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TCP2033 : Urban Infrastructures: A Lens on the City

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Diego Garcia Mejuto
  • Lecturer: Professor Geoff Vigar, Mr Clive Davies
  • Owning School: Architecture, Planning & Landscape
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


Roads, sewers, telecommunication networks or schools are essential to the development and functioning of cities; they provide the conditions for urban life yet they also constrain its possibilities. The module aims to foster a critical understanding of economic, social, environmental and political processes in the city through a focus on the infrastructures that condition them. This aim is two-fold: it seeks, on the one hand, to help students develop a critical understanding of the key issues and theoretical debates in the social sciences on urban infrastructures, and, on the other, to enable them to apply and enhance this understanding through the analysis of particular urban infrastructures in the Newcastle and Gateshead area. It thus combines theoretical reflection on globally relevant issues with applied and place-specific work. Importantly, this empirical focus allows the students to engage with processes of urban change through the preparation of proposals on the studied infrastructures.

Outline Of Syllabus

The first part of the module consists of a series of lectures and supporting sessions to provide the students with the knowledge basis necessary for the completion of the coursework. It combines general content on infrastructures, the city and planning and governance with specific content on particular types of urban infrastructures (e.g. transport infrastructures, green infrastructures, and social infrastructures). The last part of the module consists of supported group work to apply and develop the knowledge acquired in the first part.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture62:0012:00Weekly lectures for the delivery of the key module content.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00Weekly sessions to complement the lectures and support the preparation of the individual assignment.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops52:0010:00Supported workshops for the development of the group assignment.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery51:005:00Weekly drop-in sessions to support the studio work.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1167:00167:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures provide students with an introduction to both the relationship between infrastructures and urban processes and the range of infrastructures that support the functioning of the city. The associated small group teaching sessions further help students to develop a critical understanding of these issues by promoting their direct engagement with them. The group workshops finally enable them to apply this understanding to a particular setting whilst enhancing their team work and visual presentation skills.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M602,000-word individual essay.
Poster1A40Group poster.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation1MGroup presentation.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Both the individual essay and the group poster assess the understanding of the relationship between infrastructures and urban processes. In addition, the essay further permits evaluating the awareness of key global debates and types of urban infrastructures and the independent thinking and argumentation skills, and the group poster assesses both team work and presentation skills and the ability to analyse and engage with urban environments.

The group presentation aims to support students in developing their group summative assessment.

N.B. Group work will be marked in accordance with the group work policy, and therefore individual marks might be adjusted following the procedure for monitoring group work outlined in it.

Reading Lists