PP4A4E      Half Unit
Cities and the Economy: Urban Economic Development and Finance

This information is for the 2021/22 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.

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.


The course will be taught via a combination of asynchronous sessions and live sessions, the latter of which can be attended in-person or remotely. A minimum of 10 hours of asynchronous learning materials sessions will be provided ahead of live teaching, which will consist of videos, readings and interactive activities. Approximately 10 hours of live teaching will be provided, consisting of lecture-based discussions, seminars and workshops. These live sessions will build upon the outcomes of the asynchronous sessions. Live teaching will take place over three one-week periods (Modules 2, 3 & 4).

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.


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

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%).

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.

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: School of Public Policy

Total students 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Controlled access 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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