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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

GEOG3550 Global Cities: Miami

20 creditsClass Size: 23

Module manager: Dr Robert Vanderbeck

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is mutually exclusive with

GEOG3042Urban and Regional Development: A Case Study of Athens
GEOG3046Global Cities: Buenos Aires

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module offers students the opportunity to undertake a week of field work in Miami. The fieldtrip includes both lecturer directed work and independent investigation in the field. The trips are prefaced by lecture sessions, both for the whole group and for each individual field trip. During these lectures important background and contextual information is provided so that students can relate their explorations in the field to themes from level 3 BA Human Geography modules.MiamiThis week-long residential fieldtrip provides students with the opportunity to explore and conduct independent research on the human geographies of one of the most dynamic urban areas in the US. Located on Florida’s Atlantic coast, Miami is the southernmost major metropolitan areas in the US, with a subtropical climate, multi-ethnic population (including a substantial Cuban influence), distinctive Art Deco architectural traditions, and thriving tourist industry. The city is also considered a global leader in finance, culture, media, entertainment, and international trade, especially serving as a gateway between the US and Latin America. The South Beach (SoBe) area, located on a series of barrier islands, has undergone rapid processes of gentrification in the past several decades, transforming into a major international attraction with a diverse demographic makeup, including one of the US’s largest gay and lesbian populations. While ranked as one of the world’s richest cities, Miami at the same time confronts high levels of racial segregation (particularly amongst its African American and Haitian populations) and faces significant challenges related to social exclusion. Through a series of guided activities and independent research, students will come to understand processes of rapid urban and social transformation as they unfold within the context of globalisation.


On completion of the module, the student should have acquired:
1. An appreciation of the characteristics of the urban environments of Miami and the geographical processes which underlie their development;
2. Skills in the identification, collection and representation of a variety of information and data sources;
3. An ability to undertake independent field research, plan projects and write reports;
4. An understanding of the practical application of concepts and methods learnt in the classroom.

Learning outcomes
1. An understanding of key theories around multiculturalism, consmoplitanism, transnationalism, gentrification, racial segregation and social exclusion.
2. The role of social, economic and cultural factors in the shaping of cities.
3. An understanding of key social policy debates and initiatives in influencing planning in cities.
4. An appreciation of the role of diverse populations in the creation of urban social geographies.

Skills outcomes
Knowledge and Understanding
The dynamic nature of geographical thought and practice and the inter-relationships between the discipline and the social sciences
Patterns and processes of environmental change and their inter-relationships with human activities
Spatial patterns and relationships in human phenomena at a variety of scales
The geography of places and their constitution by environmental, economic, social and political processes, and the influence of places on these processes
The geographies of difference and inequality with particular reference to historical development, ethnicity, class, gender and the changing nature of urban and regional economies and policy
Contemporary debates about time-space relationships, globalization and global interconnections
The role of changes in technology, the nature of work and labour markets in influencing spatial patterns of economic activity
The contribution of geography to development of environmental political, economic and cultural agendas, policies and practices

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
Undertake effective field work (with due regard for safety and risk assessment)
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


Lectures and student-centred learning together with approximately one week of field work in Miami, covering the following themes:

Multi-ethnic populations, gentrification, migration, racial segregation, social exclusion, international trade, globalisation, urban and social transformation.

Students choose a field trip at the end of the previous academic year. It is hoped that it will be possible to accommodate most students in their first choice destination.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours141.00
Total Contact hours59.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Private study will take the following forms:
1) General reading to prepare for and supplement lectures.
2) Reading to prepare for the field trip.
3) Reading to prepare, research and conduct the three assessments.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Through support opportunities provided prior to, during, and after field activities, including project proposals, group support activities and opportunities for face to face feedback with the instructors.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Group ProjectProposal - submitted prior to field trip0.00
Project3,500 word report70.00
FieldworkFieldwork essay - 1,500 words30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

'Group project proposal' is pass-to-progress

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2018


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