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GEOP703 – Understanding Sustainable Urban Regions

2017 – S2 Evening

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff
Ashraful Alam
Contact via 02 9850 7985
W3A 429
email for appointment
Credit points Credit points
4
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Admission to MRes
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
This unit examines the social, economic and environmental challenges associated with developing sustainable cities and urban regions internationally. Opportunities and barriers to implementing more sustainable urban management and planning practices are explored. Students undertake their own case study; critically assessing response strategies and developing their own sustainability plans.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand the differences and similarities of processes and governance that shape change in diverse urban regions;
  2. Develop a foundation in sustainable planning with a focus on strategic issues;
  3. Demonstrate understanding of contemporary concepts and policies of smart cities and transport planning;
  4. Be able to critically evaluate the effectiveness of strategies for managing and developing urban regions;
  5. Compile and analyse a range of qualitative and quantitative data in support of planning sustainable cities and regions;
  6. Ability to work as a team, address contemporary problems of cities and regions, and give succinct and informative oral presentations

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Due
Patterns of Urbanisation 15% 18 August 2017 5:00pm
Group Presentation 15% Week 4-13
Assessment of City Plans 25% 15 September 2017 5:00pm
Major Essay 35% 10 November 2017 5:00pm
Workshop Participation 10% Week 2-13

Patterns of Urbanisation

Due: 18 August 2017 5:00pm
Weighting: 15%

Report on urbanisation patterns in two continents based on UN data. 1000 words plus maps, graphs, and tables.

Understanding urbanisation patterns and prospects are the key to planning sustainable cities. For this first assessment task you are required to prepare a short report on urbanisation trends between 1970 and 2050 for two continents. More guidance, including marking criteria, will be given in Week 1 and made available on iLearn.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Develop a foundation in sustainable planning with a focus on strategic issues;
  • Be able to critically evaluate the effectiveness of strategies for managing and developing urban regions;
  • Compile and analyse a range of qualitative and quantitative data in support of planning sustainable cities and regions;

Group Presentation

Due: Week 4-13
Weighting: 15%

Throughout the semester you are introduced to a range of contemporary topics that are connected to the sustainability of cities and regions. In this assignment, you will work with other classmates to develop a group presentation that demonstrates your understanding and ability to communicate one of the topics by analysing relevant concepts and incorporating real life local or international example(s). You are welcome to choose from the list of weekly topics that interest your group (topics are given below). Groups will be assigned during Week 2 workshop. Selection of topic will be on first come first served basis. You are encouraged to be creative in your presentation and are welcome to use unconventional presentation techniques such as debates, role plays, audience interaction, skits etc.

Group presentation guidelines:

  • The length of your group presentation will be determined in class but will not normally exceed 30 minutes.
  • Group presentation should be structured in such a way that all students will get an equal chance to demonstrate their knowledge and individual performance can be measured.
  • 50% mark will be allocated to group performance (understanding of the topic, effectiveness of group presentation with clarity, coordination and creativity) and 50% mark will be allocated to individual performance (quality of individual contribution to the group presentation).

Further details will be made available during class and through iLearn.

Suggested topics: non-humans in the city, urban underground, smart cities, migration and cities, shared dwelling, resilient cities, housing affordability, public transport, green infrastructure, zero-carbon city, active travel and shared mobility


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Develop a foundation in sustainable planning with a focus on strategic issues;
  • Demonstrate understanding of contemporary concepts and policies of smart cities and transport planning;
  • Be able to critically evaluate the effectiveness of strategies for managing and developing urban regions;
  • Compile and analyse a range of qualitative and quantitative data in support of planning sustainable cities and regions;
  • Ability to work as a team, address contemporary problems of cities and regions, and give succinct and informative oral presentations

Assessment of City Plans

Due: 15 September 2017 5:00pm
Weighting: 25%

The goal here is to critically assess the content and approach of city-wide sustainability plans.

You will produce a written report of 1500 words, including references.

Throughout the first half of the semester, you will be introduced to a number of different cities as case study examples. Use these discussions, and your wider reading, to help you choose a city outside Australia. You should then collate and analyse sustainability plans for that city. The individual report you produce should include:

  • the institutional context
  • the scale of planning
  • key mechanisms used
  • what elements (e.g. nature, land use, migration, mobility, tourism, housing, climate change, etc.) are defined as critical to sustainability.

