Summer 2020 - URB 655 G100

Global Cities (4)

Class Number: 3925

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 5:30 PM – 9:20 PM



Students will critically evaluate and apply various approaches and concepts in assessing the phenomenon of the global city. Assessment of current Canadian and comparative cases and settings provides a basis for this examination, as does the various stages of the policy cycle.


This course will explore the ideas and practices that shape contemporary understanding of Global Cities. We will explore the evolution of theoretical concepts as articulated by Hall, Sassen, Friedmann, Castells, Brenner, Robinson and others and assess the trajectory of on-going research into Global Cities. Questions that we will consider include: What is a Global City? Why do Global Cities matter? How are these cities classified and situated? How does globalization and Global City theory help understand what is happening in cities today, and how to make them better and more resilient in future?  

After gaining familiarity with the Global Cities conceptual framework, we will apply it to gain insight into several specific cities and their urban dynamics. Students will be expected to connect Global Cities theory with recent practices in a specific case of urban initiative through their research paper.  

Students who participate in the Urban Studies field trip to Montreal that immediately precedes this course may wish (but are not required) to focus their research on some aspect of comparing global influences on the urban development in Montreal and Vancouver. This focus will be one dimension of the field trip, and the comparison of global influences on Montreal and Vancouver will be deepened through a reciprocal visit of faculty and students from INRS Urbanisation to SFU Urban Studies June 17-19.


  • Class participation 15%
  • Seminar facilitation 20%
  • Draft paper + presentation 25%
  • Final paper 30%
  • Final presentation 10%



There is one required text, available online through SFU’s library:  

Xuefei Ren and Roger Keil (eds.) 2018. The Globalizing Cities Reader, Second Edition. (Abingdon, Oxon.: Routledge).  

Other readings may come from journal and news articles available electronically via the SFU library and other sources freely available on the internet.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.


Please note that all teaching at SFU in summer term 2020 will be conducted through remote methods. Enrollment in this course acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.