Transport disadvantage, isolation and gentrification

Mapping the darkside of urban infill and transport inequity: Transport disadvantage, isolation and gentrification

Degree type


Closing date

6 March 2023



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Rapid urbanisation is driving social and spatial changes to cities globally. Its social effects include growing income divides, disparities in urban service accessibility (e.g., public transport), rising levels of income insecurity, housing unaffordability, segregation, and social isolation and loneliness. Planners have typically sought to address such issues through ‘spatial fixes’ (e.g., urban densification and infill). Purportedly, by efficiently using existing infrastructure (e.g., water, sewerage & electricity) economic and environmental costs can be reduced. Higher density housing is thought to accommodate more people in closer proximity to schools, parks, employment centres, healthcare and other urban services. Evidence suggests such planning policies can have unintended consequences. These include rising property prices and rent, and gentrification. People able to afford higher prices benefit from better services and amenity, whereas those who cannot are displaced to the suburban periphery, with reduced access to urban services, and higher levels of car-dependence.

Transport disadvantage is poorly understood in small to mid-size cities. According to BITRE, Hobart and Launceston are among the worst performing cities in Australia for residents’ access to public transportation. This PhD project will examine the impacts of City Deal initiatives in Greater Hobart and Greater Launceston, designed to promote urban infill, reduce car-dependence and improve housing affordability. The project will examine whether these interventions are reducing or exacerbating transport and housing disadvantage. Such disadvantage is not just a function of residential location it also has social dimensions, acutely impacting people with disabilities, children and teenagers, and people with cultural and linguistic diversity. The project will develop a robust understanding of the issue in Tasmania, using a mixed-methods research design (e.g., spatial analysis, interviews, participant observation, e-diaries and visual creative methods), with the objective of informing evidence-based policy.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof Jason Byrne


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,854 per annum (2022 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Demonstrated capacity in critical thinking
  • A First Class Honours or equivalent in subject areas relevant to the project (e.g., urban geography, sociology, planning, health)
  • Well-developed research skills

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience working with disadvantaged and vulnerable populations
  • Prior research experience including qualitative and/or qualitative research skills and/or creative and participatory research methods

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Prof Jason Byrne to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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