CP0335 - Cities

SchoolCardiff School of Planning and Geography
Department CodeCPLAN0
Module CodeCP0335
External Subject CodeL700
Number of Credits20
Language of DeliveryEnglish
Module Leader Dr Richard Gale
SemesterSpring Semester
Academic Year2013/4

Outline Description of Module

For the first time in history more than half the world’s population now live in urban areas - understanding cities has never been more important. This module examines how cities function and operate. In drawing upon the urban geography literature it addresses the following issues: conceptualising and theorising urban space/place, spatial relations and structures, issues of economy, power and socio-spatial inequalities; urban policy attempts at combating uneven development, inequality and regeneration strategies; and social justice in the form of social exclusion, the underclass and polarisation. In this sense, the module has strong theoretical, conceptual and empirical components in seeking to develop an understanding of the dynamics of cities.

On completion of the module a student should be able to

1.    Explain the factors which have been influential in shaping the spatial structure of contemporary capitalist cities

2.    Engage in debates about the significance of the social construction of place

3.    Evaluate the spatial implications of urban policy and planning initiatives

How the module will be delivered

The module will be delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, class debates/quizzes and guided independent study.

Skills that will be practised and developed

Whilst studying this module, students will practice and develop the following skills:

1.    Analytical skills

2.    Group working

3.    Presentation of ideas

4.    Responding to feedback

How the module will be assessed

Students will be assessed through two mechanisms. The first is a group presentation. Feedback on this presentation will provide students with an opportunity to develop their thoughts in their second assignment; an individual essay.

Type of assessment





(if applicable)

Approx. date of Assessment

Group presentation




Mid March

Essay (2000 words)




Late April


Assessment Breakdown

Type % Title Duration(hrs) Period Week
Written Assessment 50
Cities - Essay
N/A 1 N/A
Presentation 50
Cities - Presentation
N/A 1 N/A

Syllabus content

This module begins with an introduction to key Geographical concepts of space and place that shape the way we understand cities. We then consider the different scales at which cities operate; examining at one extreme the impacts of globalisation and at the other the existence of communities and neighbourhoods within cities. The module then considers the importance of individual and collective identities within the city before examining the politics of people and place.

The second half of the module assesses how cities sell themselves and compete on a global scale. It then gives consideration to processes of gentrification and the associated issue of inequality in cities. The module examines the relationship between crime and the city before finally discussing the eco city phenomenon.

Essential Reading and Resource List

Key reading:

Allen, J et al (eds) (1999) Unsettling Cities London : Routledge

Hall, T. (2011) Urban Geography.London: Routledge. 4th Edition.

Hall, T et al (eds) (2008) The Sage Companion to the City London: Sage

Latham, A et al (2009) Key Concepts in Human Geography London : Sage

Pacione, M. (2009) Urban Geography. A Global Perspective, London: Routledge. 3rd Edition.


Complementary reading:

Buck, N. et al (2005) Changing Cities. Rethinking Urban Competitiveness, Cohesion and Governance. London: Palgrave.

Eade, J. and Mele, C. (Eds.) (2002) Understanding the City. Oxford: Blackwell.

Fyfe, N. and Kenny, J. (Eds.) (2005) The Urban Geography Reader. London: Routledge.

Lees, L. et al (2010) the Gentrification Reader Routledge: London

Pile, S et al (eds) (1999) Unruly Cities? London:Routledge

Savage, M, Warde, A and Ward, K (2003) Urban Sociology, Capitalism and Modernity 2nd ed Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

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