Ph.T. Degree

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The process

A Ph.T. Degree (Philosophy in a Team) is self-directed learning in community. It recognizes that all human knowledge is created and developed collectively. Knowledge is part of our commons.

Information is only scarce, when people make it scarce. If I have knowledge, sharing it does not deprive me of it; it only makes everyone better off. Unfortunately, the modern education system operates on the opposite principle: putting a price on knowledge, so only a few can access it, thereby keeping it scarce. Part of Sacred Economics will be dismantling this scarcity of learning in our lives. It will mean breaking out of the monopoly of schooling, and instead exploring and creating a myriad of learning spaces to connect to the passions, dreams, needs, questions, of each person and community.

Sacred Economics – Charles Eisenstein

A Ph.T. degree is an evolving structure drawing from multiple learning methods (scientific, experiential, artistic and many others) to create a unique learning journey. You might be familiar with other models that share similar principles of learning outside the box: Open Masters, Enrol Yourself and Informal Ph.D.

Freedom includes the ability to choose and achieve our desired outcome and the process by which we get there.

adapted from Amartya Sen – Development as Freedom
Five components of a Ph.T.

A Ph.T. has five basic components. The learning process is witnessed, validated and celebrated by a supportive community that is intellectually and emotionally invested in the theme. The learning process and outcomes are inevitably meaningful because they are deeply connected to the personal values of the self-directed learner. Autonomy to choose your path, innovation by creating a unique design and alignment with your core beliefs support a high level of intrinsic motivation.

“For apart from inquiry, apart from the praxis, individuals cannot be truly human. Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other.”

Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Progress updates about the Ph.T. research and invitations for collaboration might use different channels. Please send me a message if you are interested.

The Research Topic

So, what is the research about? The ultimate goal of my Ph.T. research is to provide tools for city-making to make cities better. The current research question is: How can urban literacy enable more regenerative cities?

Let me provide an initial definition for two key concepts here:

Urban Literacy is the capacity to understand, shape and communicate urban experiences. An approach based on experiential learning in public spaces that includes intellectual, physical and emotional capacities.

Regenerative cities are cities that enhance the existing human and natural systems within its boundaries, its ecoregion and other parts of the world that they might have an influence.


  • Higher urban literacy enhances the collective urban experience
  • Richer urban experiences foster better cities
  • Everyone has something to contribute
  • We only care about what we have knowledge of ( what we can see and measure) or a relationship with (how we respond emotionally)
  • Learning occurs at a physical, emotional and intellectual level
  • There is a reciprocity between city and people or as Richard Sennett puts it: between the Cité and the Ville.

How to get involved

The framework will be built from practical applications and real-life examples as well as urban theories. Whether you are action-oriented or thought-oriented, there is a place for you here.

And as you can see, a Ph.T. includes, at least, two learning journeys: the urban literacy research project itself and the design of self-directed learning in community. If any of those two themes put that spark on your eyes, let’s connect.

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