Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Geography


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Not available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham




  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To develop students’ understanding of the diverse geographical processes through which cities come to be politically governed
  • To promote an appreciation of how social, economic and political negotiation and struggle serve to shape the form and nature of life in contemporary cities
  • To demonstrate the value of theoretical perspectives in understanding the governance, production and life of cities
  • To undertake critical analysis through theoretical and empirical engagement of how urban geographies are produced and contested
  • To critically engage key conceptual, empirical and policy debates in seminar discussion


  • Remaking the Landscapes of Urban Governance
  • Re-conceptualizing Urban Governance and City Politics
  • Securing City Downtowns
  • Governing Post-Suburbia
  • Remaking Domiciliary Space
  • Regulating a Splintering Urban Landscape
  • Post-Democratic City
  • The City as Assemblage
  • Cities and Enclosure
  • Cyborg Urbanisation
  • Cities and Agency
  • Tactical Urbanism
  • Learning and Cities
  • Alternative Urbanisation

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On successful completion of the module students will be able to:
  • Identify some of the key theoretical and conceptual debates that are mobilized to interpret urban formation, governance and contestation in contemporary cities
  • Show appreciation of the significant substantive changes occurring in the ways in which cities in the world are orchestrated and politically governed
  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of the policy relevance of the changing nature of governance in cities
  • To critically understand the role of a range of actors in the material production and contestation of urban geographies
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On successful completion of the module students will be able to:
  • To locate subject-specific theoretical and substantive literature in library, electronic databases and other key sources
  • Read with critical insight a range of arguments about the governance of cities
  • To develop and execute a written piece of work that effectively engages with key conceptual and substantive themes in debates on cities
  • To critically assess the similarities, differences and connections of urban geographies in the global North and South
Key Skills:
  • On successful completion of the module students will be able to:
  • Communicate the results of reading and research on critical themes by means of written essays (one formative and one summative) and examination (summative assessment)
  • Demonstrate a capacity to evaluate and build on academic performance: through the formative and summative assessments; responding to feedback; managing time effectively; and synthesising knowledge and information from a range of sources encountered as part of the course

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures will impart part basic facts and information and will help students understand key theoretical approaches and get to grips with the recommended reading
  • Reading lists, handouts, and powerpoint lectures will be posted on duo to assist student learning
  • Concepts introduced in lectures will be explored in more depth in seminars. Seminars will be used to develop independent and group research design skills
  • Examination and coursework will test critical understanding of concepts and critical thinking

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 16 Approx. weekly 2 hours 32
Seminars 1 Term 2 2 hours 2
Fieldtrip (local) 1 Term 1 3 hours 3
Revision Class 1 Term 3 1 hour 1
Preparation and Reading 162
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Unseen examination 1.5 hours 100% None
Component: Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Coursework Essay (max 5 x sides A4). Students will be asked to write one answer from a choice of three questions, relating to key concepts explored in the course 100% None

Formative Assessment:

A written essay of four pages A4. Written feedback will be provided. In addition to this, for the majority of 2 hour lecture sessions, the second half will involve interactive discussion with students which will also provide formative feedback on substantive topics.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University