GY459      Half Unit
Urban Theory and Policy in the Global South

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Professor Gareth A Jones, Dr Deen Sharp, Dr Alexandra Abello Colak


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Urban Policy (LSE and Sciences Po) and MSc in Urbanisation and Development. This course is available on the MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Environment and Development, MSc in Environmental Policy, Technology and Health (Environment and Development) (LSE and Peking University), MSc in Human Geography and Urban Studies (Research) and MSc in Inequalities and Social Science. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

The number of students that can be accommodated is limited. If the course is over-subscribed, places will be allocated at the Department’s discretion and a waiting list may be created. For further details, please contact your relevant Programme Coordinator.

Course content

This course aims to provide a grounding in key debates in urban studies and policy with reference to the Global South. It highlights the interconnections between evolving urban ideas and research and policy. Anticipated topics include The City and Comparative Urbanism; Critical Urban Theory, Covid-19 and Urbanism; Urban Political Economy, Social Life of Cities; Infrastructures and Environment; Elites and Inequalities; Global Protest; Violence, Conflict and Security. Lectures will draw from staff research, with particular emphasis on Brazil, Colombia, India, Lebanon, Mexico, and South Africa.


In the Department of Geography and Environment, teaching will be delivered through a combination of classes/seminars, pre-recorded lectures, live online lectures and other supplementary interactive live activities.


This course is delivered through a combination of seminars and lectures across Michaelmas Term.


This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Michaelmas Term.

Formative coursework

One essay of 1,500 words (formative).

Indicative reading

A comprehensive reading list mostly focussing on articles will be provided. Useful books include:

  • A. Amin & N. Thrift Seeing like a City (2016);
  • S. Chant & C. McIlwaine, Cities, Slums and Gender in the Global South (2016);
  • M. Dikec, Urban Rage: the revolt of the excluded (2017);
  • R. de Satge & V. Watson, Urban Planning in the Global South: conflicting rationalities in contested space (2019);
  • S. Fox & T. Goodfellow, Cities and Development (2016);
  • E. Glaeser, Triumph of the City (2012);
  • S. Graham, Cities under Siege: the new military urbanism (2010);
  • C. Lemanski & C. Marx (eds) The City and Urban Poverty, (2015);
  • F. Miraftab & N. Kudva (eds.) Cities of the Global South Reader, (2015);
  • M. Murray, The Urbanism of Exception: the dynamics of global-city building in the twenty-first century (2017);
  • S. Parnell & E. Pieterse, Africa's Urban Revolution, (2014);
  • R. Rolnik, Urban Warfare: Housing under the Empire of Finance (2019);
  • A. Roy & A. Ong (eds.) Worlding Cities: Asian experiments and the art of being global (2011);
  • P. Sendra & R. Sennett, Designing Disorder: experiments and disruptions in the city (2020);
  • A. Simone, City Life from Jakarta to Dakar, (2010);.


Essay (50%, 2500 words) in the LT.
Essay (50%, 2500 words) in the ST.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Student performance results

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 24.4
Merit 48.8
Pass 25.6
Fail 1.2

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2020/21: 39

Average class size 2020/21: 19

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills