CPT871: Housing in a Globalising World

School Cardiff School of Geography and Planning
Department Code GEOPL
Module Code CPT871
External Subject Code K450
Number of Credits 20
Level L7
Language of Delivery English
Module Leader Dr Craig Gurney
Semester Spring Semester
Academic Year 2017/8

How the module will be assessed

Students will be assessed through two mechanisms. The first is a formative piece of assessment where groups of students will be required to prepare a brief and informal presentation which describes, evaluates and makes recommendations for improvement for the housing policies of a country of their choice. The presentation will receive oral feedback. This should inform the group report which constitutes the summative assessment for this module. Both the presentation and the group report will require students to demonstrate they have met the learning outcomes of the module.

Group report

100% contribution

A group report critiquing and recommending improvements to the housing policies of a country of your choice.

3,000 words


Students are permitted to be reassessed should they fail the module. A student failing the module would be required to produce a 4,000 word individual report, rather than re-write their element of the group report. The reassessment will usually take place during the summer.

How the module will be delivered

This module will be delivered through three mechanisms:


  1. Lectures. Early lectures will introduce students to cross-cutting housing issues and concepts, whilst later lectures will explore the housing challenges and systems in particular countries and regions.
  2. Seminars. Seminars are included in the programme to enable students to focus on specific, emerging issues and concepts. Lectures inevitably provide a broad overview, whilst seminars offer the opportunity to think more critically about very specific cross-cutting issues and themes.
  3. Guest speaker presentations. Several sessions will be delivered by expert guest speakers. Guest speakers bring a depth of understanding either from practice or on a particular geographical region.   

Outline Description of Module

Housing plays an extremely important part in our lives: it meets the basic human need for shelter whilst also often offering an opportunity for wealth generation as a commodity to be bought and sold. This module critically examines housing systems and policies across the globe. It considers the major similarities and differences across Europe, North America, East Asia, Africa and Latin America. The module examines how the needs of different groups are met by the market (eg through private house building and renting), the state (eg through low cost housing provision) and by the actions of individuals (eg through informal house building and squatting). The module also takes a particular interest in responses to housing market failures and the global problem of homelessness. The module challenges students to think critically about housing policies and to draw upon experiences across the globe to develop better and more socially just solutions.

On completion of the module a student should be able to

  • explain the role of the state in different housing systems;
  • critically debate the individual and structural causes of housing problems in the developing and developed world;
  • critically examine the effectiveness of housing policies and systems across the globe; and
  • propose informed improvements in housing policies.

Skills that will be practised and developed

Whilst studying this module, students will practise and develop the following skills:

  • Analytical skills
  • Preparing and writing a professional report
  • Group working
  • Presentation of ideas
  • Responding to feedback

Assessment Breakdown

Type % Title Duration(hrs) Period Week
Written Assessment 100 Group Report N/A 1 N/A

Essential Reading and Resource List

Clapham, D. (2002) ‘Housing pathways: a postmodern analytical framework’, Housing, Theory and Society, vol 19, no 2, pp 57-68.

Drakakis-Smith, D. (2010) Urbanisation, housing and the development process, London: Taylor and Francis

Jenkins, P., Smith, H. And Ping-Wang, Y. (2007) Planning and Housing in the rapidly urbanising world, London: Routledge.

Kenna, P. (2012) Contemporary housing issues in a globalized world, Farnham: Ashgate.

Background Reading and Resource List

Journals are a key part of the academic literature. It is in journals that current research is published and many contemporary debates are played out. You should include journal articles in your reading. As well as targeting them for specific topics or articles, it is worth regularly looking at the latest volumes in order to get a sense of what is going on in the discipline. Many of these can be accessed on-line via the Cardiff University Library service. Key Housing and Development journals that you have access to as a member of Cardiff University include:

  • Housing Studies
  • Habitat International
  • International Journal of Housing Policy
  • Housing Policy Debate
  • Housing Theory and Society

Syllabus content

The module is split into two sections; the first introduces the different roles which housing plays and the second explores housing issues in a selection of countries/regions.

Section One

The first section of the module will begin by examining different forms of housing; from publicly funded social housing and illegal slum housing, to privately developed and owned properties. Having developed a good grasp of the significantly different uses and forms of housing across the globe, we will then consider the relationship between housing and globalisation; why is it that irresponsible lending in the US might result in the expansion of urban slums in Africa?  The module then focuses on those households who fall out of the housing market and face housing poverty and homelessness.

Section Two

The second section of the module will explore housing policies and practices in a diverse range of countries and regions, including; Europe, North America, East Asia, Africa and Latin America.

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