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Cities in the Global South (Level 6)


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor: Dr Mara Nogueira
  • Assessment: a class activity (20%), 1000-word blog entry (20%) and 3000-word essay (60%)

Module description

While the world’s population is rapidly urbanising, most of this growth is concentrated in cities in the Global South. Yet dominant urban theory, and our understanding of urban life, has been anchored in the experiences of cities in the Global North. In this module we aim to reverse this focus in search of new perspectives, methodologies and tools to allow you to understand the opportunities and challenges produced by an increasingly urbanised society.

We will draw on examples from cities in the Global South, including Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and Africa, to look at the ways in which urban space is produced, contested and governed in these regions. We will pay particular attention to the (re)production of socio-spatial inequality, thinking through issues of class, race and gender.

The module will provide you with an overview of current challenges faced by Global South cities, focusing in particular on the experiences of marginalised groups, and inviting you to imagine more socially just urban futures. It will give you the tools to re-think and re-examine cities everywhere.

Indicative syllabus

  • Introduction - an urbanising world: views from the South
  • Urbanisation from below
    • Urban informality: building cities from scratch
    • Insurgency and everyday politics of urban space production
    • Urban policy and governance in the Global South
  • Socio-spatial inequality
    • Elite urbanism and middle-class politics
    • Race and urban space
    • Gender and the city
  • Urban futures
    • Migration and mobility
    • Risk, security and the city
    • Climate change and resilient cities

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will:

  • understand the distinct context and key debates on urbanisation in the Global South
  • understand the ways in which cities in the Global South are a product of economic, environmental, social, cultural and political activity
  • be able to analyse key challenges facing cities and marginalised populations in the Global South
  • understand and recognise the main drivers of socio-spatial inequality in Global South cities, including class, race and gendered social relations
  • understand different forms of evidence in order to produce an empirically-grounded social science argument.