GY310      Half Unit
Urban Politics

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Murray Low STC. S512


This course is available on the BA in Geography, BSc in Economic History and 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 contemporary urban development from a variety of perspectives – it aims to introduce students to key concepts in, and approaches to, politics in cities, as these have emerged and developed over time. Themes include, but are not limited to, political and economic power in cites, the role of ‘elites’, urban government finance, the politics of local economic development policy, the multidimensional role of culture in urban change, and the emergence of forms of urban governance. Case studies are largely drawn from cities in the United States and the United Kingdom, reflecting the development of core ideas in mainstream urban politics largely in these contexts.


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


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


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

Formative coursework

One essay plan due in the MT.

Indicative reading

  • David Harvey (2005) A Brief History of Neoliberalism.
  • Robert Dahl (1961) Who Governs?
  • Clarence Stone (1988) Regime Politics.
  • Sharon Zukin (1995) The Cultures of Cities.


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
First 23.2
2:1 63.8
2:2 13
Third 0
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Geography and Environment

Total students 2021/22: 16

Average class size 2021/22: 18

Capped 2021/22: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication