Spring 2021 - GEOG 442 D100

A World of Cities (4)

Class Number: 3663

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    60 credit hours, including Geog 362.



An exploration of how cities shape the contemporary globalized world, focusing on key contemporary academic approaches. Highlights geographical and multi-disciplinary work on global-urban relations, networks, structures, and mobilities. Students who have taken GEOG 442 STT, Global Cities, may not take this course for further credit.


This course will explore cities and urban regions that epitomize many of the key social structures, identities, and inequalities that characterize neoliberal globalization.

Starting from the premise that all places are global and that the point is to figure out how and with what consequences, the course will highlight research that emphasizes contemporary geographers’ work on global-urban relations, flows, networks, and mobilities.

Some of the cases discussed will include: the ‘viral’ spread of ‘creativity’ policies; the role of rankings and other metrics in shaping our view of the best and most important cities in the world; the work of global ‘informational infrastructures’ and ‘epistemic communities’ in shaping the globalization of knowledge, expertise, and best practice about urban governance and planning; the example of harm reduction drug policy as a globally mobile strategy that has impacts on specific cities.  Cities discussed will likely include Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Beijing, Bogota, Caracas, Curitiba, Detroit, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Lagos, London, Los Angeles, New York, Porto Alegre, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, Vancouver, and Zurich.

Course delivery in Spring 2021:

  • Lectures (asynchronous): Recordings of lectures (voice with PowerPoint) will be available each week. Lecture will last roughly 30-40 minutes (this is largely a discussion-based course).
  • Class discussions of readings and course themes (synchronous): Required, 90 mins per week, using Zoom.
  • Office Hours: I will hold office hours one hour each per week at a set time on Zoom, with other meeting times available by appointment.

There will be no tutorials the first week of class.


Students will gain an understanding of the key social-spatial processes that characterize contemporary urban life and development in the context of neoliberal globalization.  They will develop an understanding of the key concepts, literatures, and debates that characterize the multidisciplinary field of urban studies, with a particular emphasis on those related to globalization and cities. 


  • • “Being Global” written assignment 10%
  • • Participation in class discussion/activities 20%
  • • Presentation(s) 25%
  • • Written assignments 45%


Course evaluation (Tentative)



All readings available via the library or online (mostly academic 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).