Module Catalogue 2019/20

GEO2128 : Comparative Urbanism and Central Europe: Vienna and Bratislava Fieldcourse

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Matej Blazek
  • Lecturer: Dr Niall Cunningham
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Code Title
GEO2043Key Methods for Human Geographers
Co Requisite Comment

GEO2043 is required as students will need to apply various research methods during the residential fieldwork.

It is recommended that students also take GEO2047 (Political Geography) and/or GEO2110 (Social Geographies) in the second year, as these modules provide some additional context to the key themes of the field trip (e.g. housing, migration and borders). However, these modules are not required, as the scope of the module goes beyond the social/political geography framing.


The aims of the module are to:
•       introduce students to the field of comparative urbanism with a particular focus on Central European cities
•       enable students to develop an understanding of the role of history and geography in urban development
•       provide students with a comparative perspective on (Central) European urban geography
•       help students develop practical fieldwork skills

Outline Of Syllabus

1.       Introduction to the module
2.       Comparative urbanism
3.       History and geography of Central Europe
4.       Twin cities? Bratislava and Vienna
5.       Fieldwork activities and trip logistics

Fieldtrip schedule:
Day 1: Arrival to Bratislava
Day 2: Visit of Slovak/Austrian borders; Visit of Petržalka housing estate and guest talk on housing
Day 3: Guest lecture on immigration; Independent fieldwork in the city centre
Day 4: Transfer to Vienna; Guest lecture on immigration
Day 5: Guided walk through 10th District (Favoriten); Independent fieldwork in the city centre
Day 6: Group work; Group presentations
Day 7: Departure

•       Post-fieldwork surgery on the final assessment

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

On completion of this module students should be able to:
•       demonstrate critical awareness of theories and concepts in the field of comparative urbanism;
•       demonstrate a comparative understanding of the factors shaping urban development in Central Europe
•       reflect on practical, ethical and political questions of doing fieldwork in another country.

Intended Skill Outcomes

On completion of this module students should be able to:
•       collect and analyse materials from the field;
•       plan, conduct and evaluate work in peer groups;
•       present theoretical and practical understandings of fieldwork themes in the written and oral forms.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture52:0010:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading120:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork58:0040:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery12:002:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1108:00108:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The introductory lectures will provide students with knowledge of theoretical, conceptual, empirical and methodological issues pertaining to the module themes. The content will shift from wider theoretical themes (comparative urbanism), through topics specifically relevant to the geographical area of research (Collapse of Austrian-Hungarian Empire, Cold War history and post-socialism, European Union history), to practical issues of the fieldtrip, including logistics and details about the visited cities.

Three types of activities will be central to the fieldtrip: guest lectures (particularly on the topic of immigration), guided walks (particularly on the topic of housing) and independent exploratory fieldwork. These activities will be interrelated.

The follow-up surgery will help students with the completion of the final assessment.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M502000-word essay
Prob solv exercises2M25Oral presentation - 15 minute group presentation
Prob solv exercises2M252 x 500 word glossary entries
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The first assessment requires students to write a glossary entry on a concept or term relevant to the fieldtrip. A list of entries will be produced by the module leader and each student will be allocated two entries randomly. Students will be able to build on the material from introductory lectures but they will be required to provide a richer and deeper account based on independent reading. All entries will be made available to other students on Blackboard prior to the fieldtrip. Collectively, they will provide an enhanced account of the material presented in pre-fieldwork lectures.

Group presentations will expect groups of students to reflect on differences and similarities between Vienna and Bratislava in terms of ONE selected area of fieldwork: housing, immigration and cosmopolitanism, or public space. In this assessment, students will use materials collected and analysed in the field as well as the previously consulted literature. The assessment will enable students to develop their oral communication and group work skills.

The final assessment will be an essay, in which students will reflect on similarities and differences between Bratislava and Vienna more broadly and within the framework of comparative urbanism. The essay will require students to draw on examples from the fieldwork as well as those consulted through extensive work with literature after the fieldtrip. Students will be expected to incorporate the themes of housing, immigration and public space in the essays, but the overall focus will be on the wider underlying factors shaping the geography of these cities.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2019/20 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2020/21 entry will be published here in early-April 2019. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.