Introduction to Urban Geography

Humanities & Social Sciences
Geography and the Environment
Course Code
GEOG 3361
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
Cities are the largest human artifacts, but how do they emerge and evolve? What are the similarities and differences between cities? Why is the Central Business District of some cities thriving while others decline? These and many other questions are examined by urban geographers. Geography 3361 will explore and analyze the various aspects, concepts and approaches of urban geography. The course will cover topics such as historic and contemporary urban development; spatial dimensions of the city; social and economic patterns; images of the city; inequality and the development of urban built environment. Canadian and global urban patterns and future developments will be explored.
Course Content
  1. Introduction
    a)     The nature of urban geography and paradigm shifts
    b)     Definition of urban centres/cities
  2. Historic Development of Cities
    a)      Ancient and Classical cities
    b)      Medieval and baroque cities, including colonial variations
    c)       Industrial and Modern cities
    d)      Post-industrial and emerging cities
  3. Cities and Economic Development
  4. Systems of Cities
    a)      Central Place Theory and other models
  5. Internal Structure of the City
    a)      Classic models of the city
    b)      Contemporary models of the city
    c)       New urban order, gentrification and the inner city
    d)      Suburbanization and land use conflicts
    e)       Planning issues
  6. Land use, urban transportation and housing
    a)      Institutional processes, politics and the development industry
  7. Social aspects of urbanization
    a)      Gender
    b)      Indigeneity 
    c)      Other social processes (class, ethnicity,race and age)
  8. City as Image and Perception
  9. Urban Ecological Issues
  10. World Urban Patterns and Processes
  11. Urban Futures
  12. Conclusion
    a) Urban geography in a globalizing world
Methods Of Instruction

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following: 

  •  lectures
  •  small group discussions
  •  visual presentations – DVDs and videos
  •  individual and team projects and/or presentations
  •  field assignments
  •  practical in-class exercises
Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific criteria during the first week of classes.


An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be:

Assignments  10%
Field assignments          10%
Tests  55%
Term project  20%
Participation   5%
Total 100%



Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

  1. Collect, display and analyze geographical data using a variety of techniques.
  2. Explain the concepts and models of the development, function and distribution of cities.
  3. Analyze the internal structure of cities using appropriate techniques, models and theories.
  4. Examine and explain the impact of class, gender, ethnicity and other characteristics on the perception of and interaction with urban spaces.
  5. Compare and contrast the development of cities in North America and the rest of the world.
  6. Describe the origin and historic development of North American cities.
  7. Analyze the processes of suburbanization and gentrification and their contemporary characteristics.
  8. Describe the development and implications of the urban built environment and landscape.
  9. Explain how public and private sector organizations influence the planning and development of cities.
  10. Assess the challenges confronting developing or peripheral cities and possible solutions.
  11. Conduct and properly report on field based research.
Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students:


Texts will be updated periodically. Typical examples are:


Hall, Tim and Heather Barrett (2018) Urban Geography 5th ed Routledge


Jonas, Andrew EG, Eugene McCann, and Mary Thomas (2015) Urban Geography: A Critical Introduction Wiley-Blackwell


Kaplan, Dave H. and Steven Holloway (2014) Urban Geography 3rd ed Wiley-Blackwell


Knox, Paul and Linda McCarthy (2012) Urbanization: An Introduction to Urban Geography 3rd ed Prentice Hall


LeGates, Richard and Frederic Stout, eds (2015) The City Reader 6thed Routledge


Pacione, Michael (2009) Urban Geography: A Global Perspective 3rd ed New York: Routledge 




No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

Institution Transfer Details Effective Dates
Athabasca University (AU) AU GEOG 311 (3) 2013/01/01 to -
Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU GEOG 201 (3) 2013/01/01 to -
Coast Mountain College (CMTN) CMTN GEOG 2XX (3) 2013/01/01 to -
College of the Rockies (COTR) COTR GEOG 2XX (3) 2013/01/01 to 2013/12/31
College of the Rockies (COTR) COTR GEOG 3XX (3) 2014/01/01 to -
Columbia College (COLU) COLU GEOG 1st (3) 2013/01/01 to -
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU GEOG 2250 (3) 2013/01/01 to -
Langara College (LANG) LANG GEOG 2XXX (3) 2013/01/01 to -
North Island College (NIC) NIC GEO 2XX (3) 2013/01/01 to -
Okanagan College (OC) OC GEOG 250 (3) 2013/01/01 to -
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU GEOG 261 (3) 2013/01/01 to -
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU GEOG 2XXX (3) 2013/01/01 to -
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU GEOG 355 (3) 2013/09/01 to -
University Canada West (UCW) UCW GEOG 3XX (3) 2017/01/01 to -
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO GEOG 250 (3) 2013/01/01 to -
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV GEOG 350 (3) 2013/01/01 to -
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC GEOG 2XX (3) 2013/01/01 to -
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV GEOG 344 (3) 2013/01/01 to -
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC GEOG 3XX (1.5) 2013/01/01 to -

Course Offerings

Fall 2021

There aren't any scheduled upcoming offerings for this course.