PhD Dissertation

Best Topics for PhD Dissertation in Urban Studies – A 2023 Guide

To start a research career in doctoral studies, each student needs to undertake a topic of interest to conduct research on it. Students are afraid to explore unfamiliar topics as it would create trouble for them in future. The topics for PhD dissertation are decided in agreement with supervisors. So, you need to do in-depth research before finalising the topic.

A good and effective topic for a doctoral dissertation will decide your future. Fields like urban studies are underrated among research scholars. Students who are afraid to pursue their careers in this field have no idea about its prospects. So, before diving into the topic list, let’s explore more about urban studies.

What Are Urban Studies?

Urban studies are an interdisciplinary field which is extended to geography, planning of infrastructure and transportation, and also related to environment and economics. The field of study is concerned with the development of urban areas by designing and properly implementing a strategy. It involves planning to reinvigorate the city areas and metropolitan stations.

You should not be confused by such a wordy definition. In simple words, urban studies are carried out to modify the city-state for the development of the public. Many branches and types come under the umbrella of urban studies. Students interested in opting for urban studies for their PhD dissertation are unaware of its significance.

Importance of Opting for Urban Studies in PhD:

Every field has its own benefits and demerits. No one can stop you if you are determined to build your career in your desired field. Similarly, urban studies have their own importance in being selected as a topic for PhD dissertation.

Students choosing urban studies as their major discipline build a strong foundation in planning, designing, and managing urban areas. Moreover, they specifically focus on the economy, social welfare, public administration, and management of the human resources of cities. Studying different aspects at a time is complicated. This is why urban studies are important for developing and upgrading a country’s areas.

Types of Urban Studies:

You may get an idea that urban studies comprise various studies. Now it is time to explore its types and topics examples for your PhD dissertation. The following types will enlighten you with different aspects and themes of urban studies:

Urban Designing and Planning:

This area covers the development of strategies and schemes to revitalise the existing and future state of the city. It covers technical, public and political challenges for the initiative of policies. It involves planning and designing of a building to minimise the negative effects of the building, taking care of public and environmental policies and spaces between buildings. It is done to improve the infrastructure and attract investors and developers to benefit society.

The role of urban designing and planning is to develop a strategy knowing its implications. Some topics for PhD dissertation are:

  • Study the relationship between urban and rural areas in metropolitan communities.
  • Influence of neighbourhood programs on poor urban areas and their livelihood.
  • Reappraisal of management practices in both rural and urban areas.
  • Evaluation of open spaces for the public in cities: quality, structure, and improvement.
  • Understanding of cultural outlook due to urban-rural immigration.
  • Changes in policies and development of cities to ensure women’s safety in gathering.


GIS (Geographic Information System) technology is employed to deeply investigate the geographical information of the building. It involves the analysis, framework and visualisation of data which is eventually used in planning and designing urban tasks. It further includes the study of land suitability and transportation, assessment and impact of geographical information on the building. GIS study is more in research trends nowadays. Some examples of topics are:

  • Merits and demerits of GIS technology in the future development of sustainable cities.
  • Study the linkage between BIM and GIS information integrated into the system for data analysis.
  • Use of GIS technology to improve waste management policy.

Urban Finance:

Everyone loves the growth and planning of a good and smart city. But what about the costs of constructing such cities? Urban finance is the discipline of urban studies in which you deal with cities’ finances, accounting, and economics. Planning the infrastructure in terms of finance will help to successfully implement plans to build sustainable cities. Here are some interesting topics for PhD dissertation:

  • Assessment of revenue generated from GIS and BIM technologies integrated into systems
  • Investigating the effect of housing partnership in terms of finance and maintenance.
  • Financial strategies for the modification in municipal and public tax management.

Travel Planning:

People are curious to visit different places and explore their cultural diversity. Another urban study involves the planning of tourism in the city. If you are interested in exploring cultural diversity in relationship with people of various backgrounds, it would be great to choose it as a PhD dissertation. Best examples of topics are:

  • Explore the development of policies to introduce ecotourism in urban and rural areas.
  • The impact of immigrants on the religious culture of the city.
  • The impact of tourism on the livelihood of poor people.

Environmental Studies:

Most investors ignore the environmental hazard during the construction of a building. Developing environmental strategies is necessary to keep a check on climate status. Studying the relationship between urban cities and the environment can be good for merging both the public and science fields. You may discuss with your supervisor for PhD dissertation help before finalising the topic. See the examples of the following topics for an initial idea:

  • The assessment of environmental policies of solid waste management in rural areas.
  • Development of a strategy to combat flood crises in rural areas.
  • The impact of green infrastructure in the promotion of urban-rural landscapes.


Choosing the topic for PhD dissertation can be a difficult task. You must check various factors before selecting a topic, such as data availability, prospects, and implications. Decide which type of urban studies you are interested in exploring. When you decide the sub-field, it will be easy for you to choose a topic from it. Think critically and analyse different aspects of the topic. PhD scholars are known to bring innovation in their research work. So make sure you choose the topic in which you have an interest.

Read: Guidelines for Writing a Dissertation Abstract at PhD Level


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