Global Cities (Nankai) URBAN5104

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

More than half of the world's population now live in urban areas and the trend of fast urbanisation will continue for the foreseeable future. Global Cities approaches cities as dynamic spaces embedded in a range of economic, political and social processes and provides students with a broad knowledge of the concepts and theories relevant to understanding cities in the global context and the patterns of urban development and transition in different regions in the world.


6 x 3 hour sessions

Requirements of Entry

Open to students of Glasgow-Nankai Joint Graduate School

Excluded Courses





This course will be formally assessed by means of course work in the form of an essay 4,000 words in length (Maximum excluding list of references).

Course Aims

The course aims to examine the world trend of urbanisation, both in history and in the age of globalisation. It proceeds from the theoretical to the more practical, using examples from a range of social, cultural, economic, political and environmental perspectives. The course encompasses both understanding what is distinctive about cities as well as the "problems" that are characteristic of many cities, both past and present. Key questions include: What is different about cities? Do they offer unique possibilities for social or cultural development, economic growth or environmental sustainability? Are they locations for particular types of problem? What would a socially just, economically competitive or environmentally sustainable city look like? And what are the barriers to achieving this?

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

1. Understand and examine cities as dynamic spaces

2. Critically assess the main theories put forward about the uniqueness of cities, their development in time and space, and their particular assets from a social, economic, cultural and environmental perspective;

3. Critically assess the implications of these arguments for urban policy, spatial planning and urban management;

4. Demonstrate an understanding of urban trends in different regions of the world, together with an awareness of the drivers of these changes;

5. Critically evaluate environmental sustainability as a concept, with particular relevance to the demands and pressures cities place on the natural environment in different regions;

6. Demonstrate a critical appreciation of the relationships between social, economic and environmental dimensions of spatial planning, property development and urban policy;

7. Assess the underpinnings of urban policy statements, in terms of their understanding of the roles and functions of urban areas;

8. Analyse and synthesise information from a range of secondary sources, including academic and policy literature; and write a well-presented assignment.

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.