Urban Economy PUBPOL4043

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The course is structured in two sections. The first looks at urban economic models of cities to enable students to understand why they grow and decline. The second introduces students to main economic theories and the planning policy responses in the last 40 years that have attempted to manage and shape urban economic development.


One hour weekly lecture

Requirements of Entry

Entry to Honours Social & Public Policy normally requires a grade point average of 12 (grade C3) over Social & Public Policy 2A and 2B (formerly Public Policy 2A and 2B) as a first attempt.

Excluded Courses





One 120-minute exam, weighted at 60%.

An essay of 2,500 words, weighted at 40%.

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

To introduce students to an economic analysis of cities and to explore contemporary global urban problems and themes through the economics lens.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


Understand and apply the key concepts of urbanization, agglomeration and other core urban economics principles associated with the growth and decline of cities and systems of cities.

Understand key dimensions of and relationships within urban growth systems.

Audit the principal economic challenges and problems facing contemporary cities.

Debate specific economic dimensions, policy considerations and international variation in urban themes such as housing, labour markets, spatial planning and policies for urban economic growth.

Assess the capacity of urban economics to contribute to wider urban debates about sustainability and social justice.

Appreciate the contribution of alternative and heterodox economic approaches to the urban economy.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.