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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

GEOG2046 The Making of the Modern City

20 creditsClass Size: 82

Module manager: Dr Asa Roast

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module covers changing social conditions and the planning of cities in the 'modern' world, here taken as the period from about 1850 onwards. The origins and development of modern urban planning are considered with special emphasis placed on their growing complexity and diversity in the 20th century. The focus is on understanding the logics and ideologies which formed interventions into urban and regional geography by individuals and institutions in positions of power. The worldwide diffusion of European planning practices is examined, as well as its impact on local populations, as part of a broad international scope of investigation.


On completion of this module students should have acquired:
i) an understanding of issues and themes in the planning and development of cities in the modern world (ca 1850 onwards), with particular regard to issues of power, social injustice, and modernist planning and development
ii) an appreciation of how modern urban geographies were produced, and why
iii) an appreciation of how literary and visual representations have influenced urban development in the modern period
iv) an understanding of theoretical perspectives on urban planning and development in the modern world, and the ideas of modern and modernity
v) an understanding of the challenges to and failures of modernist planning, and the emergence of postmodern urbanization, neoliberal urbanism, and neo-modern planning

Learning outcomes
- an understanding of modernist planning and urbanization, and postmodern, neo-modern and anti-modern responses
- an understanding of the logics and ideas behind interventions in cities and regions throughout the world
- an understanding of the historical and geographical relationship between urban development, power, and ideology
- detailed knowledge of the character of selected cities, and their place within wider systems. This includes Asian, Latin American, Eastern European, Western European and North American cities
- skills in the identification and acquisition of literature and other sources, and knowledge of selected techniques of information retrieval, analysis and presentation in oral and written formats
- an understanding of the historical and geographical relationship between urban development, power, and ideology
- the ability to use primary source materials to build an argument in a structured essay about ideas and historical geography
- the ability to use of archival materials, photographs and other urban methodologies as primary source data in an written project

Skills outcomes
Research and analytical methods such as use of primary source materials in crafting an argument and a research-based essay

Cognitive skills
Abstraction and synthesis of information from a variety of sources
Assessment and critical evaluation of the merits of contrasting theories, explanations, policies
Critical analysis and interpretation of data and text
Developing reasoned arguments
Solving problems and making reasoned decisions

Practical/professional skills
Plan, design, execute and report geographical research both individually and as part of a team
Collect, interpret and synthesise different types of quantitative and qualitative geographical data
Recognise the ethical issues involved in geographical debates and enquiries

Key skills
Learn in familiar and unfamiliar situations
Communicate effectively (in writing, verbally and through graphical presentations)
Use information technology effectively (including use of spreadsheet, database and word processing programmes; Internet and e-mail)
Identify, retrieve, sort and exchange geographical information using a wide range of sources
Work as part of a team and to recognise and respect the viewpoints of others
Manage time and organise work effectively.


The module concentrates on the period from approximately 1850 onwards, and introduces students to the following themes:
Urbanisation and urban redevelopment in periods of industrialisation and colonial expansion.
Urbanization and urban redevelopment in periods of deindustrialization and post-colonial fragmentation
Social change in cities in Britain, Europe and selected other parts of the world, including East Asia. Eastern Europe and North and South America.
The development of ideas and practice in urban planning and modern architecture and the diffusion of planning and architectural practice around the world.
Challenges to and failures of modernism, rational planning and postwar urbanism.
Knowledge of an understanding of the rise of postmodern perspectives on urbanization, neomodern planning, grassroots reactions against

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours152.00
Total Contact hours48.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Private study will take two forms:
1) General reading to prepare for and supplement weekly lectures and seminars.
2) Research aimed at the completion of a final project.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Seminars will be used for preparing students for the final projects, and will help ensure understand of material and assessments

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ProjectFinal project - 4000 words100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 21/01/2020


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