Not available in 2022/23
SP437      Half Unit
International Housing and Human Settlements; Conflicts and Communities

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Anne Power OLD.2.57


This course is available on the MSc in City Design and Social Science and MSc in Regional And Urban Planning Studies. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This is a capped course.  If it is oversubscribed places will be allocated by random ballot, first amongst Social Policy students then amongst other students for any remaining places.  The first ballot will be held on Tuesday of MT week 1.

Course content

The course is an introduction to the global housing challenges of a fast urbanising world in the context of rapidly growing cities worldwide. There are 5 key themes: the push and pull factors in urban growth; the key actors in housing provision; slums and self-help; the environmental impact of low income settlements; the problems of poverty and exclusion in low income and informal settlements. The course includes 10 lectures in LT and one in ST. The main topics of the lectures are: housing needs and demand; contrasting patterns of housing development; owner occupation, renting and self-help; government intervention and finance; planning and renewal; international agencies, aid and NGOs; bottom-up shelter models and community-led initiatives; social exclusion and urban pressures; basic services and public infrastructure; participation and women's roles in low income settlements; environment of cities; urban and housing design; theories and practice in upgrading urban settlements. Case studies are used to illustrate arguments, policies and practical responses.


15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour and 30 minutes of lectures and 3 hours of seminars in the ST.


Additional activity: occasional informal discussion sessions are organised at students' request.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to participate actively in seminars and to complete one formative essay using case studies to illustrate their arguments. Students are also expected to prepare case studies for the seminar.


Indicative reading

UN (1996), An Urbanising World; A Power (1999), Estates on the Edge; Badshah (2006), Our Urban Future; D Satterthwaite (1999), Sustainable Cities; UNCHS 2001-2014, The State of the World's Cities;. Doug Saunders, Arrival City (2010) Ed Glaeser, Triumph of the City (2012) D Satterthwaite and D Mitlin (2013) Reducing Urban Poverty in the Global South, D Satterthwaite and D Mitlin (2013) Urban Poverty in the Global South.

Environment and Urbanism Journal, 1997-2017


Exam (75%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
Essay (25%, 2000 words) in the ST.

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2021/22: Unavailable

Average class size 2021/22: Unavailable

Controlled access 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
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills