Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Geography


Type Open Level 3 Credits 10 Availability Not available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Any Level 2 Geography module


  • 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


  • Interpreting the Landscapes of Urban Governance
  • Conceptualizing Urban Governance and City Politics
  • Governing Urban Downtowns
  • Governing Suburbia
  • Governing Urban Crises
  • Post-Democratic Cities
  • Cities of Dissent and Insurgence

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 city governance
Key Skills:
  • On successful completion of the module students will be able to:
  • Communicate the results of reading and research on selected themes by means of written examination
  • 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

  • Online lectures (pre-recorded and asynchronous) will provide detailed discussion of the key content, ideas, and concepts to be covered in the module, supplemented by case studies and additional material.
  • Readings will be provided for each topic. Active reading and note-taking will constitute a key mode of learning and will enhance knowledge and understanding of the themes of the module and encourage students to synthesize information from different sources.
  • Each weekly topic will include an asynchronous online study package: this will comprise guided learning activities to help students engage actively with the lectures and readings.
  • Fortnightly synchronous webinars or seminars will enable students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the topics through in-person discussion with the instructor.
  • Students will also use on-line discussion forums to pose questions and engage in discussion in response to the study packages.
  • Assessment will examine critical understanding of concepts and critical thinking

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures (A) (via video) 9 weekly 2 x 30 minutes 9
Study packages (A) 4 Fortnightly 1 hour 4
Seminars (S) 5 Fortnightly 1 hour 5
Preparation and Reading 82
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 5 x A4 pages 100%

Formative Assessment:

Written feedback on an annotated plan of the coursework essay.

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