Governance and Markets URBAN5085

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

Governance and Markets examines concepts, debates and issues in contemporary government and governance including the theories of governance, democracy and accountability. It critically assesses the relationship between government agencies and the market, the institutional frameworks of urban development and the decision making process. It considers these issues at local, national and international levels. Classes involve a range of lectures, discussion and workshops.


The course will be delivered in 3 hourly blocks, once per week, over 6 consecutive weeks.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements:


Excluded Courses






This course will be formally assessed by means of course work in the form of an essay of maximum 2,500 words in length.  

Course Aims

This course aims to provide a wide-ranging introduction to issues in contemporary governance. It firstly explores how the concept of government has evolved into one of governance and considers the implications of this to urban development and city building. It then examines the structure, institutional frameworks for contemporary urban governance, and land and property development market mechanisms. The course also provides an introduction to the concepts of democracy and accountability and their salience in contemporary systems of government and governance, using the UK and other countries as examples.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course and having undertaken the relevant reading and assignments, students should be able to:

■ outline, discuss and critique the principal theories of the state and of governance, including identifying, explaining and evaluating critically the continuities and shifts in the concerns and administrative methods of western governance;

■ recognise the political nature of decision-making in planning and urban policy;

■ identify and describe key criteria for evaluating structures and processes of 'good' governance including being responsive; democratic; accountable; efficient and effective;

■ conceptualise the changing nature of the State in terms of the notion of the differentiated polity, and describe different models of the state;

■ explain the principles of democracy and accountability, of democratic processes and the concept of responsible government;

■ differentiate trends in public attitudes to politics, including considering how Government can 'reconnect' citizens with central and local politics and evaluating various methods of doing so;

■ recall and assess the structure and processes of contemporary urban governance with respect to land use, real estate development and economic development;

■ evaluate the concepts of state failure and market failure in relation to urban development; and

■ recognise how the significance of strategies, urban development plans or programmes needs to be balanced with other relevant factors in reaching decisions.

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.


Minimum requirement for award of credit for students on MSc City Planning and MSc City Planning & Real Estate Development is D3 or above.


University standard regulations apply to students on other qualifications.