the serial nomination of early German university towns (together with Tuebingen)
In fact, there are some cities that work persistently on an inscription. Marburg is one example, the recent approach is the third or fourth, I think. Now the focus is on the „unity between university and town" and „the university town as a developing cultural space". I have doubts that Marburg and Tübingen are really unique among university cities in Europe and that they have enough outstanding value to justify an inscription. Maybe, a transnational serial nomination of European university cities could be a more promising approach, comparable to the European spas. However, there is a positive expert opinion from a Dutch historian. But that's no surprise, at this stage almost all suggestions for the new German T-list are supported by one or more experts.
For those who are interested in more details, the expert report is available (also in English, in the second part of the pdf-file):http://www.uni-marburg.de/profil/Geschichte/unesco/broschuere.pdf
Other German cities changed their nomination over the years, like Bayreuth and Kassel. Both initially included several palaces, buildings and parks, but upon the advice of the national ICOMOS they focused their nomination on the most outstanding parts. Bayreuth was successful, next year we will see whether Kassel also succeed.
What I thought might be worth highlighting is that these cities don't really care about nominating world class sites, but rather their own sites.
The real "world class sites" in Europe are already on the list (with only a few exceptions). So I think it's understandable that countries like Germany, France, Spain, and Italy try to find thematic niches for their future nominations.
I try to follow the ongoing discussions in Germany to create a new T list. In most cases, the local authorities are well aware of the fact that cathedrals, palaces and historic town centers are overrepresented and they refer to the Unesco Filling-the-gap-report. Nevertheless, there are some palaces and monasteries on the preliminary list. But I hope that the evaluation committee will make a reasonable selection.
For example: In North Rhine-Westphalia, they selected only one out of nine suggestions because the others failed to provide evidence for OUV: the extension of the Zollverein WHS (in my opinion one the best proposals of the preliminary list). So, there is some reason to be optmistic.