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Cities remain the dominant form of civilization in the 21st century, and they are locations where humanity’s struggle for survival takes place. With more than half of the world’s population now living in cities, they are the world’s engine of growth. As the economist Ed Glaeser puts it, “we are an urban species,” and there are no signs of any slowdown in the growth of cities. Global cities play an increasingly important role at the global and regional level: From Asia to Africa, from South and North America to Europe, large cities enjoy significant competitive advantages and serve as primary nodes in the globalized economic system. They interact with states and other international actors, pursue objectives that are often intertwined with global economic agendas, and are crucial to questions related to climate change, mobility and migration, technological innovation, economic development and infrastructure.
But what makes cities so incredibly important is not just population or economics stats. Cities are humanity’s most realistic hope for future democracy to thrive, from the grassroots to the global. Cities are places where people can see opportunities for a better and more prosperous life, but also dramatically display the challenges posed by social inequalities and exclusion.
This subject inquires: why do governments plan for cities and regions? What is the role of the private sector and civil society (individuals and community organizations) in planning? What kind of issues does planning respond to and what are the concepts, strategies, tools, and ethics involved in that planning response? Why do planning decisions make some people so angry? In short, why does planning matter in cities?
This subject moves from the local scale (neighbourhood planning issues) to the metropolitan (planning issues in my city-region) and international (planning issues in a global context) scales, in order to examine central issues and processes affecting planning systems worldwide, drawing on case studies from Australia, and countries in Asia and Africa. The subject is designed to provide an introductory understanding of key concepts and critical drivers of city development across scales and their relation to planning processes and outcomes.
Intended learning outcomes
You will be assessed on the following learning outcomes:
- Communicate their informed opinions on contemporary planning issues and principles in Australia and internationally, trends on these issues, and reasons for these trends;
- Evaluate and communicate indigenous and innovative approaches to city development;
- Assess and understand the drivers of city development, and hierarchical structure of city functionality;
- Analyze and contribute to current planning debates and related arguments on these issues and the reasons for trends and projections, and the various value positions;
- Develop and evaluate solutions to identified urban problems;
- Develop communication skills through independent research, essays, posters, and oral presentations.
- Critical thinking and analysis
- Use and citation of reference materials
- Written and verbal presentation of ideas
- Essay and report writing
- Application of generic theories to specific examples.
Last updated: 7 September 2023