GEOG 2135 - Urban Futures

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2015

More than half the world's population live in cities, making humanity a predominantly urban species. Drawing on Australian and international examples, this course explores the processes, potentialities and problems of urbanisation. It introduces students to different ways of explaining growth and change within cities; the diversity which exists across cities; and how urban inequalities - such as in housing - are exacerbated and addressed. Students will examine the environmental consequences of urbanisation, prospects for creating sustainable cities and the role of urban governance in securing social and environmental justice.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code GEOG 2135
    Course Urban Futures
    Coordinating Unit Geography, Environment and Population
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites At least 12 units of level 1 undergraduate study
    Incompatible GEST 2035, GEST 2020 or GEST 3020
    Course Description More than half the world's population live in cities, making humanity a predominantly urban species. Drawing on Australian and international examples, this course explores the processes, potentialities and problems of urbanisation. It introduces students to different ways of explaining growth and change within cities; the diversity which exists across cities; and how urban inequalities - such as in housing - are exacerbated and addressed. Students will examine the environmental consequences of urbanisation, prospects for creating sustainable cities and the role of urban governance in securing social and environmental justice.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Jennifer Bonham

    Dr Jennifer Bonham
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Please check Course Planner for any changes in tutorials, lecture/tutorial class sizes and availability of places in each class

    Enrolment Class: Lecture

    Class Nbr    Section     Size     Available        Dates                Days            Time              Location
    13368           LE01        90                         2 Mar - 6 Apr     Monday         2pm - 3pm     Barr Smith South, 534, Forum
                                                                    3 Mar - 7 Apr     Tuesday        4pm - 5pm     Napier, G03, Lecture Theatre
                                                                    27 Apr - 8 Jun     Monday        2pm - 3pm      Barr Smith South, 534, Forum
                                                                    28 Apr - 9 Jun     Tuesday       4pm - 5pm      Napier, G03, Lecture Theatre

    Related Class: Tutorial

    Class Nbr   Section       Size    Available        Dates                 Days             Time                Location
    13370         TU02         18                           2 Mar - 6 Apr      Monday         3pm - 4pm       Hughes, 111b, Tutorial Room
                                                                     27 Apr - 8 Jun     Monday         3pm - 4pm       Hughes, 111b, Tutorial Room
    13371         TU03         18                           4 Mar - 8 Apr      Wednesday   1pm - 2pm       Nexus10, UB36, Seminar Rm 1R
                                                                     29 Apr - 10 Jun   Wednesday   1pm - 2pm       Nexus10, UB36, Seminar Rm 1R
    13372         TU04         18                           2 Mar - 6 Apr       Monday        4pm - 5pm       Ingkarni Wardli, B17, Teaching Suite
                                                                     27 Apr - 8 Jun      Monday        4pm - 5pm       Ingkarni Wardli, B17, Teaching Suite

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes


    1. Critical understanding of the key approaches (theoretical frameworks) used in the study of urbanisation and urban change.

    2. Concepts and debates in urban studies.

    3. Key issues facing Australian and selected overseas cities.

    4. Critical understanding of current urban policies and programs.


    5. Locate, synthesise and critically engage with urban research.

    6. Ability to identify, locate and analyse primary data sources.

    7. High level written and verbal communication skills.

    8. Team work.

    9. Construct and communicate logical and appropriately supported arguments.

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1,2,3,4
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 3,4,5,6
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 5,6,7,8,9
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 5
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 8,9
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 2,3,8
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    There are no required text books for this course. All required reading will be uploaded or linked into MyUni.
    Recommended Resources

    Gregory D (2009) Dictionary of Human Geography Malden, US: Blackwell
    Pacione M (2009) Urban Geography: A Global Perspective (3rd edition) Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
    Online Learning
    MyUni is a key resource in this course.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    Primary modes of learning in this course will be interactive face-to-face and on-line lectures, case-study reading (tutorials), facilitated tutorial discussion, assignment preparation, peer engagement. Students will be allocated one article/book chapter each week and will be required to read and report back to the class on their article/chapter.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    While the relative proportion of contact and non-contact time may vary from course to course, a full-time student should expect to spend, on average, about 40 hours per week on her/his studies during teaching periods. This course, being a 3-unit course, will require 10 hours of work per week including class-time. Assignments and readings have been calculated on this basis.
    Learning Activities Summary
    This information is a guide only and will be subject to change. Lectures which fall on public holidays will be replaced with online interactive materials.  

