Portsmouth School of Architecture

PhD Research

Our Research Degree Students

Nicholas Ardill

Nicholas Ardill

Places of Social Innovation (POSI)


This PhD study focuses on investigating the impact of Places of Social Innovation(POSI) on the urban milieu. By looking at emerging landscapes of urban food production, the aim is to explore what social innovation centred on urban food production is actually doing to cities, and understanding how this spatial transformation of the built environment may pose societal benefits and drawbacks.


Marianna Gardener

Marianna Gardener

Urban environment and health are connected


Pathways to poor health have multifaceted contributors that include environmental factors, lifestyle choices, inherent sensitivities, social capital and economic status. Compared to third world countries where communicable diseases, poverty and slum dwelling go hand in hand; in the UK there is a direct correlation between socioeconomic status, place of residence and non-communicable disease levels despite living in a home with the luxury of modern amenities such as heating, water and sewage plumbing. 

Social inequities in health are defined by the uneven distribution of social conditions and determinants and these clearly play their part at individual city local levels. This is evidenced by people who live in the same city in higher socioeconomic wards, living longer, presenting with lower levels of non-communicable disease when compared to people living in lower socioeconomic wards. However, what if there is an additional, undiagnosed, missing link? 

My research will evaluate and compare, the as yet, undefined unrecognized perceived neighbourhood environmental influences that are contributing to the health and wellbeing status of residents living in two or more contrasting socioeconomic wards within Portsmouth, Hampshire. A clearer recognition of environmental factors that are contributing to health inequalities will help guide local government agencies take responsibility for regeneration of areas. Health can then be improved through creating opportunities for high levels of community participation that will lead to high social cohesion, reduced fear of crime, improved security and services, provision of green spaces, walkability, active transport and availability of good food (Marmot, 2015)1

1 Marmot, M. (2015). The Health Gap. The Challenge of an Unequal World. London: Bloomsbury.


Monika Szopinska-Mularz

Monika Szopinska-Mularz

Regenerating the compact city through urban farming: nature-based solutions for social, economic and environmental sustainability


Currently, climate change and the depletion of natural resources are the main concerns worldwide. It is increasingly understood that cities are engines of economic powerand for that reason, they have a crucial role in shaping the ecological future. However, there is a growing gap between urbanisation trends and what is really important to shift to a more sustainable urban form. The crucial element for creating more liveable cities is the improvement of contemporary patterns in food growing, processing, transporting and retailing. Therefore urban farming has become a prominent topic of public discourse as an important element of urban regeneration, which can bring a number of social, environmental and economic benefits.

Urban farming is considered as one of the solutions for high- density cities to improve urban climate and increase the number of green areas while providing the productive reuse of urban organic waste and reducing the urban energy footprint. Urban gardens can build a sense of community, encourage a healthy lifestyle and provide new employment. Additionally, farms in urban areas can be implemented in a way that mimics natural cycles, the flow of nutrients and cooperation between plants and animals, which contributes to the production of healthy food for urbanites.

My research aim is to identify urban farms, which are based on solutions created by nature and investigate their influence on urban regeneration, which leads to social, economic and environmental sustainability. Another important aspect of the study is to analyse barriers and challenges for urban agriculture in high- density cities. This will lead to the development of guiding principles for the implementation of urban farming as an important solution for the regeneration of compact cities.


Our Research Areas

We invite PhD applications in the following research areas:

Matter of the Manor

Matter of the Manor', material conversations at Wymering Manor, Cosham, Hants

Interior Design Practice

  • Representation theory and practice
  • Mapping the environment
  • Interior design theory and practice
  • Materials and application
  • Emodied methodologies and practice
  • The retail environment
  • Adaptive reuse of historic and existing building
Heliopolis 21

Heliopolis 21 Architects (Alessandro Melis, Gian Luigi Melis, Nico Panizzi), Stella Maris Research Institute and Hospital, Pisa (Italy), Architectural Competition 1st Prize, 2016

Sustainable Architecture

  • Environmental design systems
  • Sustainable environments and design
Interior Architecture and Design students using 'card games' to analyse and assess design projects

Interior Architecture and Design students using 'card games' to analyse and assess design projects

Architecture Design Pedagogy and Theory

  • Design pedagogy (studio culture)
Vauban, Freiburg, Germany

Vauban, Freiburg, Germany

Architecture and Urban Design, Regeneration and Related Issues

  • Urban planning
  • Urban histories and cultures
  • Architectural history and theory
  • Urban conservation and regeneration
  • Green Infrastructures
  • Sustainable urban design
  • Urban design history, theory and analysis
  • Coastal settlements
  • Landscape design