Fall 2024 - GEOG 441 D100

Cities, Space, and Politics (4)

Class Number: 7334

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 4 – Dec 3, 2024: Tue, 2:30–4:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    At least 45 units, including either GEOG 100 or GEOG 161.



An evaluation of the nature of urbanization, having specific reference to theories of urban spatial structure and to comparisons of urbanization in Canada and abroad.


This discussion-based course will explore the relationships between space and power in the urban context.  It will address urban politics, broadly defined.  This broad definition means that the course will not focus primarily on ‘formal politics,’ i.e., voting, elections, political parties, and so on.  Instead, the course will include discussions of a wide variety of interactions, negotiations, struggles, and accommodations that facilitate or question the exercise of power in cities.  These interactions range from inter-personal politics in public spaces, to politically powerful representations of cities and their inhabitants generated by the media, to the actions of social movements and their uses of urban space, to questions of citizenship in ‘globalized’ and ‘multicultural’ cities, to public participation in urban governance, to relationships between cities and other levels of the state.  The course will involve deep engagement with relevant theories and case studies.  The overarching course theme emphasizes how power and politics produce and are produced by urban geographies.

Note: There will be no tutorials the first week of class.


Through deep reading and group discussion of advanced academic texts, the course will provide an understanding of:  (1) what the political, broadly defend, means from a geographical perspective; (2) the relationship between space, place, scale, power, and the political in a range of urban contexts; and (3) current theoretical discussions regarding politics and space.


  • • Weekly Reflection Essays 30%
  • • Class Participation 15%
  • • Reading Presentation 15%
  • • Final Project 40%



Boudreau, J. A. (2016). Global urban politics: Informalization of the state. Polity Press. 
Enright, T., & Rossi, U. (Eds.). (2018). The urban political: Ambivalent spaces of late neoliberalism. Springer.
Hom, L. D. (2024). The Power of Chinatown: Searching for Spatial Justice in Los Angeles. University of California Press.
Other required readings will be online and/or available via the library.


Anti-Eviction Mapping project. (2021). Counterpoints: A San Francisco Bay Area atlas of displacement & resistance. PM Press.
Campbell, L., Newman, A., Safransky, S., Stallmann, T. (2020). A people's atlas of Detroit. Wayne State University Press. 


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the term are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.