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GEO3130 : Mapping the City

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Wen Lin
  • Co-Module Leader: Dr Gainbi Park
  • Lecturer: Professor Rachel Franklin
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module presents the study of cities from a spatial analytic perspective, drawing on theory and concepts from both urban and social geography. Major concepts in this module focus on urban development and change, the socio-demographic fabric of the city, and accessibility and spatial inequality, both at the scale of particular cities and at the scale of systems of cities.
These concepts are engaged with through GIS, spatial analytics, and visualization, with the aim of developing enlightened producers and consumers of urban research, policy, and analytics. Specifically, the module covers principles of GIS, cartography, and spatial analytics through engagement with the key urban topics identified above.

This module has three goals:
•       To develop an understanding of the concepts related to urban geography such as the internal structure of the city, urban systems, social transformation, urban form and experience.
•       To develop comfort and competency with the independent use of GIS and spatial analytics for exploring and investigating spatial processes and relationships in urban environment.
•       To provide hands-on experience of using GIS tools in urban geography and critically evaluate the advantages and limitations of GIS mapping and analysis.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will be taught over two semesters, with a combination of lectures and tutorials. Lecture portion of teaching time will cover the fundamentals of GIS, spatial analysis, and cartography, as well as core concepts and topics in urban geography. Practicals offer a hands-on opportunity for students to apply the lecture material, working with real data in a GIS environment.

Semester 1:
-       Urban Systems and settlement patterns
-       Introduction to cartography
-       Urban demography: who is where
-       Data management and manipulation in a GIS
-       Thematic mapping: how to try not to lie with maps
-       Spatial Analysis I: containment, intersection, proximity, and density

Semester 2:
-       Mental maps and perceptions of the urban environment
-       Collecting data in the field
-       Environmental justice
-       Participatory mapping
-       Urban accessibility
-       Geodemographics
-       Neighborhood change, displacement, and gentrification

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical152:0030:00PiP Practical and Lecture combination
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1105:00105:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time51:005:00Practical and project consultation.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Practicals combine lecture material, which introduce key theories, concepts and methods related to spatial analytics and urban geography, with complementary hands-on opportunities to apply methods and concepts covered in lectures.

Teaching time is structured in longer blocks so that lecture and lab activities can be rebalanced as necessary over the course of the year (eg, when a concept is especially tricky, there will be less lecture time and more hands-on practice).

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M501600 word self-designed project on data and topic choice.
Portfolio1M25Portfolio part A, 800 word equivalent portfolio of practicals (analytical output and maps) accompanied by interpretive text.
Portfolio2M25Portfolio part B, 800 word equivalent portfolio of practicals (analytical output and maps) accompanied by interpretive text.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The portfolios: Assemble the graphical and analytical output produced over the course of the practicals, accompanied by summary interpretive text of results. The portfolio assesses students’ ability to carry out basic urban analysis, interpret results, and contextualize to a larger literature or set of concepts.

The project essay reports upon a self-designed urban GIS project, which assesses students’ ability to independently apply concepts and skills learned from the lectures and practicals, as well as critically reflecting upon these practices of using GIS and spatial data. The essay assesses students’ achievements in executing and evaluating a GIS project and their ability in connecting these experiences with core concepts and approaches taught over the course of the module.

An alternative form of assessment will be set for exchange students from non-English speaking home institutions replacing the examination. The alternative form of assessment is set in accordance with the University Assessment tariff.

Reading Lists