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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 2019 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 should be able to:

1. Demonstrate a good theoretical understanding of urban problems and prospects, including the place of 'property' in the process of urban economic growth and change within ecological limits.
2. Apply key urban economics concepts in real world situations.
3. Probe the role of various institutiions in urban and regional development processes.
4. Undertake research and provide a compelling presentation of its results in a professional manner.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes to 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)
  • Ability to work effectively in a team in a professional context (C.2)
  • 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 apply economic theory in analysing property markets (I.3)
  • 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)
  • Ability to demonstrate judgement in critical analysis of independent research (R.4)

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.

Students receive feedback on their learning activities during and after class. Feedforward is also available upon request and at the discretion of the teacher whose comments can be both oral and written and are given in or outside the lecture room.

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: Essay

Intent:

The intent behind this task is to give the student the opportunity to start thinking critically about their study of urban economics, to ascertain to what extent the student are beginning to immerse themselves in debates in the field, and to provide the opportunity to develop the foundations and fundamentals of urban economics.

Objective(s):

This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2, 3 and 4

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 and I.1

Type: Essay
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 20%
Length:

Please see additional information in assignment brief.

Criteria:

This essay is assessed based on the following criteria:

Focus, Research, Referencing, Structure, Expression, and Analysis. Further details can be found in the assignment brief on UTS Online.

Assessment task 2: Class Participation

Intent:

Professional property economists must usually convince their clients by appealing to evidence and critically engaging with views that contradict theirs. This assessment is intended to develop the skills of making decisions based on carefully considered analyses while students are on their feet or in a dialogue with other students over readings that present competing views.

Objective(s):

This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2, 3 and 4

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.):

C.1, C.2, I.3, R.1, R.2, R.3 and R.4

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

This assessment is based on two key criteria: class participation and debate engagement. Both criteria are explained comprehensively in the assignment brief on UTS Online.

Assessment task 3: Exam

Intent:

Property economists are often required to give evidence before commissions of enquiry, the courts, and other bodies. In this task, they are usually asked questions that require them to apply their skills in a real world setting. The intent behind the urban economics exam is to develop these skills of competently applying ideas and tools in urban economics.

Objective(s):

This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

, 3 and 4

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: 45%
Criteria:

This assessment is based on how well the student has appreciated the overall objectives of the subject. In particular, students are assessed on how well they are able to engage theoretical debates about cities, how thoroughly they can apply concepts in urban economics to society, economy, and environment, and in what ways they can provide a carefully considered stance on contemporary debates about urban public policy.

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.