MSc Environmental Impact Assessment & Management / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Future Cities

Unit code PLAN62011
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Planning and Environmental Management
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

Each and every day there are an estimated 193,107 new urban dwellers (UN-Habitat 2009). This is equivalent to a city larger than the size of Dallas every week, the population of Rio de Janeiro just over every month or a new Russia every two years. Across the globe, the city has been overwhelmingly selected as the habitat of choice for humanity and has consequently become the nexus for an array of physical, economic, social, political and cultural capital.  So, by the middle of the twenty first century three in four of us will live in cities.  We are living in the urban age, but this is actually more than just about cities, it is about how a mode of organizing space and society is shaping the world in which almost all of us live.  Those great cities of the twentieth century – Paris, London and others – continue to grow in size, slowly but surely.  However, some of the most important changes are happening elsewhere in the world-Delhi, Karachi, Mumbai, Shanghai, São Paulo; these cities are where the action is, where population growth rates are the highest, and where the issues of producing and managing ecological, economically, and socially sustainable cities are at the most pressing.

One drawback of this concentration of people and resources has been that threats to urban citizens are amplified, and whilst cities are commonly seen as places of safety, incongruously they are also the hub of modern risks. Of course, cities are not just problems that need solutions.  Cities have always been sources of cultural creativity, conviviality, diversity, and transnational inter-connections.  And so they continue to be sources of inspiration as well as perspiration.

In this light, the course will introduce students to the challenges currently facing cities and to some of the ways academics have sought to make sense of them and policy-makers have sort to overcome them.

Aims

This module aims to:

  • Explore the principles, nature and practice of planning systems and processes around the world
  • Critically evaluate different approaches to planning and development
  • Demonstrate an appreciation of such approaches
  • Understand emerging future trends in urban development in global cities
  • Examine the notion of the future ‘smart’ city in a global context

The module will examine how cities are developing around the world in what we call the ‘urban age’. Each day there are an estimated 193,107 new urban dwellers (UN-Habitat 2009). This is equivalent to a city larger than the size of Dallas every week, the population of Rio de Janeiro just over every month or a new Russia every two years. Across the globe, the city has been overwhelmingly selected as the habitat of choice for humanity and has consequently become the nexus for an array of physical, economic, social, political and cultural capital.  So, by the middle of the twenty first century three in four of us will live in cities.

We are living in the urban age, which is more than just about cities, but is about how a mode of organizing space and society is shaping the world in which almost all of us live.  Those great cities of the twentieth century – Paris, London and others – continue to grow in size, slowly but surely.  However, some of the most important changes are happening elsewhere in the world-Delhi, Karachi, Mumbai, Shanghai, São Paulo; these cities are where the action is, where population growth rates are the highest, and where the issues of producing and managing ecological, economically, and socially sustainable cities are at the most pressing.

In this light, the course will introduce students to the challenges currently facing cities and to some of the ways academics have sought to make sense of them and policy-makers have sort to overcome them. Using case studies and discussions, the students will be equipped with knowledge to understand how cities of the future might develop, with a particular focus on the notion of the ‘smart’ city.

Through exercises the students will develop competence in the understanding of city analytics – how do we measure what is happening in cities?  Through the assessment process students will be able to undertake an evaluation of a chosen city and assess how that city and its future development is affected by changing socio-economic and environmental dynamics.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course unit, you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of different types of planning system across the globe.
  2. Have an overview of the current issues facing cities in relation to their future development.
  3. Recognise the challenges of what is commonly referred to as the ‘urban age’.
  4. Have an appreciation of the notion of the ‘smart’ city.
  5. Demonstrate a critical understanding of how cities are coping with competing social, economic and environmental demands.
  6. Display an understanding of the global spatial disparities between cities.
  7. Demonstrate an understanding of the different theoretical perspectives for understanding what is commonly referred to as the ‘urban age’.
  8. Illustrate your arguments with examples and case studies drawn from cities around the world.
  9. Demonstrate an appreciation of the various methods that have been used to study the current and future challenges facing cities around the world.
  10. Illustrate your arguments with examples and case studies drawn from cities around the world.
  11. Critical writing and analysis.
  12. Effectively communicate ideas and concepts orally and in writing.

Teaching and learning methods

This is a self-directed online module with three face to face online workshops in weeks 4, 10 and 11. Part I will be released on Blackboard in one tranche and part two will be released after the workshop on the 17th November.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 60%
Oral assessment/presentation 40%

A Future City Profile Presentation (40%)

Essay and critical reflection (60%)

Recommended reading

Batty, M. (2018) Inventing Future Cities. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Burdett R (2010) Endless City. Phaidon Press, London.

Gleeson B (2013) The Urban Condition. Routledge: London.

Hall, P. and Tewdwr-Jones, M. (2019) Urban and Regional Planning, London: Routledge, 6th edition.

LeGates, R. T. and Stout, F. (2011) The City Reader. Taylor and Francis, Hoboken. 5th edition.

Monk, S., Whitehead, C., Burgess, G. and Tang, C. (2013) International review of land supply and planning systems, JRF, York.

Soja, E. (2010) Seeking spatial justice. University of Minnesota Press, Bristol.

Townsend, A. (2013). Smart cities¿: big data, civic hackers, and the quest for a new utopia. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Current reading list: https://manchester.alma.exlibrisgroup.com/leganto/public/44MAN_INST/lists/319969276250001631?auth=CAS

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 0

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
David Carter Unit coordinator

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