Global Opportunities

TCP2028 : Understanding Cities

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To build critical, social-scientific understanding of contemporary cities and processes of urban change.
•       To give students an understanding of the key debates in contemporary urban theory.
•       To link theoretical debates, processes of urban change, and urban policy and planning debates using specific case studies and examples.

This module uses a range of teaching styles – lectures, videos and discussions – to present a cutting-edge and critical introduction to the understanding of contemporary cities. The course addresses a wide range of types of cities; ’global’ cities such as London; postindustrial cities such as Newcastle; and Global South mega-cities such as Mumbai. Using the latest insights from a wide range of social-scientific research on urban change to address this wide range of examples, the module will allow students to gain insights into contemporary urban theory. It will use these to build an understanding of how contemporary cities are changing and how these changes raise major challenges for urban planning and policy making.

Outline Of Syllabus

1 Introduction:Cities as complex shifting assemblages
21st Century urbanism - global cities; peripheries & margins; sticky vs slippery space
2 Power, Place & Politics in the City – The City from the ground up and from above-below:
DiY & tactical urbanism, global elites and cities as places of power
3 Cultural Cities: Art, Enterprise and Urban Governance
4 Sustainable Cities? The Climate emergency and the fight for better tomorrow??
5 The City and Culture
6 The Ageing City
7 People make cities: Tactical Urbanism
8 Urban Futures
9 Case Study City 1
10.Case Study City 2
11. Case Study City 3

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion170:0070:00Reading and research specifically focussed on assessment preparation and completion
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00Synchronous scheduled in person lectures
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading175:0075:00Reading and learning as set out within the lectures and developed in the workshop discussions and
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops112:0022:00Synchronous workshops in class debating key issues discussed during the lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time111:0011:00Informal online synchronous sessions to catch up on the weekly material
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Weekly lecture material, followed by viewing of a film with contextual reading linked to topic, followed by online discussion of material led by co-module leaders. Structured readings supplied each week. Online support for preparation of assessments.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Design/Creative proj2A80Visual assignment - students can choose for a wide variety: film, poster, collage, picture book etc.
Design/Creative proj2M20a summary of their proposed end of course project
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The visual assignment prepares students to be able to illustrate their ideas in a high quality, professional manner which will greatly help them for their future career as planners/urban designers. The mid-term 20% assignment is meant to focus students early on their final submission so that they achieve high quality results at the end of the course.

Reading Lists