Summer 2021 - URB 655 G100

Global Cities (4)

Class Number: 3584

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We 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.


The Political Economy of Global Cities

This course is intended to allow students to critically evaluate and apply various approaches and concepts in assessing the phenomenon of the global/world city. Assessment of current Canadian and comparative cases and settings provides a basis for this examination.

The course is organized around three themes:

The first focuses on attempts to generalize about the political economy and experience of global/world cities - to provide an overview of alternative definitions and competing theoretical bases.

The second involves an examination of a number of recent case studies of the global city phenomenon - in such settings as Canada, USA, Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa.

The third will consist of student case studies of specific global city settings / policy areas and the interplay of theoretical and empirical elements affecting policy development in this field – particularly in terms of how the phenomenon exhibits itself in ‘second cities ’in Canada.

Course organization
Two online seminars/colloquiums each week: Mondays and Wednesdays, 5:30-9:20 PM

*Note, this course is being offered in a condensed format that meets online (via Zoom) twice per week.


  • Global article critique 20%
  • Local global city profile/briefing note 30%
  • Global city policy memo/media info 35%
  • Seminar participation 15%



  • Paul Kantor, Christian Lefevre, Asato Saito, Hank Savitch + Andy Thornley, Struggling Giants: City-Region Governance in London, New York, Paris and Tokyo, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012), paperback
  • Parts of Neil Brenner and Roger Keil, eds., The Global Cities Reader (2nd edition. London/New York: Routledge / Taylor + Francis, 2006), paperback – on reserve

A detailed list of readings will be available at the start of the semester - as well as a small number of electronic/other research papers.

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.


Teaching at SFU in summer 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods, but we will continue to have in-person experiential activities for a selection of courses.  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 ( or 778-782-3112).