Tips for Assessment of City Plans:

  • Include an executive summary, introduction, a body (main argument) and a conclusion (answer the question).

  • Consider the use of tables and diagrams to summarise your information.

  • Comply with the word count and condense your work to present a concise argument.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand the differences and similarities of processes and governance that shape change in diverse urban regions;
  • Develop a foundation in sustainable planning with a focus on strategic issues;
  • Demonstrate understanding of contemporary concepts and policies of smart cities and transport planning;
  • Be able to critically evaluate the effectiveness of strategies for managing and developing urban regions;
  • Compile and analyse a range of qualitative and quantitative data in support of planning sustainable cities and regions;

Major Essay

Due: 10 November 2017 5:00pm
Weighting: 35%

Topic: Smart Cities

You have been introduced to the concept of smart cities in Week 3 lecture. Throughout the Unit, you have been introduced to different concepts and issues related to technology, non-humans, mobility and shared economy. These concepts push us to find new sustainable practice to build on smart cities. Especially, technology and shared/alternate/diverse economy have converged to produce a number of new forms of mobilities and urban living.

For this essay, you should not limit yourself to the unit lecture contents only. In addition, you are expected to conduct a reasonable amount of literature review that requires a critical analysis of a series of scholarly articles to answer the question:

"What are the sustainability potential and planning implications of technology and/or other disruptive forms of smart practice in cities?"

You are not expected to conduct primary research for this essay. Rather, you are to use academic and grey literature (produced by organizations outside the traditional academic publishing channels) to build your argument.

The reference list available via iLearn is a starting point, though additional references will also be expected.

Submissions requirements:

Word length: 2500 words (excluding references)

Submit via iLearn using the Turnitin link. Penalties will apply in case of late submissions.

Style: essay, no less than 1.5 line spacing and no smaller than 11pt font.

References: ensure you reference your work. See: http://www.students.mq.edu.au/support/learning_skills/undergraduate/academic_skills_quick guides/

You will need to reference approximately 15 academic sources (for example, articles, chapters in edited collections and books).

Reference List - available via iLearn


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand the differences and similarities of processes and governance that shape change in diverse urban regions;
  • Develop a foundation in sustainable planning with a focus on strategic issues;
  • Demonstrate understanding of contemporary concepts and policies of smart cities and transport planning;
  • Be able to critically evaluate the effectiveness of strategies for managing and developing urban regions;
  • Compile and analyse a range of qualitative and quantitative data in support of planning sustainable cities and regions;

Workshop Participation

Due: Week 2-13
Weighting: 10%

Task: Attend all workshops, read the assigned readings, present one of them if requested and involve in discussions.

Attendance will be recorded for all workshop sessions. If you attend less than 80% of the workshop sessions, marks will be deducted. For each week’s workshop, you need to read the two assigned readings, which are the basis of group discussions and other activities. The readings will be posted on the Unit's iLean site. Be prepared to present one of them to the class if called on by the workshop facilitator. In each week’s tutorial, two people will be selected randomly to present a brief (5 minutes) summary of one of the assigned readings and to facilitate a class discussion. You will not be allowed to use Microsoft Powerpoint or any other electronic presentation tools, but you will be allowed to use the whiteboard or any other props if you wish. Students giving group presentations in the same week are exempted from presenting the readings summary; however, they must participate in the discussion.

Your performance will be assessed using a marking sheet that indicates the strength of your contributions either through presenting readings summary or participating in discussions. All students will be expected to participate in the discussion of the readings.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Develop a foundation in sustainable planning with a focus on strategic issues;
  • Ability to work as a team, address contemporary problems of cities and regions, and give succinct and informative oral presentations

Delivery and Resources

Classes

Classes are held on Mondays commencing at 6:00pm and concluding at 9:00pm (in Week 1 and Week 13 class may finish earlier). GEOP830 is only available in internal mode, hence attending classes is necessary to maximise the learning outcomes. Workshops will consist of both lectures and a variety of learning activities spread over the three hour block.

