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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

GEOG5401M Analysing Cities

15 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Jiaqi Ge

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications


Module replaces


This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module will provide training and a foundation in understanding and analysing cities from a complex system perspective using an interdisciplinary approach. Through a series of lectures and interactive seminars, students will gain a deep understanding of cities as a complex system that consists of multiple co-existing and interacting sub-systems. The course will provide an overview of the different methods and approaches available in different disciplines to analyse cities. Students will be able to integrate and apply interdisciplinary knowledge and methods to generate novel solutions to specific city-related issues, and develop skills in critical thinking and creative problem solving. Through in-depth discussions in the seminars, they will learn to communicate complex ideas and concepts and to make consistent argument based on scientific evidence. Finally, through team-based presentations and projects, students will develop skills in team-work and leadership.


The module will outline the spatial (e.g. flows, spaces) and social (e.g. economics, migration, activity) processes that contribute to cities. It will describe how cities can be viewed as a ‘complex’ system, how interactions are central to the generation of urban systems, and understood through both disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches. It will consider how we plan, organise, and evaluate cities, and address future challenges.

Learning outcomes
1. Understand the nature of cities as a dynamic, complex and adaptive system, consisting of many interacting sub-systems within a city

2. Understand the different perspectives and methods that have been used to analyse cities in different domains and disciplines, and to obtain an overview of the methods and tools available to study and analyse cities

3. Apply and integrate the interdisciplinary knowledge and analytical tools to develop novel solutions to city-related issues

4. Develop critical thinking on the social and environmental issues arising from the development of cities

5. Engage in in-depth discussions on various topics on cities, and to carry out individual and team-based creative problem-solving of specific city-related issues

6. Develop skills in the writing, presentation and communication of complex concepts and consistent arguments based on scientific evidence

7. Develop team-work and leadership skills


1. City as a complex system
2. Urban growth, shrinkage and gentrification (housing)
3. Urban economics
4. Segregation and inequality in cities
5. City and crime
6. Transport, Mobility and flows
7. Housing supply and market
8. Health and wellbeing of urban living
9. Technology and future (smart) cities
10. Planning in a complex urban system

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours125.00
Total Contact hours25.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Students will be provided with background reading and contextual materials prior to each lecture and seminars. Students will be divided into groups to work on a different topic and present their research to the fellow students in the seminar. Students will discuss the reading materials in seminars with the supervision of the lecturer. This will ensure they arrive at that practical sessions fully briefed and prepared to begin their collaborative group work.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Formative feedback will be provided in each seminar in response to student presentations and particularly for their contribution to the group discussion, in which they will be encouraged to actively participate

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayShort essay on a topic of choice (1600 words)40.00
PresentationGroup presentations delivered on each topic (5 in total). 15 minute presentation and 5 minute Q&A. Before seminar starts at 9.30 everydau Tuesday (week 2-11).50.00
Group DiscussionParticipation in 20 minute seminar discussions ever Tuesday10.00
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: 13/03/2023


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