sydney. She has also been a volunteer and continuing instructor for the Taoist Tai Chi Society for over twelve years, and leads a weekly class at Newnham College.

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View the 2016 PhD Prizewinner profiles and research posters here.


CapcoThe Future Cities Prize Fellowships are awarded through a generous gift from Capital and Counties Properties Plc. [Capco] to support PhD students in development of their research interests on topics relating to the future of cities.