Workload Expectation

It is generally expected that students will commit at least 3 hours per week per credit point in their studies. Thus, in addition to attending weekly classes for 3 hours, students are expected to complete appropriate reading, research and other activities equivalent to at least 9 hours per week. Thus the total workload for this unit should be considered as a minimum of 12 hours per week throughout the semester.

Technology

GEOP830 makes extensive use of iLearn for both resources and assessment. Resources for weekly workshops, readings, blog questions are on iLearn, as well as readings for assignments. Turnitin will be used for submitted assignments. Access to the internet and regular access to the unit’s website is essential for GEOP830.

Unit Schedule

Date Lecture Workshop topics Submission of assessments
31 July Introduction: Welcome and Sustainable cities in the 21st century Overview of Assessments, Learning Activities and using data  
7 August The ecological potential of cities and regions (guest lecture: Dr. Donna Houston, Macquarie University)

Multi-species urban imagination

Assignment preparation: Patterns of urbanisation 

Formation of Groups and selection of Presentation Topics 
14 August Volumetric City: subterranean geographies of soil and water (guest lecture: Dr. Marilu Melo, University of Sydney) Urban imagination beyond the 'surface bias'

 

Patterns of urbanisation due 18 August 5:00pm

21 August Concepts of Smart Cities (guest lecture: Dr. Sophie Maalsen, University of Sydney)

What is meant for cities to be 'smart'?

Assignment preparation: Assessment of city plans

Group Presentation on selected topic
28 August Mobility of populations in cities and regions  (guest lecture: Dr. Claudio Minca, Macquarie University) Migration and cities Group Presentation on selected topic
4 September Cities, tourism and the sharing economy (guest lecture: Maartje Roelofsen, Macquarie University) The implication of Airbnb in cities  Group Presentation on selected topic
11 September Urban resilience (guest lecture: Dr. Peter Rogers, Macquarie University)

What is meant for cities to be 'resilient'?

 

Group Presentation on selected topic

Assessment of City Plans due 15 September 5:00pm

18-30 SEPTEMBER   NO CLASSES
2 October PUBLIC HOLIDAY  

NO CLASSES

9 October Geopolitics of real-estate and cities (guest lecture: Dr. Dallas Rogers, University of Sydney)

Urban sprawling and housing affordability

Assignment preparation: Major essay

Group Presentation on selected topic

16 October  Mobility in smart cities (guest lecture: TBC) Active travel, car sharing Group Presentation on selected topic
23 October Cities, justice and energy transitions (guest lecture: TBC) Renewable energy, ecological footprint, green infrastructure Group Presentation on selected topic

30 October

Cities, justice and climate change (guest lecture: TBC)

Planning the climate-just cities: for whom?

Group Presentation on selected topic

6 November Smart and sustainable urban region, wrap-up

Follow-up assignment preparation: Major essay

Group Presentation on selected topic

Major Essay due 10 November 5:00pm 

 

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html The Disruption to Studies Policy is effective from March 3 2014 and replaces the Special Consideration Policy.

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

PG - Discipline Knowledge and Skills

Our postgraduates will be able to demonstrate a significantly enhanced depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content knowledge in their chosen fields.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the differences and similarities of processes and governance that shape change in diverse urban regions;
  • Develop a foundation in sustainable planning with a focus on strategic issues;
  • Demonstrate understanding of contemporary concepts and policies of smart cities and transport planning;
  • Be able to critically evaluate the effectiveness of strategies for managing and developing urban regions;
  • Compile and analyse a range of qualitative and quantitative data in support of planning sustainable cities and regions;
  • Ability to work as a team, address contemporary problems of cities and regions, and give succinct and informative oral presentations

Assessment tasks

  • Patterns of Urbanisation
  • Group Presentation
  • Assessment of City Plans
  • Major Essay
  • Workshop Participation

PG - Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

Our postgraduates will be capable of utilising and reflecting on prior knowledge and experience, of applying higher level critical thinking skills, and of integrating and synthesising learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments. A characteristic of this form of thinking is the generation of new, professionally oriented knowledge through personal or group-based critique of practice and theory.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the differences and similarities of processes and governance that shape change in diverse urban regions;
  • Develop a foundation in sustainable planning with a focus on strategic issues;
  • Demonstrate understanding of contemporary concepts and policies of smart cities and transport planning;
  • Be able to critically evaluate the effectiveness of strategies for managing and developing urban regions;
  • Compile and analyse a range of qualitative and quantitative data in support of planning sustainable cities and regions;

