Spring 2021 - GEOG 362W D100

Geography of Urban Built Environments (4)

Class Number: 3662

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 23, 2021
    5:00 PM – 5:00 PM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    At least 45 units, including GEOG 100.



Current concepts and approaches in urban geography regarding the development of built environments. Central concerns are the relationships between urbanization and the state, capital, and civil society at various scales. Students with credit for GEOG 362 may not take this course for further credit. Writing.


Is the city a thing or a process?  In this course, we’ll have the chance to think about urban built environments – buildings, sidewalks, parks, roads, bike lanes, etc. – as fixed concrete elements of the landscape and, simultaneously, as constantly changing restless social processes.

Why is it important to think of cities as fixed/fluid social environments?  By doing so, we get beyond the apparently stable, concrete surface of cities and beyond orthodox stories about how and why they are built and regulated.  We get to think critically about the social, economic, and political forces that underlie and produce urban built environments under contemporary capitalism.  We’ll begin to understand the various interests involved in (re)shaping cities through design, development, planning, political activism, and everyday life.  By focusing on these often-invisible characteristics and forces of urban change, we can become more engaged, critical urban citizens with more ability to evaluate and promote change.

Course delivery in Spring 2021:

  • Lectures (asynchronous): Recordings of lectures (voice with PowerPoint) will be available each week. These will be divided into roughly 30 minute sections.
  • Tutorials (synchronous): Required, 90 mins per week, using Zoom.
  • Office Hours: Your TA and instructor will hold office hours one hour each per week at a set time on Zoom, with other meeting time available by appointment.

There will be no tutorials the first week of class.


Through lecture and discussion, the course will provide an understanding of:  (1) the changing relationships between cities and their regional, national, and global contexts; (2) how the state, capital, and civil society interact to shape built environments; (3) the relationship between identity and urban change; and (4) current theoretical perspectives on cities and urban life.


  • Tutorial Participation 15%
  • ‘The 99% Invisible City’ assignment 10%
  • Research proposal 20%
  • Research Paper (First version = 5%; Revised version = 35%) 40%
  • Final Exam (Take home) - asynchronous 15%


Course evaluation (Tentative)



  • Mars, R. & Kohlstedt, K. 2020. The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design. HMH Books. 
  • Other readings will be on reserve via the library (mostly online academic journal articles).

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html 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. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment 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. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

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 (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).