Christoph Woiwode

Personal statement

Christoph is a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography specialising in urbanisation in the Global South, particularly the Indian subcontinent. He joined the Environment and Culture Field at the College of Liberal Arts in 2017, having previously worked as a resident Visiting Professor at the Indo-German Centre for Sustainability, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, and as lecturer at the Faculty of Spatial Planning, TU Dortmund University, Germany. Before entering academia, he served for two years with the German International Development Agency (GIZ/CIM) as a planning advisor to the Northeast Provincial Council in Sri Lanka.

Christoph completed his Ph.D. in planning studies at University College London in 2007 on a three year research grant from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Prior to undertaking studies for the doctoral degree, he studied social anthropology at Free University Berlin as well as urban and regional planning at Technical University Berlin where he finished with distinction.

Having lived, worked and conducted research in India in the past twenty years, Christoph’s research covers topics such as planning theories, urban governance and government reforms, inequality/poverty and slum development, disaster risks and climate change, and social transformations to sustainability including a keen interest in soft dimensions of development such as culture, religion, spirituality and happiness. In particular, expanding on his cross-disciplinary background, he draws from integral and neo-integrative critical theories and has been exploring transdisciplinary approaches of academia and non-academia collaboration as responses to the multi-dimensional global challenges. Recent and ongoing research projects focus on peri-urbanisation in Chennai, India, and socio-cultural transformation for sustainable living in urban India.

Academic qualifications

  • 2007 - PhD in Planning Studies, University College London
  • 2001 - M.A. Social Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin
  • 2000 - Dipl.-Ing. Urban and Regional Planning, Technical University Berlin.

  • Network Association of European Researchers on Urbanisation in the South (N-AERUS), Europe
  • German Group of Development Anthropology (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Entwicklungsethnologie, AGEE e.V.), Bonn.

Other external roles

  • ongoing Visiting Professor at the Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS) at Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai, India
  • Founder-coordinator of Inner Transitions to Sustainability Group (since 09/2016).

Areas of expertise

  • sustainable urbanisation
  • urban climate change and disaster risks
  • urban socio-cultural change and transformation
  • urban planning and governance
  • international development
  • India/South Asia.


I am part of the teaching teams for the following degree programmes:

  • BSc Geography
  • BA Geography (Human)
  • BSc Geography (Physical)
  • BSc Global Development and Sustainability.

I currently contribute to teaching on the following modules:

  • Global Development* (1st year)
  • Environment, People and Place (1st year)
  • Geographical Fieldwork India (2nd year)
  • The Enterprising Geographer (2nd year)
  • International Volunteering (2nd year)*
  • Development and Disasters (3rd year)
  • Geography Dissertation (3rd year).

*module leader

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