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Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership - Student Profiles



I am an anthropologist of architecture and urban design with particular interests in urban decision-making processes and design practices. 

I read Archaeology and Anthropology at Jesus College, University of Cambridge and graduated in 2012. To ground my interests in contemporary European politics and policy-making, I studied for a MSc in Politics and Government in the European Union at LSE in 2012/13. I returned to anthropology and developed my interests in the built environment in 2013/14 when I completed an EPSRC-funded MRes in Anthropology with The Bartlett, UCL under the auspices of the Space Syntax-led "Adaptable Suburbs" project and under the supervision of Prof. Victor Buchli. From 2014-16, I worked as an urban designer and anthropologist at the architectural practice Foster + Partners in London.

My PhD brings together these various research interests and professional experiences. I research ethnographically the practices of contemporary urban design in the context of an increasing drive towards what is variously called 'evidence-based design' and claims to build a 'science of cities' in Europe. Influenced by the growing importance of evidence-based approaches in other fields, evidence-based design has emerged over the last decades in architecture and urban design to address the failures of twentieth-century urban planning with scientific research and methodologies as well as urban metrics and big data. This research traces the genealogical development of the turn from urban planning or design to an urban 'science' in order to offer a critical analysis of how cities are being governed, transformed and re-drawn today based on a seemingly ever-increasing amount of information, data and 'evidence'. 

Other academic interests

Anthropology of architecture, cities and space; Anthropology of the built environment; Anthropology of Europe; Scandinavian and Danish architecture and design; Urban design and planning; Architectural and planning theory; Science and technology studies; History and philosophy of science

Department: Social Anthropology
Supervisor: Dr Maryon McDonald
College: King's
AHRC Subject Area: Design
Title of Thesis: The science of cities: an ethnography of evidence-based approaches to architectural and urban design in Denmark (provisional title)
 Dominik  Hoehn

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