MRes Urban Geography

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Comments about MRes Urban Geography - At the institution - London - Greater London

  • Objectives
    To provide foundation-level competency in the research skills and knowledge to enable students to go on to a PhD. This degree is recognised by the ESRC, so students completing it are eligible to hold ESRC +3 studentships to fund their PhD research.
  • Entry requirements
    people with a 2:1 first degree, or overseas equivalent. We will consider other degree subjects. Part-time students welcomed.
  • Academic title
    MRes Urban Geography
  • Course description
    Programme description
    - in-depth research training in devlopment issues to prepare graduates for PhD study or research for urban organisations
    - opportunities to explore urban issues in comparative perspective.
    - detailed case studies of London.

    This programme enables you to develop a critical understanding of the complex process of urbanisation, past, present or future. This involves analysing cultural, economic, political and social change in cities to enhance your capacity for critical evaluation of: theoretical and conceptual ideas on cities; empirical research that evaluates theoretical propositions; the implications of policy initiatives for cities and their residents which are essential to effective PhD research.

    It comprises: a dissertation (Pilot Research Study); four compulsory interdisciplinary modules on Applied Social Science: Research Design & Project; Qualitative Research Methods; Quantitative Research Methods; Theory and Methodologies of the Social Sciences and a compulsory module on Conceptualising Cities; one optional module (not all options run each year) chosen from: Architecture and Urban Space; Development and Environmentalism in the 'South'; Environmental Politics as Cultural Politics; Environmental Remote sensing; (Re presenting the City; Social Change in Global Cities; Sustainable Urbanization; Tourism and Development; Urban Regeneration.

    Programme format and assessment
    Continuous course assessment. Students must complete a compulsory dissertation and a module on research methods

    Programme modules for MRes Urban Geography 

    Conceptualising Cities
    (Core Module)
    This module is organised around three main themes that have been central to the way that thinkers have conceptualised the city: shape, circulation and crowds. Shape refers to the physical form and layout of the city which together comprise its legibility; circulation refers to the importance of movement, networks and transactional spaces in the city; and the crowd refers to the significance of anonymity and numbers of people in cities. Each of these themes is explored in the context of different theoretical approaches that have been important in the history of urban thought.

    Theory and Methodologies of the Social Sciences (Core Module)
    Through seminar discussions, students will consider a range of philosophical approaches to the social sciences, from positivism and empiricism, to hermenuetics, marxism, and post-structuralism, and discuss the relationship between theoretical debates in particular disciplines to those within the wider social sciences. Each seminar will begin with student-led discussion of readings and then end with a more formal presentation from the instructor to introduce the material for the coming week.

    (Re)Presenting the City
    This module enables students to demonstrate understanding of the concepts of modernity and postmodernity and the theoretical questions raised by the task of representation. To demonstrate cognisance of the similarities and differences between the modern and the postmodern city over time and space.

    Development and Environmentalism in the 'South'
    This module examines the way that the environment is understood within the context of development, focusing on the global South. It explores the importance of the environment and natural resources to the development process, and the legacy of colonialism and underdevelopment in framing environmental problems. Finally the module considers recent shifts in the debates surrounding development and the environment initiated under both economic restructuring ( the so-called Washington Consensus) since the 1980s, and the increasing attention to global environmental problems, including biodiversity and climate change.

    Environment, Livelihoods and Development in the South
    This module starts with a focus on meanings, approaches, and debates resolving around sustainable livelihoods and development from various perspectives. Thematic exemplars will involve in-depth coverage of current issues, such as fair trade, agrarian change, and natural resources management. There will also be focus on discourses of participation and community in development as it pertains to macro- and micro-level implications. This will be linked to broader debates about gendered livelihoods and gender-development debates. The module will involve in-class discussions, based on assigned readings that students are expected to read, as well as documentary analyses linked to the practical coursework assessment

    Environmental Politics as Cultural Politics
    The course allows students to explore the multiple and contested Nature(s) and identify how these contestations are encountered in politics and policy. The significance of everyday practices in shaping cultural understandings of places and their populations are drawn out through both historical and contemporary readings of Nature. These readings are inherently political. Through the analysis of multi-media information including academic texts, policy documentation, art and film, the question of a stable and shared national identity with one type of nature is put under question. Seminar discussions expose to critical examination the interaction between constructions and experiences of different natures and socio-cultural and political structures.

    Environmental Remote Sensing
    The module enables students to understand the information content of optical, thermal and radar remotely sensed data and to be able to identify the appropriate type of data for use in different environmental investigations. Students will learn to understand and apply various data calibration, processing and analyses techniques to maximize the interpretation of remotely sensed imagery. They will search, order and import various types of remote sensing data into appropriate software packages, and will be able to identify, obtain, calibrate, process and interpret data from sensors such as the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer and/or Landsat Thematic Mapper to illustrate examples of environmental change phenomena.

    Health, Lifestyles and Cities
    This modules examines the theoretical debates concerning the study of health within geography and the inter-relationships between health and the built form of cities. It critically assesses current public health policies and the practices involved in governing unhealthy lifestyles. It evaluates how spatial and social differences between and within cities condition the problematisation of lifestyles. This module enables students to acquire an understanding of the incorporation of health within the remit of an increasing array of governmental and non-governmental actors.

    Social Change in Global Cities
    This module explores the nature, forms and processes of social change in global cities. It examines the socio-economic changes which are reshaping global cities, linking these to a series of other changes including migration, occupational structure, income, ethnicity, the structure of the housing market and social segregation.

    Sustainable Urbanisation
    The module examines the influence of historical urbanisation paths as constraining factors on the production of geographies of urban environmental risk and security. Theorise the relationships between social structures and human agency in negotiating the distribution of risk and vulnerability in the city. Examine the utility of environmental risk as a lens for viewing crises of urban development. Through grounded case study analysis to identify the complexity of living in places of urban risk and vulnerability, to unpack the interaction of urban livelihood sustainability with vulnerability and the tensions that come from the demands of living in poverty and with vulnerability.

    Tourism and Development
    After charting the growth and development of tourism at a global level and also within countries of the South, the module adopts an analytical approach, examining the impact of power relations and risk on tourism development at different scales in developing countries. It examines the different roles played by different interest groups in the industry and the inter-relationship between these groups. It analyses the advantages and disadvantages of tourism on economies of the South and examines possible ways of bringing theory and practice in tourism together in the pursuit of socio-economic development.

    Urban Regeneration
    The module reviews the experience of urban regeneration in the context of post second world war urban policy and developments. This is done mainly from a British perspective but North American and European examples are drawn up and it is hoped that Professor Bob Beauregard who is a leading North American urban scholar and a visiting professor will lead one session. The first part of the module discusses the experience of urban decline and resurgence over the last half century. In the second half we look at a number of specific issues including the conflict between the concepts regeneration and gentrification, the role of culture and in particular focus on the regeneration of East London and the role of the Olympic Games. In the final week, there is an East London fieldtrip which includes a visit to the Olympic site (subject to continuing access being granted).
    One year FT, two years PT, September to September.

    Tuition fees
    PT Home: £1950 (2008)
    PT Overseas: £5400 (2008)
    FT Home: £3900 (2008)
    FT Overseas: £10800 (2008)

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