TRP630 Theorising the City in the Global South

Module Coordinator: Dr Gabriel Silvestre


Tel: 0114 222 6904

Room: D26

Module Overview

This module addresses debates at the interface between Urban Studies and Development Studies. It encourages students to think critically about the ways in which urban planning and development have been conceived and directed in the cities of the Global South. It examines the appropriateness of the existing theory to comprehend current challenges in issues including informality, infrastructure, economic development, climate change and crime and violence. The unit is taught through combined lecture and seminar sessions: these structure students’ learning, and provide an environment in which they can develop their skills in researching, presenting and debating arguments drawn from the academic literature on international development and urban studies.

Study Hours

The university recommends that you spend 150 hours on a 15-credit module. This will include:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Self study

Module Breakdown

Week 1: Induction week
Week 2: Seeing the urban from the South
Week 3: Development and planning: the colonial experience
Week 4: Modernist planning and the developmental state
Week 5: The competitive world-class city
Week 6: New urban visions
Week 7: Planning and informality
Week 8: Economic development (TBC)
Week 9: Cities and climate change (TBC)
Week 10: Infrastructure and urban services (TBC)
Week 11: Crime and violence
Week 12: A southern urban theory?


  • 750-word critical review of indicated literature (20%)
  • 2,500-word essay addressing key debates in the areas of Urban and Development studies (80%)

Key Readings

  • Fox, S and Goodfellow, T (2016). Cities and Development London: Routledge. (2nd Edition)
  • Bhan, G; Srinivas, S; and Watson, V (eds.) (2017) The Routledge Companion to Planning in the Global South. London: Routledge.
  • Robinson, J (2006). Ordinary Cities: between modernity and development London: Routledge.

Skills Badging

USP Specialist Skills - Critical thinking is developed through detailed engagement with academic literature and policy debates.

Communication Skills - Written and verbal communication skills are developed through explaining and debating the literature you are reviewing.

Analytical & Problem Solving Skills - Creativity is developed through producing your own theoretically-informed arguments and evaluation of key ideas.

Before you start...

Students can browse key Planning, Urban and Development Studies journals - such as the "International Journal of Urban and Regional Research", “Urban Studies”, “Planning Theory”, "Environment & Urbanization" and “Environment and Planning A” - to get a sense of current debates and issues; as well as media sources such as "Guardian Cities" ( and “Urban Gateway” (