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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

GEOG1450 The Urban Age

20 creditsClass Size: 200

Module manager: Dr Asa Roast

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Module replaces


This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module focuses on the dynamic nature of urban and economic geographical thought and practice and the inter-relationships. It explores the geography of cities and urban settlements and their constitution by environmental, economic, social and political processes through time and space, and in turn the influence of urban forms on these processes. Particular attention is paid to planetary urbanisation, urban planning, systems of collective consumption, housing and the welfare state, service and retail economy, neoliberal globalisation, post-industrial urbanism, power, austerity and contestation. It is a relatively intensive module with a range of teaching experiences. Formats include whole-group lectures, tutorials, seminars and independent learning time


- To introduce students to key human geography concepts, approaches, knowledge and skills through focused study of urban and economic geography with particular references to cities
- To explore urban and economic geography through different learning activities and in different global contexts
- To develop key skills in reading, analysis, writing, presentation and critique of a range of academic material, individually and in groups
- To encourage students to develop as independent learners through structured activities

Learning outcomes
1. Contemporary debates about planetary urbanisation, changing cities, the urban economy and neoliberal urban globalisation;
2. the contested and diverse geographies of cities, urban settlements, and economic processes through time and space at different scales;
3. the value and distinctiveness of urban and economic geography perspectives upon political, social and economic issues and processes driving urban change;
4. foundational study skills including the ability to access, read and critically reflect upon a range of sometimes contrasting academic and non-academic sources; to interpret and synthesise different types of geographical data; to develop reasoned arguments; to communicate logically, clearly and concisely both orally and in writing.

Skills outcomes
The proposed module will be built around the learning and teaching of explicit core QAA geographical skills (listed above).

QAA subject-specific skills
- spatial awareness and observation
- abstraction and synthesis of information
- developing a reasoned argument
- assessing the merits of contrasting theories and explanations
- critically evaluating, interpreting and combining different types of geographical evidence (for example texts, imagery, archival data, maps, digitised and laboratory data)
- taking responsibility for learning and reflection upon that learning
- recognising the moral, ethical and safety issues involved in all aspects of geographical enquiry

QAA knowledge and understanding
- Understand the complex relationships between natural and human aspects of environments and landscapes.
- The concept of spatial variation
- An appreciation of temporal change
- A critical awareness of the significance of spatial and temporal scale
- Distinctiveness of place
- Able to use critically a systems framework to conceptualise patterns, processes, interactions and change in the physical world
- Knowledge of the main dimensions and scales of economic, social, political and environmental inequality and difference
- A critical understanding of the history of the subject
- Knowledge and critical understanding of the diverse manners of representation
- Geographical knowledge and understanding


The module syllabus will be drawn from the following indicative themes and topics:

- The global urban age and challenges
- Planetary urbanization - Theories of the urban
- Infrastructure and urban ecology
- Representations of the city
- Imagining the ideal city: place and people
- Sectors, settlements and systems
- Work and life in the industrial city
- Service provision and planning
- Public housing, planning and the welfare state
- Suburbia vs high density living
- What is a slum?
- Unsustainable urbanism
- Neoliberal globalisation and the post-industrial city
- Informal urbanism and the Global South
- The “creative class” and gentrification
- Urban economies and retail geography
- Alternative urban economies
- Divided cities
- Urban Social Movements- Right to the city

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours157.00
Total Contact hours43.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students will use their private study time to reinforce their own learning by devoting:
• c. 40 hours to additional reading to enhance their understanding of themes introduced in lectures;
• c. 30 hours to reading and other preparation for seminars;
• c. 20 hours to reading and other preparation for tutorials;
• c. 30 hours to bibliographical research, reading, critical reflection and writing linked to completion of assessed tutorial work;
• c. 40 hours to reading and research in preparation for the end-of-module assignment

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Tutorials will monitor students general progress and development of core skills and knowledge through the planned tutorial topics and assignments, as well as their personal welfare through Leeds for Life.
Seminars and associated formative tasks will monitor students, understanding of the core material introduced in lectures; these small- group sessions will also provide opportunities for students to ask questions and receive formative feedback in return.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayEssay 800 words25.00
Literature ReviewBook review 1000 words25.00
In-course AssessmentTake-home exam 1,200 words50.00
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: 29/04/2022 15:32:19


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