CPT888: Urban and Regional Dynamics

School Cardiff School of Geography and Planning
Department Code GEOPL
Module Code CPT888
External Subject Code K400
Number of Credits 20
Level L7
Language of Delivery English
Module Leader Dr Crispian Fuller
Semester Autumn Semester
Academic Year 2017/8

How the module will be assessed

The mode of assessment for this module consists of one written essay assignment, which accounts for 70% of the total module mark, and a group-based seminar presentation, accounting for 30% of the final mark.


70% contribution

2,800 words


Group-based seminar presentation

30% contribution

~25 minutes


The opportunity for reassessment in this module

Students are permitted to be reassessed (usually once) in a module which they have failed, in line with course regulations. The reassessment will usually take place during the summer.

How the module will be delivered

This module will be taught over one semester and is divided into topics, with each topic time-tabled for one week. Each topic has a one hour lecture session in which theoretical ideas, key concepts and debates are introduced, explained and illustrated. There will also be regular one hour seminar sessions or interactive workshops, in which students explore and discuss the application of these ideas through small group discussions. Finally, students will present a talk as part of the summative assessment.  Compulsory guided reading associated with each topic will be provided to supplement and deepen the taught component.

Outline Description of Module

This module explores the key concepts, thinkers and theories of uneven spatial development from the “classics” (Marx, Schumpeter, Myrdal, Hirschman etc) to contemporary perspectives (including new economic geography and evolutionary economic geography). The module addresses some of the most urgent questions in economic geography today. Why are some firms and places more creative, more dynamic and more innovative than others? Does globalization spell the “death of distance” and the “end of geography” as some theorist claim? Alternatively, is the clustering of economic activity a sign that geographical proximity (face-to-face contact) remains an important feature of knowledge exchange and trust-building despite the growth of distance-shrinking technologies like the internet? Drawing on these concepts and theories, the module examines the strategies of actual cities, regions and city-regions in the world economy to assess if these ideas help us to better understand why some places are more dynamic than others.

On completion of the module a student should be able to

  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of theoretical debates on contemporary urban and regional economic development t processes, and spatial patterns of uneven economic development
  • Understand and show the extent to which economic development is embedded in urban and regional social and cultural contexts
  • Critically evaluate the role of public policy in either fostering or frustrating innovation and economic development
  • Appreciate the scope for/barriers to urban and regional state action in fostering economic development and addressing economic decline

Skills that will be practised and developed


  • Possess a good knowledge of the key processes at play in the case study of urban and regional development.
  • Use theoretical propositions to guide the analysis of urban and regional economic development.
  • Read and understand advanced level theoretical economic development concepts.
  • Lead small group discussions, using theoretical ideas, policy issues and interpreting evidence.
  • Be able to mobilise theoretically-informed arguments and relate them to empirical material


  • handle conceptual and factual material through both oral and written forms;
  • write clearly and competently, and to make reflective comments upon topics learned;
  • use library, internet  and a virtual learning environment (Learning Central) effectively to extend the insights given in lectures;
  • participate in small group discussions and debate relevant theoretical, empirical and policy issues.



  • Be able to present empirical and theoretical material to convey a solid understanding of contemporary issues in urban and regional development.
  • Develop reasoned arguments, both orally and in written form, and demonstrate the ability to critically assess and evaluate evidence and claims;
  • understand that markets create wealth and can redistribute resources progressively (particularly over time) as well as generating social costs and increasing inequality;
  • understand how different viewpoints and ideologies can influence both theoretical and empirical analyses of the geography of economic activity.

Assessment Breakdown

Type % Title Duration(hrs) Period Week
Presentation 30 Group-Based Seminar Presentation N/A 1 N/A
Written Assessment 70 Essay N/A 1 N/A

Essential Reading and Resource List

Coe, N et al (2007) Economic Geography: A Contemporary Introduction, Blackwell

Mackinnon, D. and Cumbers, A. (2014) An Introduction to Economic Geography: Globalization, Uneven Development and Place, Second Edition; Prentice Hall: London.

Pike, A., Rodriguez-Pose, A. and Tomaney, J. (eds) (2010) The Handbook of Local and Regional Development, Routledge

Background Reading and Resource List

Cooke, P (ed) (2013) Reframing Regional Development: Evolution, Innovation, Transition, Routledge

Glaeser, E (2011) Triumph of the City, Macmillan

Huggins, R and Izushi, H (2007) Competing for Knowledge: Creating, Connecting and Growing, Routledge

Huggins, R. and Thompson, P. (2017) Handbook of Regions and Competitiveness Contemporary Theories and Perspectives on Economic Development.  Elgar.

McCann, P (2016) The UK Regional–National Economic Problem Geography, globalisation and governance. Routledge

Syllabus content

The module pre-supposes that students have no prior understanding of theories of innovation, economic geography and uneven spatial development. As a result the module starts with the classic texts on economic development from the 19th and 20th centuries, beginning with Marx and Schumpeter, covering Myrdal and Hirschman and including contemporary texts on the new economic geography and evolutionary economic geography. Following these conceptual foundations, the module moves on to consider various critical elements of urban and regional economic development (e.g. innovation and proximity), before examining actual case studies on urban and regional economic development and decline. Classical theories of uneven spatial development

Spaces of urban economic growth: Proximity, specialisation & related variety

Cultural economies: intangible assets & cognitive capitalism

Regions & global production networks

Spaces of economic decline

Place-based innovation strategies

Case studies of urban & regional renewal

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