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Position Details

Academic Personnel

Postdoctoral Scholar in Urban Planning for Health

Position Overview

School / Campus / College: College of Built Environments

Organization: Urban Design & Planning

Title: Postdoctoral Scholar in Urban Planning for Health

Position Details

Position Description

Duration: 30 months, full-time

Start date: 2 January 2024

Position Description

The Department of Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington, is seeking a postdoctoral scholar with expertise in urban social research to join its team. The postdoctoral scholar will be under the primary mentorship of Dr. Helen Pineo, whose work investigates how urban change can support health and sustainability in the context of environmental degradation and inequities. The candidate will be working on a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded study called Change Stories (

The salary for this position is $5705 per month. Postdoctoral scholars are represented by UAW 4121 and are subject to the collective bargaining agreement, unless agreed exclusion criteria apply. This is a full-time position with a 12-month service period, with the possibility for yearly renewal dependent upon performance. For more information, please visit the University of Washington Labor Relations website.

Change Stories is an international research partnership that aims to spark dialogue and learning through storytelling about sustainable urban development. Researchers and community-based partners have partnered to shift common practices of how stories about successful urban change are told and who tells them. Co-investigators in Belfast, Belo Horizonte and Bogotá are using ethnographic and community-based participatory research methods to investigate the historical, social, political, economic and cultural context in which each city’s transformation occurred and individual change narratives.


The postdoctoral scholar will work closely with Dr. Pineo (the project PI) and co-investigators to synthesize learning across the case study cities and develop transferable findings. Further, the postdoctoral scholar will also make relevant theoretical contributions to understandings of 1) processes of urban transformation, 2) the role of stories in urban politics and policy mobilization and 3) methodological and conceptual innovations about epistemological pluralism (specifically in health and urban development sciences). Non-academic activities will also be a core part of the project, including partnering with U.S. and global organizations to collaboratively produce and share the “change stories” from each city through creative means.


The candidate will have the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from a transdisciplinary and international group of scholars and non-academic partners with expertise in urban planning, social determinants of health, epidemiology, anthropology, sociology, architecture and more. The role will be based at the UW Seattle Campus. The postdoc will collaborate closely with partners based in the USA and globally (both through remote meetings and in-person fieldwork and events).

Diversity is a core value at University of Washington and in the College of Built Environments. We are passionate about building and sustaining an inclusive and equitable working and learning environment for all students, staff, and faculty. We believe every member on our team enriches our diversity by exposing us to a broad range of ways to understand and engage with the world, identify challenges, and to discover, design and deliver solutions. We are looking for a colleague who will champion the College’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and help our unit’s research efforts, working in collaboration with diverse partners. 


  • The candidate will contribute to meeting all aims of the study, specifically through:
  • ·       Gathering qualitative data using in-person and remote methods, conducting data analyses, and interpreting and communicating findings.
  • ·       Writing both scholarly (manuscripts and conference abstracts/presentations) and non-scholarly outputs (policy briefings, journalistic stories of change, reports, etc.).
  • ·       Supporting ongoing reflection and refinement, particularly in relation to the project’s commitment to transdisciplinary, equitable and anti-colonial research approaches.
  • ·       Collaborating with partners (and/or suppliers) to plan activities and co-develop materials that support the implementation of new understandings of sustainable urban development, including producing non-academic outputs to communicate research findings and “change stories” for diverse audiences.
  • ·       Contributing to co-learning events with partners regarding developments and innovations in the relevant research literature.
  • ·       Participating in and coordinating team meeting, including the use of technology to support inclusive meetings for participants that do not speak English.
  • ·       Assisting with grant administration and management, including reporting.
  • ·       Potentially supervising others on the project, such as graduate and undergraduate students.
  • ·       Traveling in the USA and internationally (especially the three case study cities) to conduct research, collaborate with partners and present at events/conferences.
  • ·       Contributing to the development and teaching of course materials related to urban narratives and transformation.
  • ·       Contributing to other related duties as assigned or requested.


Ph.D. in urban planning, geography, political science, or related fields (and have no more than 2 years of total postdoctoral experience at the time of appointment as the University of Washington postdoctoral scholar appointments are for a temporary, defined period not to exceed five years/60 months, including any previous postdoctoral experience).

  • Experience gathering and analyzing qualitative datasets, ideally with experience of using Qualitative Data Analysis Software (e.g. NVivo or ATLAS.ti) and reporting findings.
  • Proficiency with remote collaboration and meetings tools/software applications (e.g. Zoom, Microsoft Teams) and ability to learn new applications as necessary.
  • Strong record of written work (ideally scholarly publications and non-academic reports/outputs) and verbal presentations.
  • Ability to work in a transdisciplinary team that includes scientists and community-based organizations, and other partners including policy-makers and others.
  • Demonstrated interest and/or experience in theory and methodology in fields/topics such as urban transformation, storytelling, policy mobility, comparative urban research, social determinants of health, healthy urbanism, and anti-colonial or decolonial thinking.


  • Candidates should send the following:
  • Interfolio application
  • Cover letter
  • CV
  • Two examples of written work, ideally one scholarly publication and one general/professional audience publication (which can include media articles, blog posts, policy briefings, short stories, or other)
  • Diversity statement describing the value of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) with examples of past and future actions that would exhibit those values in the workplace and in the context of this role.


Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

University of Washington is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, genetic information, gender identity or expression, age, disability, or protected veteran status.

Benefits Information

A summary of benefits associated with this title/rank can be found at Appointees solely employed and paid directly by a non-UW entity are not UW employees and are not eligible for UW or Washington State employee benefits.

Commitment to Diversity

The University of Washington is committed to building diversity among its faculty, librarian, staff, and student communities, and articulates that commitment in the UW Diversity Blueprint ( Additionally, the University’s Faculty Code recognizes faculty efforts in research, teaching and/or service that address diversity and equal opportunity as important contributions to a faculty member’s academic profile and responsibilities (

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Disability Services

To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact the Disability Services Office at 206-543-6450 or

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Office of the Title IX Coordinator

Valery Richardson, Title IX Coordinator
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4311 11th Ave NE Seattle, WA 98105