This research is conducted from 04/09/19 to 04/09/2022 as set out by the requirement of the Danish PhD[2] model of three years. The PhD call is in the interdisciplinary fields of landscape architecture, urban planning and design (LUPD), with the expectation to use design-based research methods such as the research-through-design. The PhD call[2] sets out the point of departure in establishing the primary research question, “How can sea-level rise be used as a power of transformation that positively contributes to rethinking and informing existing urban structures?”


Unlike other PhD models from around the globe, this particular PhD encouraged collaboration with various stakeholders and researchers (more common in Danish PhDs). In Denmark, there is a push to foster more critical inter-and transdisciplinary collaboration to question the entrenched disciplinary structures such as pre-established methods and solutions. I was fortunate enough to be involved with RealDania’s[3] research network through my supervisors (Professor Tom Nielsen and Associate Professor Katrina Wiberg) whose research was also part of this network. The RealDania research network seeks to create and share knowledge and contribute with new research on climate scenarios, risk minimization and urban development (RealDania, n.d.). The main intention behind this network is to strengthen the work across disciplines and the researchers cover a wide number of disciplines and include urban planners, architects, engineers, economists, lawyers, anthropologists, political scientists and biologists (RealDania, n.d.). The PhD position arose out of RealDania’s “Cities and the rising seawater” pilot projects[4] that ran in parallel to other research initiatives from Aarhus School of Architecture (AAA), Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and University of Copenhagen (KU). The involvement in this research network was vital in having access to numerous resources such as relevant academic reports, expert feedback from other disciplines, knowledge exchange with other researchers, access to various lectures/workshops related to my research, opportunities for collaboration and networks to relevant stakeholders.

    Therefore, through the involvement with the RealDania research network, I was invited to get involved with one of the pilot projects from the “Cities and the rising water” initiative, where the Municipality of Vejle to work with their pilot project in running an open design competition to rethink coastal adaptation and protection systems in Vejle for the future (see section x.x for more details). My involvement[5] and learnings from working with Vejle Municipality became part of my case study site which was the testing ground for my research questions.

[1] The Danish PhD also involve 420 hours of teaching, 420hours of dissemination, 30 ECTS points from PhD courses and a research stay at a foreign institution for a minimum of three months as a requirement that usually needs to tie in with the research.

[2] This PhD was a call with a specific research question that the participants are asked to address as part of their proposal.

[3] RealDania is a private charitable association in Denmark that supports projects in the built environment through architecture and urban planning. It was established in 2000.

[4] There are seven pilot projects as part of the “Cities and the rising water” initiative from RealDania started in 20xx to address the increasing threat of a sea-level rise in Danish coastal cities…. (RealDania, n.d.; RealDania and KU, 2020)

[5] The majority of the meetings with Vejle Municipality were conducted in Danish, and due to my limited Danish language skills, there were aspects lost in translation.