Health is one of the main needs of humans. Determinants of health include the social, economic and cultural environment as well as the physical environment. The Emscher conversion - as one of Europe's biggest infrastructure projects - aims at the reconstruction of an 80-kilometre open wastewater conduit to a restored natural waterway. This reconstruction comprises technical, social, cultural, political, economic, and environmental aspects. Thus, the assessment of direct and indirect health impacts of the conversion requires an interdisciplinary approach.

Using the real-life and multi-annual project Emscher conversion as an excellent example to study the complex structure of urban settings, this practice-orientated seminar includes approaches, methods and techniques from epidemiology, water- engineering as well as from urban geography and urban planning. The students are expected to develop a comprehensive view and understanding of urban settings and development processes.

In the 2014 summer course the project will be concentrated on the area of the Rheinische Bahn  in the framework fo "Essen.Neue Wege zum Wasser” and the areas in the immediate vicinities of the five Revierparks that have been established by the Kommunalverband Ruhr (currently Regionalverband Ruhr) in the 1970s in order to improve the recreation and leisure potentials of the Emscher zone. In the course of the last decades the facilities provided in these parks have been changed and improved to meet the demands of the population that have changed likewise. Nevertheless, since 2013 these parks are increasingly criticized as being outdated and no longer competitive on the local and regional leisure and recreation markets.

The students will be working in predefined groups of five to six persons, which are to analyze the historical/spatial development and the structural, social, environmental and health conditions of their dedicated areas. They should define the potentials and deficiencies of these areas - in part with regard to the concept of Ecosysteme Services - and, finally, should characterize the relations between these areas and the parks in terms of leisure, recreation, health and well-being. The checklist for Healthy Urban Development (HUD) will serve as a key tool for the analysis of the areas. Primary and secondary data shall be collected/used and analyzed for this purpose.

Aim is to gain a multidisciplinary understanding of health and its determinants in urban contexts, to identify potential benefits/deficiencies within the investigated areas and finally to describe and discuss these in a project report.