Selected Potential PhD Topics

Prof. Dr. Jens M. Gurr

  • Negotiations of Urbanity: Towards a Cultural History of Key Media
  • The Connection between the City and Urbanity: Historical Perspectives - and Urbanity Today
  • Representations of Urban Complexity in Contemporary Film
  • The Negotiation of Central Urban Issues in Street Art
  • ...

Prof. Dr. Rudolf Juchelka

  • Airport Cities: New Types of Urban Structures
  • Regional Economic Promotion and Urban Development
  • Transferabililty of the European City Model to other Cultures
  • Evaluation of new Mobility Concepts in Urban Areas
  • Small and Medium sized Cities in Europe: Position and Development in a Globalized World
  • ...

Professor Dr. Fabian Kessl

  • Informal urban education spaces - the reconstruction of invisible education agreements in major German cities.
  • “Social mapping” as a new governing tool in a post-welfare-state context. The example of local crime and social atlases.
  • Migration and gentrification - Spatial patterns of movement in urban space as an expression of new social problems
  • Relationships between urban climatology and the development of economic space.
  • Space, Education, Power. The reassertion of space in educational theory.
  • Gentrification in the post-welfare society.
  • Mapping the Political Struggle on Social Services in Istanbul and Berlin.
  • ...

Prof. Dr. Bernd Noche

  • Sustainable economic concepts in urban transport systems
  • Development of new logistic services based on technologies of the Future Internet
  • Evaluation of urban systems using logistic methods
  • ...

Prof. Dr. J. Alexander Schmidt

The healthy city –

  • What does the term „Walkability of a city“ mean and what effects does it have on the health of the inhabitants?
  • How does a healthy city look like?
  • ... 

The city and climate change –

  • Interdisciplinary approaches and innovative adaption to climate change within a city – a new cityscape?
  • Resilient Cities – New Idea or the “Emperor’s New Clothes”?
  • ...

Urban planning strategies–

  • Strategies for a successful urban planning coping with uncertainties - Profiting from Uncertainty
  • ...

Prof. Dr. Renatus Widmann

  • Development of novel heat transport systems within the existing urban infrastructure
  • Potential of local and semi-centralized storage for precipitation water in urban drainage
  • Algae biomass as a renewable energy storage
  • Optimization of algae growth by the use of new LED technology
  • ...

Research Questions or background information to current doctoral project topics. Interested students should look absolutely for an interdisciplinary approach:

1)    Assessment of the Sustainability of Chinese Eco-City-Projects since EXPO 2010
High-speed urbanisation and economic hypergrowth come at a high price for the urban lifeworld in China: Contaminated waters, harmful and climate-damaging air pollution, mega-urban time-and-space-devouring cityscapes etc. threaten human health and wellbeing. Against this backdrop, numerous pioneering urban development projects have been initiated in China for some years now - with an upward tendency.
The research task aims at the assessment of chosen eco-city projects, from planning through to realisation, according to accepted sustainability criteria. Not only ecological, economic and social factors should be taken into consideration, but also cultural aspects, for example, in comparison with European eco-city projects.    

2)    Restoring heavily modified water bodies: A comparison of the Emscher system (Germany) with the Klang River (Malaysia)? (other comparisons with the Emscher system are also possible)
The Klang River drains the region of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. This river is one of the most polluted rivers in Malaysia (heavily modified water body). Malaysia will improve the river soon. The renaturation of the “Emscher Region” (in the Ruhr area) could serve as a model for the renaturation of the Klang River in Malaysia. Based on the "role model" of the Emscher-Region, the research has to develop different scenarios (cost, techniques, time, and goals). The doctoral research should include social, cultural and religious facts. The University of Duisburg-Essen has excellent contacts in Malaysia, which can be used for this research project. Other comparisons with the Emscher-System are also possible.

3)    Gated Neighbourhoods in Brazil – Security, Lifestyles and Segregation of Latin American Middle Class Urban Habitats
As a member of the so-called BRIC states, Brazil is an aspiring emerging country with ambitions to a high level of development of Latin American character. The rise of Brazil is not only reflected by its rapid urbanisation, but also by the concomitant growth of its middle classes in a social environment that is marked by social disparities.
Against this backdrop, the research interest is focused on the consequences of the observed social developments for the production of urban space. How do the new middle classes in Brazil typically live? Which urban spatial patterns, visions, lifestyles, architectural and planning fashions affect these social groups' claims to urban space? Which role do gated communities play and how do they differ from compounds in the US, in Europe or in China?

4)    Management of large public construction projects: What conclusions can be drawn for project development from the recent experience with the implementation of large public projects in Germany? (Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Stuttgart 21, Airport BER and others)

5)    Media discourses about the realization of large public construction projects in the late 20th and the early 21st centuries