Fall 2023 - GEOG 261 D100

Encountering the City (3)

Class Number: 3623

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Oct 6, 2023: Tue, 10:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

    Oct 11 – Dec 5, 2023: Tue, 10:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 14, 2023
    Thu, 7:00–10:00 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    GEOG 100 or 102.



An introduction to key concepts and themes in contemporary geographical approaches to cities and urbanization. Breadth-Social Sciences.


Cities – their bright lights, spectacular buildings, and jarring contrasts – have sparked our imaginations for centuries.  They are places of possibility and danger, of hope and disappointment, of power and powerlessness, of glamour and destitution, of production and consumption.  They are often seen as different or special.  They are frequently places where new innovations emerge and places that epitomize new forms of social organization.  If you are interested in cities, if you are excited about living in one and by the opportunity to learn more about them, then this course is for you.

Urban geographers study the spaces, environments, and ways of life of cities.  This course introduces key concepts and approaches in contemporary urban geography.  It will draw upon examples from North America and other parts of the world.  The following broad themes will feature in the course: The process of urbanization; the urban built environment; public space; inequality, exclusion, and segregation; politics in (and of) the city; suburbanization; city-regions; representations of the city; social identity and urban space; nature and the city; urban futures.

The course includes an Experiential Learning component: a Self-Directed Walking and Transit tour of Metro Vancouver. 

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


Students who complete this course will have an introductory-level understanding of key concepts and themes in contemporary urban studies; a clear sense of how geographical concepts, including space, place, and scale, enhance our understanding of cities; and an experiential understanding of how an urban region is shaped by social, political, economic, and environmental processes.


  • Participation in tutorials: 20%
  • Writing Assignments: 45%
  • Mid-term exam: 15%
  • Final Exam: 20%


Grading Scale (Tentative)



Andrew Jonas, Eugene McCann, & Mary Thomas (2015) Urban Geography: A Critical Introduction.  Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.


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 semester 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.