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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgrad Research Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Researching the City (PRGE11012)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis subject is designed to provide specialist postgraduate research training relevant to students undertaking research that is located in an urban setting or which seeks to analyze and understand urban processes. The subject assumes that advanced level students of the city require two types of core knowledge: (1) an historicized and appropriately contextualized understanding of the different knowledge frames by which cities have been recorded, comprehended and studied (including a sense of the situated production of these distinct knowledge frames); and (2) an introduction into the techniques of data collection, representation and analysis that flow from these quite distinctive knowledge frames. The course has an emphasis on qualitative approaches, and deals with, among other things: urban semiotics, urban ethnography and the everyday, film and documentary traditions, sensory cities (sound, touch), city as text/discourse (including numbers and words), the city and the plan, urban materialities (morphology, technologies). The course specifically addresses the relationship between the ways we know the city (epistemology) and the way we research the city (method).

The course encourages an ethos of ?practical knowing=, which not the quest for essences, totalities or rational orders, but a commitment to admitting
connections, incomplete knowledges, absences.1 It is built upon a belief that
pedagogy should always be undertaken in relation to what Henri Lefebvre called ?localized practices=.2 As such, this course does not simply teach in the abstract about some theory or some techniques used to investigate the city or urban phenomenon. It encourages you to put what is discussed in class into conversation with actual city places and processes.
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
At the end of the course students will:
- Appreciate the skills required for advanced research on the city
- Understand what methods and techniques are relevant to what kinds of studies and projects;
- Be equipped to discern the appropriate methodologies for the research projects they wish to pursue
- Know the relationship between theory and methodology and techniques;
- Be able to analysis critically different urban knowledge frames and associated methodologies
- To ascertain and apply specific data collection and analysis frameworks
- Be able to present in written, visual, verbal and other forms, analyses of specific components of the city.
Reading List
Indicative reading list
Amin, Ash and Thrift, Nigel 2002 Cities: Reimagining the Urban. Polity.
Balshaw, Maria and Kennedy, Liam 2000 Urban Space and Representation. Pluto.
Beauregard, Robert A 1993 Representing Urban Decline: Postwar Cities as
Narrative Objects, Urban Affairs Review, 29 (2), 187-202.
Lefebvre, Henri 1996 Seen from the window, in Elenore Kofman and Elizabeth Lebas (Trans) Writings of Cities: Henri Lefebvre (Blackwell Publishing, Oxford), 219-227.
Lynch, Kevin 2002 (1960) The Image of the City. In Bridge, G. and Watson, S. (eds) The Blackwell City Reader, Blackwell Publishing.
Söderström, Ola 1996 Paper Cities: Visual Thinking in Urban Planning, Cultural Geographies, 3 (3), 249-281.
Augoyard, Jean-Francois 2007 (1979) Step-by-Step: Everyday walks in a French urban housing project.
Simmel, George 2002 (1948) The metropolis and mental life. In Bridge, G. and Watson, S. (eds) The Blackwell City Reader (Blackwell Publishing).
Venturi, Robert; Scott Brown, Denisel Izenour, Steven 1994 (1972) Learning From Las Vegas (MIT Press).
Donald, James 1999 Imagining the Modern City, University of Minnesota Press.
Gottdiener, Mark and Lagopoulos, Alexandros, 1986 The City and the Sign,
Columbia University Press.
Lefebrve, Henri 1991 (1974) The Production of Space. Trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith. Blackwell Publishers.
Hubbard, Phil 2006 City. Routledge.
Whyte, William Hollingsworth 2000 New York and Tokyo: A Study in Crowding, in A. Lefarge (ed.) The Essential William H Whyte. Fordham University Press.
Bridge, Gary 2005 Reason and the city of difference: Pragmatism, Communicative Action and Contemporary Urbanism, Routledge.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsPRGE11012, Urban, city, research methods, data collection and analysis
Course organiserDr Jane Jacobs
Tel: (0131 6)50 2515
Course secretaryMs Caroline Keir
Tel: (0131 6)51 7192
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