Urban Development: Politics, Policy and Planning

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Hyun Shin STC. S601f and Dr Murray Low STC. S512


This course is available on the BA in Geography, BSc in Environment and Development, BSc in Environmental Policy with Economics and BSc in Geography with Economics. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

This course covers theories and processes of urban politics and governance; urban problems and policy responses in developed and developing countries, within an institutional and political framework: Areas of study include: 

1. Urban government in the UK and USA. Theories of urban politics. Politics of urban fiscal problems and local economic development policy. Management of urban social issues. 

2. Urban policy and practice, e.g. speculative urbanisation, urban redevelopment, mega-event politics, gentrification, the right to the city. Case studies largely drawn from cities in mainland China and newly industrialised economies in East Asia


10 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures, 10 hours of classes and 2 hours of workshops in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students should produce two essays during the year.

Indicative reading

D Judge et al, Theories of Urban Politics, 1995; J S Davies and D L Imbroscio, Theories of Urban Politics (second edition), 2009; S Fainstein, The City Builders, 2001; S Body-Gendrot, The Social Control of Cities?, 1999; N Devas & C Rakodi (Eds), Managing Fast Growing Cities, 1993; R P Appelbaum and J W Henderson, States and development in the Asia Pacific rim, 1992; F Wu, Planning for Growth: Urban and Regional Planning in China, 2015; Park et al, Locating neoliberalism in East Asia, 2012; L Lees, HB Shin & E López-Morales (Eds), Global gentrifications: Uneven development and displacement, 2015; L Lees, HB Shin & E Lopez-Morales, Planetary Gentrification, 2016;


Exam (75%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (25%, 2500 words) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

Classification % of students
First 32.7
2:1 57.7
2:2 7.7
Third 0
Fail 1.9

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2015/16: 28

Average class size 2015/16: 14

Capped 2015/16: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 68%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)