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IR203: An Urbanising World: The Future of Global Cities


Course Content

Urbanisation is one of the most crucial processes of change in the world today. It is also one of the most hotly debated topics across the social sciences.

The course begins with exploring the concept of the ‘urban’ in urban studies literature by examining what urbanisation means to the governments, businesses and people whose lives are affected by changes to the built environment of cities and to the ecosystems that support them. It moves on to consider urban contestations over policy, planning and development among a wide range of stakeholders, from real estate developers to social movements to international NGOs.

This interactive  course will draw on examples of urban policy and planning practices from both the global North and the South, with emphasis on Asia, Latin America and the North Atlantic. It will also include a field visit to central London.

Indicative themes include:

    • An Urbanising World and Comparative Perspectives;
    • The Political Economy of Urbanisation;
    • The Land Question;
    • Financial Capitalism and Urban Crises;
    • Planetary Gentrification;
    • Politics of Displacement;
    • Cities of Spectacle: Mega-Projects and Mega-Events;
    • Urban Contestations and Struggles for Progressive Cities;
    • Urban Infrastructure;
    • Urban Ecologies and Climate Change;
    • Security, Threat, and the City;
    • Cities and Citizenship.

Course outcomes

At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Critically understand key contemporary debates on urbanisation and urban development;
  • Display comparative knowledge of urban transformations in different parts of the world;
  • Evaluate the social implications of urbanisation processes;
  • Respond to the future challenges of an urbanising world.

World-class LSE teaching

LSE Geography and Environment excels in the UK's nationwide assessment of research quality, impact and environment and in subject-based worldwide university ranking systems. The Research Excellence Framework results published in December 2014 show that LSE Geography and Environment ranked first overall in the UK for quality of published research output. 

The 2015 QS World University faculty rankings for Geography and Area Studies ranked the department No.2 in the world on the overall score, and No.1 for academic reputation. The Guardian’s university league tables 2016 also ranked the LSE No.1 for Geography and Environmental Studies.

On this three week intensive programme, you will engage with and learn from full-time lecturers from the LSE’s Geography and Environment faculty. IR203 course lecturers Dr Hyun Bang Shin and Dr Austin Zeiderman teach on a number of our undergraduate and graduate modules, including Urban Development, Cities and Social Change in East Asia, Remaking China, Urban Futures, Geographies of Race, and Urban Research Methods.



Lees, L., Shin, H.B. and López-Morales, E. (2016) Planetary Gentrification. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Park, B-G. et al. (eds.) (2012) Locating Neoliberalism in East Asia: Neoliberalizing Spaces in Developmental States. Wiley-Blackwell

Robinson, J. (2006) Ordinary Cities: Between Modernity and Development. Abingdon: Routledge

Roy, A. and Ong, A. (eds.) (2011) Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments and the Art of Being Global. Wiley-Blackwell

Zeiderman, A. (2016) Endangered City: The Politics of Security and Risk in Bogotá. Duke University Press.

*A more detailed reading list will be supplied prior to the start of the programme

**Course content, faculty and dates may be subject to change without prior notice



Session: One

Dates: 19 June - 7 July 2017

Dr Hyun Bang Shin
Dr Austin Zeiderman

Level: 200 level

Fees: Click here for information

Prerequisites: At least one introductory course in the social sciences (politics, sociology, economics, geography, anthropology, history).

Lectures: 36 hours 

Classes: 18 hours

Assessment*: One essay and one written examination

Typical credit**: 3-4 credits (US)
7.5 ECTS points (EU)

How to apply?

Join our mailing list and access detailed course outline 

*assessment is optional – see FAQs

**You will need to check with your home institution. Read more about credit transfer here.