New Research Fellow for Interdisciplinary Research on Challenges in Changing Cities
By Dr Yang Wang (School of Sociology and Political Sciences)
I re-joined Urban Studies in May as an Interdisciplinary Research Fellowship, working under one of CoSS’s five interdisciplinary themes: Challenges in Changing Cities (CiCC). I came to Glasgow to do my PhD research in Urban Studies in 2016 and was awarded my doctoral degree last June. My PhD thesis explores Edinburgh residents' place attachment to the city's historic environments they experience in their daily lives. After graduation, I worked on research projects in a few different subject areas from my PhD work – for example, home adaptations in Scotland which was another key focus. However, my main research interest stays in people-place relationships.
My role as a researcher under the CiCC-IRT is, like the name of the theme suggests – challenging, but exciting. It is challenging because it is so broad a theme, covering topics ranging from housing crisis to net-zero, from transportation to urban crime, from gig economy to welfare policy, and so on. Yet it is exciting as I am perhaps in the best position to develop an overview of the academic landscape of relevant research in our university (and possibly beyond), thinking of, drawing and reflecting on strategic links across disciplines. I therefore am delighted by the prospects of working in this role, to contribute to the future development of interdisciplinary research at our university both literally and figuratively.
In terms of my own thoughts about, and approach to, this theme, I am particularly interested in researching the socio-psychological aspects of people’s everyday lives in cities. Cities are generative sites of misery as well as prosperity. For some, life in cities is about surviving traps (i.e. the negative side of attachment), scare, loss, poverty, etc. For others, it is about thriving – education, career, relationship, freedom, all sorts of dream-chasing. Research has put too much focus on addressing the problems and overlooked the fact that people might also be willing to compromise with those problematic aspects to chasing dreams. So, to me, researching these challenges is to not only examine what has gone wrong (i.e. policy or technology failures) but also to observe, identify and report what, despite going wrong, still features the kind of ‘fascinating’ parts of life in cities.
Interdisciplinary Research Fellows have been appointed in order to support funding applications from colleagues across the College of Social Science, as well as working on fellowship applications to further their own research trajectories. If you are thinking about applying for funding and wondering how Yang's role could support this, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
First published: 20 July 2022