Urban Economy SPS3004

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 3 (SCQF level 9)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The course is in three parts: firstly, it presents and then critiques the standard urban economics approach, focused around the key questions - of why do cities rise, grow and decline? Secondly, the course thematically asks how this body of work and indeed others can help us understand contemporary economic problems in our modern cities. Finally, the course applies these ideas and concepts to a key controversy: the economic analysis of town planning.


Ten two-hour sessions to be delivered weekly

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory: IELTS level 6.5 with no sub-unit below 6


Completion of Years one and two of the Nankai University programme having achieved a Grade Point Average of at least 75% (or equivalent)

Excluded Courses




PUBPOL2010: PP2A: Perspectives on Public Policy

PUBPOL2011: PP2B: Policy, Politics and Power

PUBPOL4034: Remaking Cities

No code assigned yet: Remaking Cities

No code assigned yet: Urban Economy


One of the below options:


PUBPOL4033: Service in the Community

PUBPOL4041: Housing: Policy, Welfare and Markets


One 1500 word essay and one two-hour unseen exam

Main Assessment In: December

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

■ Construct and appreciate the monocentric model of residential and other land uses

■ Critique the monocentric model and extend its applications to polycentric and wider metropolitan contexts

■ 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 and spatial mismatch

- urban transport

- land use planning

- 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.