Introduction to Urban Studies

This course offers an introduction to urban studies. It enquires into the evolution of cities historically as well as contemporary processes of urbanisation. The course also introduces students to key explanatory frameworks for understanding the contemporary economic and social function of cities. The course can be taken as a gateway to the Urban Studies major or as an elective.

This course offers students and introduction to the key object of urban studies – cities – as well as the frameworks of analysis used in urban studies. The course will examine urbanisation processes in the past and in contemporary contexts: why do cities form?; what functions do they serve? How does this change from one time to another, from one context to another? What ways of life do they support? What are some of the key issues facing cities today and how can they be addressed? The course will draw on examples of city formation both past and present, as well as in developed and less-developed contexts.

Students taking this course will learn about:

  • why cities form and their functions;
  • the culture, thoughts, institutions, policies, and processes shaping urban areas;
  • differences between cities and urbanisation processes in developed and developing contexts;
  • the distinct understandings brought to urban studies by different disciplinary approaches.