    Week                                Lecture Topic                                                                 Tutorial Topic 
    Wk1: 2/3March                  Introduction and overview of urban studies:                      No tutorial
                                            Issues, approaches, questions, and explanations 
    Wk2: 9/10 March               Theorising urbanisation and urban change I                       Public holiday, online lectures and online tutorial 

    Wk3: 16/17 March             Cities: economic growth centres                                        Urbanized
    Wk4: 23/24 March             National urban systems and global urban networks             Global urban events and their aftermath

    Wk5: 30/31 March             Housing policies and issues                                               Home ownership: whose dream?     

    Wk6: 2/7 April                   Housing diversity                                                             Gated communities

                                             Mid-semester break

    Wk7: 27/28 April                Urban governance                                                           Debate: engaging communities 

    Wk8: 4/5 May                    Urban policy and contemporary planning                            Field Trip

    Wk9: 11/12 May                 Mobility, access and transport                                           Active travel and urban form

    Wk10: 18/19 May               Environmental consequences of urban life                           Forming environmental subjects 

    Wk11: 25/26 May               Pathways to sustainability: Urban agriculture                       Sociality or food security

    Wk12: 1/2 June                  The future of our cities/course summary                              No tutorial

    Wk6: 9/12 April

    Urban governance: policy and planning

    Debate: Participatory planning

    Mid-semester break 15-26 April

    Wk7: 30 April/
    3 May

    Ordering urban environments and managing ‘problem’ populations

    The politics of micro-spaces

    Wk8: 7/10 May

    Mobility, access and transport I: Infrastructure and social relations of mobility

    Field Trip: Changing Adelaide - Equity, Diversity, Sustainability

    Wk9: 14/17 May

    Mobility, access and transport II: Social and environmental issues

    Urban form, access and sustainability

    Wk10: 21/24 May

    Environmental consequences of urban life: Measuring and monitoring sustainability

    Forming carbon subjects

    Wk11: 28/31 May

    Pathways to sustainability: Urban agriculture and housing

    Normalising sustainable urbanism

    Wk12: 4/7 June

    The future of our cities
    Course Summary

    Small Group Discovery Experience
    The Debate and the Field Trip are key Small Group Discovery Experiences as students will work in small teams to conduct research for a either a debate or a field trip.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary

    No information currently available.

    Assessment Related Requirements

    Students must complete and submit all components of assessment. Students who do not submit and complete all components of assessment will be given a fail grade for the course.


    Students must attend all tutorials and the field trip. Students will only be excused from attending one tutorial on medical or compassionate grounds (the latter does not include work commitments). Students unable to attend a tutorial must notify the tutor by email prior to the session and provide a medical certificate/statement for compassionate grounds when they return to class. Students who do not attend all tutorials and do not provide reasonable grounds (medical/ compassionate) for non attendance will automatically fail the participation component of the course.
    Assessment Detail

    Task sheets and marking criteria will be made available on MyUni.
    Submission details will be outlined in the assignment tasks sheets and these task sheets will be made available on MyUni at the beginning of Semester 1.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    This course was previously run in 2013 and students enjoyed the range of topics covered, the lively tutorial discussions and the variety and nature of assessment.  

    Students raised issues about the level of feedback on assignments and the amount of material covered in a short amount of time. 
    To address these issues the following changes have been made:
    - the course now includes a quiz in week 6 so students can judge whether they have grasped key concepts
    - assessment has been more evenly spaced across the semester so that students can receive timely feedback
    - lecture material will be slightly reduced and interactive (Articulate story line) power points will be uploaded after lectures so that students can engage with lecture material to reinforce their learning
  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.