Open doctoral position in (urban) history of town planning and history of construction (4 years) job with UNIVERSITE LIBRE DE BRUXELLES

Research project:
This vacancy is part of the EOS Construction History, Above and Beyond research project. What History Can Do for Construction History, led by Professors Michiel Dehaene (UGent), Dave De ruysscher (VUB, University of Tilburg), Rika Devos (ULB), Johan Lagae (UGent), Stephanie Van de Voorde (VUB) and Ine Wouters (VUB). A total of 3 PhD positions and 4 postdoc positions are included in this project. An overview of the complete project and all relevant mandates can be viewed at: www.vub.be/arch/project/eos. The EOS research project will establish a dialogue (in terms of sources, methodologies, concepts and cognitive interests) between the history of construction and three other fields of history, namely colonial history, legal history and planning history. As such, the project aims to strengthen the historical dimension of construction history, while simultaneously demonstrating its relevance and potential for other fields and disciplines. The project focuses broadly on selected aspects of 19th and 20th century construction knowledge and practices in Belgium and its former colony, with particular attention to tacit knowledge, in order to express actors, sources and types of crucial but underestimated knowledge. The individual trajectory of each doctoral student is part of this extended team, operating in the 3 universities (ULB, UGent and VUB). Intensive exchanges and shared results between team members are crucial for the success of the project. The doctoral positions are each situated in one of the 3 fields of dialogue: (1) history of the construction of colonial history; (2) the legal history of construction and (3) the planning history of construction history. This specific vacancy is issued by the Free University of Brussels (ULB) and engages the dialogue between the history of town planning and the history of construction. It is co-supervised by the teachers. Rika Devos (ULB) and Michiel Dehaene (UGhent). The doctorate is planned as a joint doctorate between the two universities.

The dialogue between the history of town planning and the history of construction will focus on the specific demands produced by the process of metropolitan transformation in the 20th century, both in the formation and in the expansion of the urban agglomerations of Brussels, Antwerp and Liège during the inter-war period and the inter-war period. Glorious Thirties. This sub-team studies the response of the construction industry to the specific demands of remodeling the urban geography and its building stock and the resulting relationships between contractors, architects and emerging developers. It analyzes both the local interaction of these actors and their organization into professional networks.

This doctoral thesis focuses on the specific demands produced by the process of metropolitan transformation in the 20th century.both in the formation and expansion of the urban agglomerations of Brussels, Antwerp and Liège during the interwar period and Glorious Thirties. The context of the study is shaped by the construction industry’s response to specific demands for reshaping urban geography and its building stock and the resulting relationships between contractors, architects and emerging developers. It analyzes both the local interaction of these actors and their organization into professional networks.

More specifically, the study explores the relationship between pioneer activity on the outskirts and the remodeling of the urban core. From previous research at UGent, we know that the same actors engaged in the development of virgin land development were also active in projects aimed at the densification and renovation of the existing city, bringing not only models development but also specific institutional and technical capacities. The doctoral course focuses in particular on three configurations: (1) The role of contractors in the construction of major metropolitan programs, starting from the fringe (eg Van Riel & Van den Bergh in Antwerp); (2) The emergence of development groups specific to Brussels producing certain typical components of the post-war city (supermarkets, service stations, large apartments); (3) Public-private development coalitions that combined investment in infrastructure with renewal of the urban core in Liège. The successful candidate will be based alternately at ULB and UGent, in order to allow dynamic interaction with team members and full integration into both institutions.