Search type

School of Environment, Education and Development

Two Geography students on field trip
BA Geography with International Study

Study a course tailored to you at the university ranked fourth in the UK for Geography (Guardian University Guide).

BA Geography with International Study / Course details

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Governing Urban Transformation

Unit code GEOG30802
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by School of Environment, Education and Development
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The first half of the course provides the theoretical, policy and technical background to the subject, while the second half engages with in-depth practical examples from current research projects to explore how these ideas play out in practice. 


This course aims to:


-       Understand the key challenges facing cities in the 21st Century

-       Examine theories of governance and urban transformation

-       Engage with research projects in the field of smart and sustainable cities

-       Provide students with experience of working on applied challenges

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit successful students will be able to:


-        Understand multi-stakeholder and partnership approaches to urban governance

-        Articulate key urban challenges at the global scale

-        Provide and critically assess in-depth examples of specific urban smart and sustainable initiatives from a variety of contexts

-        Work in teams to address applied challenges


1. The urban challenge

2. Theories of governance

3. Theories of urban transformation

4. Sustainability transitions

5. From sustainable to smart cities

6. Introduction to group work

7. Urban innovation and living labs

8. How do cities learn?

9. Informal urbanism and sustainability in the Global South

10. Recap and exam revision

Teaching and learning methods

The course will be delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and a limited number of tutorials to support the group work.

Assessment methods

Students will be assessed by a group report of 3000 words (40%) and a 2 hour final exam (60%). 

Feedback methods

Formative feedback will be given through the weekly seminars to support student learning and engagement with the key concepts. Students will also be given formative feedback on an abstract of their group report submitted through Blackboard before Easter.

Recommended reading

Bulkeley, H. and Castán Broto, V. 2013. ”Government by experiment? Global cities and the governing of climate change”. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 38: 361–75.


de Jong, M., Joss, S., Schraven, D., Zhan, C. and Weijnen, M., 2015. Sustainable–smart–resilient–low carbon–eco–knowledge cities; making sense of a multitude of concepts promoting sustainable urbanization. Journal of Cleaner Production109, pp.25-38.


Evans, J. (2012) Environmental Governance. Routledge, London


Evans, J., Karvonen, A. and Raven, R. (Eds.) (2016) The Experimental City: new modes and prospects of urban transformation. Routledge, London.



Key Journals:


Environment and Planning A, Local Environment, Urban Studies, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 168

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
James Evans Unit coordinator

Return to course details