Assessment tasks

  • Patterns of Urbanisation
  • Group Presentation
  • Assessment of City Plans
  • Major Essay
  • Workshop Participation

PG - Research and Problem Solving Capability

Our postgraduates will be capable of systematic enquiry; able to use research skills to create new knowledge that can be applied to real world issues, or contribute to a field of study or practice to enhance society. They will be capable of creative questioning, problem finding and problem solving.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the differences and similarities of processes and governance that shape change in diverse urban regions;
  • Develop a foundation in sustainable planning with a focus on strategic issues;
  • Demonstrate understanding of contemporary concepts and policies of smart cities and transport planning;
  • Be able to critically evaluate the effectiveness of strategies for managing and developing urban regions;
  • Compile and analyse a range of qualitative and quantitative data in support of planning sustainable cities and regions;

Assessment tasks

  • Patterns of Urbanisation
  • Group Presentation
  • Assessment of City Plans
  • Major Essay
  • Workshop Participation

PG - Effective Communication

Our postgraduates will be able to communicate effectively and convey their views to different social, cultural, and professional audiences. They will be able to use a variety of technologically supported media to communicate with empathy using a range of written, spoken or visual formats.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Be able to critically evaluate the effectiveness of strategies for managing and developing urban regions;
  • Compile and analyse a range of qualitative and quantitative data in support of planning sustainable cities and regions;
  • Ability to work as a team, address contemporary problems of cities and regions, and give succinct and informative oral presentations

Assessment tasks

  • Patterns of Urbanisation
  • Group Presentation
  • Assessment of City Plans
  • Major Essay
  • Workshop Participation

PG - Engaged and Responsible, Active and Ethical Citizens

Our postgraduates will be ethically aware and capable of confident transformative action in relation to their professional responsibilities and the wider community. They will have a sense of connectedness with others and country and have a sense of mutual obligation. They will be able to appreciate the impact of their professional roles for social justice and inclusion related to national and global issues

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the differences and similarities of processes and governance that shape change in diverse urban regions;
  • Demonstrate understanding of contemporary concepts and policies of smart cities and transport planning;
  • Be able to critically evaluate the effectiveness of strategies for managing and developing urban regions;

Assessment tasks

  • Patterns of Urbanisation
  • Group Presentation
  • Assessment of City Plans
  • Major Essay
  • Workshop Participation

PG - Capable of Professional and Personal Judgment and Initiative

Our postgraduates will demonstrate a high standard of discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgment. They will have the ability to make informed choices and decisions that reflect both the nature of their professional work and their personal perspectives.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the differences and similarities of processes and governance that shape change in diverse urban regions;
  • Develop a foundation in sustainable planning with a focus on strategic issues;
  • Be able to critically evaluate the effectiveness of strategies for managing and developing urban regions;
  • Compile and analyse a range of qualitative and quantitative data in support of planning sustainable cities and regions;

Assessment tasks

  • Patterns of Urbanisation
  • Group Presentation
  • Assessment of City Plans
  • Major Essay
  • Workshop Participation

Changes from Previous Offering

This unit is being taught by a new convenor from the Department of Geography and Planning in 2017 and has been extensively revised. The pivotal differences have been made firstly through the introduction of a range of new topics to better address the key question- what it means for cities to be smart and sustainable in the 21st century. Secondly, a series of guest lecturers who are the expert in the introduced topics has been invited to enhance the delivery of teaching.   

Group presentation has replaced the 3M presentation to enhance the students' engagement with the unit contents as well as creating opportunities of a participatory learning environment through team works.

The weighting of written submissions (assessment of city plans and major essay) have been readjusted to better reflect their respective word lengths. The topic of the major essay has been changed form previous years to better reflect the lecture topics.

Changes since First Published

Date Description
04/08/2017 There will be no peer assessment in the Group Presentation assessment. The section 'your grade will be comprised of both individual performance assessed by the teaching staff(s) and an overall group mark weighted by peer assessment of your contribution in the group' has been removed in the revision.