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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Asian Studies

Undergraduate Course: Global Cities: Seoul and comparative perspectives (ASST10156)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course aims to introduce students to international urban studies with a focus on cities in South Korea such as Seoul, Busan, and Incheon, as well as other global cities in comparative perspective. While global cities share common features such as the presence of multinational corporations, international financial services, and multicultural societies, among others, each city is also shaped by its own history, culture and the broader geophysical and geopolitical environments. The course starts with the debates on the origins of global cities, before moving on to introducing various theoretical approaches to the study of cities and urbanisation. The course explores factors driving urban growth and discusses how economic growth affects the urban environment. The course also examines questions of urban culture, social organisations, hybrid and multi-level governance, urban planning, and the future of the city.
Course description Globalisation has led to greater interconnectedness, but also greater inequality and polarisation.

The course explores urban politics and policies focusing on Seoul and, comparatively, on other global cities in East Asia. Over half of the world's population lives in cities, bringing new challenges to governance, environment and social stability. The need for cutting-edge research on changing urban lives is growing rapidly. Old metropolises have morphed into global cities. These, in turn, have become dynamic sites of artistic and scientific creativity, melting pots of ethnic and cultural diversity. Larger cities are competing with regions and states to be attractive economic and creative hubs. New forms of multilevel governance are taking shape, with profound implications for economic globalisation, hybridity and transborder mobility.

This course examines how globalisation shapes processes of social, cultural, economic and political transformations in contemporary cities. It uses the city of Seoul as its main vantage point on those changes, before proceeding with a select number of comparisons with other key Asian cities. Issues discussed in the course include the origins of global cities, transportation and access, housing and land, city poverty and gentrification, labour migration and multicultural society and environment and health and sustainability.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  15
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Class participation and attendance 10%

Mid-term assignment 40% (800 words) - Students can choose one type of assignment from various options of assignments, including video essays (2-3 group work possible), policy briefs, blogs, Wikipedia entries (2-3 group work possible), podcasts (2-3 group work possible), contrast two journal articles or editorials

Essay: 50% (3,000 words)

Marking criteria for essays:
Honours Class Mark (%) Grade
1st 90-100 Excellent
1st 80-89 Excellent
1st 70-79 Excellent
2.1 60-69 Very Good
2.2 50-59 Performance at a level showing the potential to achieve at least a lower second class honours degree
3rd 40-49 Pass, may not be sufficient for progression to an honours programme
Fail 30-39 Marginal Fail
Fail 20-29 Clear Fail
Fail 10-19 Bad Fail
Fail 0-9 Bad Fail

Marking criteria for mid-term assignments:
Relevance to question
Organisation and structure
Time/ space management
Clarity and engagement with the audience/ readers
Sound understanding of the topic
Adequacy of research
Adequacy of analysis
Clear and sound argument
Effective use of evidence
Range of sources used
scaled by Outstanding 80-100, Very good 70-79, Good 60-69, Adequate 50-59, Weak 40-49, Poor 30-39, Fail 0-29

Feedback Formative assessment with associated feedback for the final paper by Week 7.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. identify and discuss different processes of urban changes such as urbanization, history, politics, economy, city planning, culture, geography, sustainable development, and social change.
  2. explain the roles of urban planners and designers in improving urban areas.
  3. identify the factors that help to shape city growth, as well as decline, in a historical context.
  4. explain the various functions of cities and the global economy and to know the different groups that inhabit cities.
  5. explain the forms of urban inequality both within cities and between them.
Reading List
Sassen, S. (1992) The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Latham, R. and Sassen S. Eds. (2005) Digital Formations: IT and New Architectures in the Global Realm, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
UN-HABITAT. (2009) Global Report on Human Settlements 2009: Planning Sustainable Cities, Abridged Edition, London: Earthscan.
Kim, Youngmi (2018) Mandalay, Myanmar: The remaking of a South-East Asian hub in a country at the crossroads, Cities - International Journal of Urban Studies, 72: 274-286.
Rao, V. (2012) Slum as Theory: Mega-Cities and Urban Models, In Cairns, S., Crysler, G., and Heymen, H. Eds., The Sage Handbook of Architectural Theory, New York: Sage Publication, 671-686.

Brenner, N. and Keil, R. Eds. (2006) The Global Cities Reader, London: Routledge.
Sassen, S. Ed. (2002) Global Networks, Linked Cities, London: Routledge.
UN-HABITAT. (2008) State of the World's Cities 2008/2009, Harmonious Cities, London: Earthscan.
Neuwirth, R. (2006) Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters, A New Urban World, New York: Routledge.
Bryson, J. and Wyckoff, W. (2010) Rural gentrification and nature in the Old and New Wests, Journal of Cultural Geography 27(1): 53-75.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills *Think critically and produce undergraduate-level work meeting deadlines.
*Work independently, seeking relevant advice and support when necessary.
*Explain, interpret, and use scholarly resources.
*Gain global perspectives on the subject.
*Engage with current critical issues and debates related to the topics.
*Work on digital product development with confidence.
Keywordsglobal cities,housing and land,city poverty and gentrification,migration,environment,sustainability
Course organiserDr Robert Winstanley-Chesters
Course secretaryMr Iain Harrison
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