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16235 Urban Economics

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2018 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Design, Architecture and Building: School of the Built Environment
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:

Undergraduate

Result type: Grade and marks

Requisite(s): 16633 Microeconomics for Property

Description

This is a core subject that examines the economics of cities and regions. Through a series of lectures and debates, this subject helps students to understand and critically apply core concepts, theories, and tools to urban development processes and urban policy making within the built environment. While emphasising economic forces that shape the urban experience, it realises that the urban economy is part of the national and global world system and acknowledges the interconnections between urban, rural, and peri-urban spaces. The 'economic' in urban economics is understood as enmeshed in complex social and environmental experiences. Themes covered include agglomeration economies, the urban and spatial structure of economic development, and how economic surplus generated in the urbanisation process is distributed, urban sustainable development, and urban poverty.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject students will have achieved the following:

1. a good theoretical understanding of why cities develop, and of their internal structure, and how this affects particular property markets
2. apply key urban economics concepts such as rent gradient, economies of scale and scope, externalities, public goods and local public goods, and how these apply to cities and urban environments
3. Explain how various forces or external changes (such as immigration policy, globalisation, changes in oil prices, investment in transport systems etc) are likely to affect a city like Sydney in terms of property prices, spatial patterns of inequality etc
4. understand aspects of operations, delivery and economics of urban infrastructure, particularly transport
5. understand and apply the approaches used for economic evaluation and assessment of infrastructure programs
6. Understand urban dynamics and feedback demonstrate how property prices impact on affordability and migration, which in turn impacts on growth rates, the economy and supply and demand for land
7. be able to explain why and how governments influence cities and urban property markets, and what effects they are likely to have
8. Undertake research and analysis and to present their work to an audience in a professional manner.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes to the faculty's five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (see 'Graduate Attribute Development') through the following course intended learning outcomes:

  • Ability to identify ethical issues and concerns (A.1)
  • Ability to apply informed sound ethical judgements in professional contexts (A.2)
  • Ability to work in culturally diverse contexts and understand Indigenous perspectives to meet stakeholders' objectives (A.3)
  • Ability to effectively apply a variety of communication skills and technologies in professional contexts (C.1)
  • Openness to consideration of creative and innovative ideas (I.1)
  • Ability to develop alternative, appropriate creative solutions to built environment issues (I.2)
  • Ability to make investment decisions in various contexts (P.2)
  • Ability to engage in critical and reflective thinking in built environment contexts (R.1)
  • Ability to source, evaluate and use information within defined parameters (R.2)
  • Ability to analyse, structure and report the results of research (R.3)

Teaching and learning strategies


This subject is taught and facilitated through interactive lectures, tutorials, and debates. It encourages the collision and confrontation of theories, controversies, and contests. Most sessions consist of a lecture, a tutorial, and a debate between opposing student groups, in between which there is a short break. Flipped learning is a cross-cutting pedagogic practice: students are required to do at least two readings and answer related questions before coming to class and, while in class, students lead the discussion on the readings. The debates on contemporary urban economics controversies are also led by students, whether as debaters, engaged members of the audience, judges, or time-keepers. Therefore, independent and critical student-based learning is a central pedagogic practice.

Content (topics)

Topics covered by this course include:

  • Fundamentals of Urban Economics
  • Property Markets
  • Location Theory
  • Urbanization and World Cities
  • Transport and Accessibility
  • Migration and Demographics
  • Housing and Housing Affordability
  • Urban Infrastructure and Services
  • Role of Governments

Assessment

Assessment task 1: Minor Essay

Objective(s):

This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 3, 5 and 8

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

A.1, A.2, C.1, I.1, I.2, P.2, R.1, R.2 and R.3

Type: Essay
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 15%
Length:

Please see additional information in assignment brief.

Criteria:

Further detail provided on assignment task sheet.

Assessment task 2: Major Essay

Objective(s):

This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

2, 3, 5, 7 and 8

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

A.1, A.2, A.3, C.1, R.1, R.2 and R.3

Type: Essay
Groupwork: Group, individually assessed
Weight: 35%
Criteria:

Further detail on assignment task sheet.

Assessment task 3: Exam

Objective(s):

This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

3, 4, 5 and 6

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

A.1, A.2, A.3, C.1 and I.2

Type: Examination
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 50%
Criteria:

Further detail on assignment task sheet.

Minimum requirements

All students MUST attend at least 75 per cent of all the class meetings for the semester. Note: Attendance means being present for at least 75 per cent of the 3-hour meeting.

Recommended texts

O’Sullivan A, 2012, Urban Economics, McGraw-Hill Irwin. Chicago. 8th Edition.

Stillwell F, 1992, Understanding Cities and Regions: Spatial Political Economy, Pluto Press, Sydney.
Stilwell F, 1993, Reshaping Australia: Urban Problems and Policies, Pluto Press, Sydney 1993, pp. 294.Reshaping Australia: Urban Problems and Policies, Pluto Press, Sydney.
Obeng-Odoom F, 2016, Reconstructing Urban Economics: Towards a Political Economy of the Built Environment, Zed Books, London.

References

References will be provided in lecture materials and made available on the UTS Online site.