Economic Geography: Cities and Regions

This module examines the spatial economic underpinnings of the behaviour of urban and regional economies. Highlighting the differences and connections between the two types of economy, it explores a diverse range of basic analytical techniques, as well as the most current, state-of-the-art thinking in the field of local and regional economic development, and policy. The course is divided into two teaching “blocks”, each of 10 weeks and runs over two terms:

  1. Cities and the Urban Economy examines various aspects of spatial economic analysis, explaining why groups of firms and activities are often located together in cities, urban agglomerations, and industrial clusters. It highlights increased competition between Europe’s cities for mobile investment through the development of public - private partnerships, property development, and urban regeneration strategies. This block of lectures also considers the broader historical themes relating to the changing context in which cities and regions nowadays find themselves.
  2. Local and Regional Development: The local and regional development section of the module explores contemporary urban economic issues and discusses the implications of these for policy development in the current period of austerity. It examines the outcomes of current economic regional policy in the UK and elsewhere at the city, local and household level and explores the nature of resilience to these issues. The lectures challenge dominant notions of globalisation theories by demonstrating the continuing importance of the local/region. The lectures are research driven and include case study examples from the UK, Russia, Japan and China and there will be student led formative activity in Birmingham. The lectures are supported by five seminars during which students will discuss key readings and the Birmingham activity. The lectures also feed into the Berlin field trip where comparative discussions will be undertaken in the field.