SO4A3E      Half Unit
Cities and the Economy: Urban Economic Development and Finance

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Savvas Verdis FAW 8.01E


This course is compulsory on the Executive MSc in Cities. This course is not available as an outside option.

This course is only available to students registered in the Executive MSc in Cities.

Course content

Cities and the Economy forms part of the Executive MSc in Cities. This is an applied course looking at the role of city government and firms in driving inclusive local economic development. The course introduces traditional and more progressive ways to measure and analyse the city economy as well as policies and tools available to attract investment and finance as well as improve the distributional effects of economic growth.

From a global economic level, we will look at the forces shaping urban development and the capacity of national, regional and local policies to influence these drivers. From a more local economic level, we will look at the make-up and sectorial composition of a city economy; how we can measure the economic impact of policies and projects and finally how we can finance and fund complex infrastructure projects.

Topics include: inclusive growth; economic inequalities; measuring growth and competitiveness over time, comparative vs competitive advantage, key performance indicators of a city economy, the role of infrastructure and megaprojects in driving competitiveness, managing city budgets, financing your city, global city indexes, special economic zones and other incentives.


4 hours and 30 minutes of lectures, 3 hours of seminars and 1 hour and 30 minutes of workshops in the MT. 10 hours and 30 minutes of lectures, 6 hours of seminars and 3 hours of workshops in the LT.

The course will be taught over a period of three sessions.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the LT.

500 word submission describing the financing strategy of a project of your choice

Indicative reading

Lee, Neil, 2018 Inclusive Growth in Cities: A sympathetic critique, LSE III Working Papers

O'Sullivan, Arthur. 2012. Urban economics. New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Peterson, George E., and Patricia Clarke Annez. 2007. Financing cities fiscal responsibility and urban infrastructure in Brazil, China, India, Poland and South Africa.

Pike, A, Rodríguez-Pose, A & Tomaney, J. 2012. Local and Regional Development, Routledge.

Raworth, Kate. 2017 Doughnut Economics. 2018. Random House

World Bank, 2009. World Development Report. Reshaping Economic Geography, World Bank.

Additional readings:

Brookings Institute. 2010 Municipal Finance of Urban Infrastructure.

The Cities Alliance et al. 2007. Understanding Your Local Economy – A Resource Guide for Cities. The Cities Alliance.

UN-HABITAT 2009. Guide to Municipal Finance. UN-HABITAT.

Vliet W. v. 2002. Cities in a globalizing world: from engines of growth to agents of change. Environment and Urbanization.

Zhang L.-Y. 2013. City Development Strategies and the Transition Towards a Green Urban Economy. The Economy of Green Cities: A World Compendium on the Green Urban Economy. Springer.


Essay (70%, 2000 words) in the ST.
Presentation (30%) in the LT.

Pitch a financing strategy for a selected case study area to an expert panel (30%) and submission of a 2,000 word written report analysing the financing strategy of a project of your choice (70%).

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2018/19: Unavailable

Average class size 2018/19: Unavailable

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills