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Cursus: GEO2-3804
Economics of Cities
Cursus informatie
Studiepunten (ECTS)7,5
Categorie / Niveau2 (Bachelor Verdiepend)
CursustypeCursorisch onderwijs
Aangeboden doorFaculteit Geowetenschappen; Undergraduate School Geowetenschappen; B Sociale Geografie en Planologie;
Contactpersoondr. S.G. Petralia
Contactpersoon van de cursus
dr. S.G. Petralia
Overige cursussen docent
dr. M.J. Smit
Overige cursussen docent
M.P.A. Steijn, MSc
Overige cursussen docent
4-USE  (20-04-2020 t/m 26-06-2020)
TimeslotB: B (DI-ochtend, DO-middag, DO-namiddag)
Cursusinschrijving geopendvanaf 28-10-2019 08:00 t/m 24-11-2019 23:59
Inschrijven via OSIRISJa
Inschrijven voor bijvakkersJa
Na-inschrijving geopendvanaf 30-03-2020 08:00 t/m 31-03-2020 23:59
By the end of the course, students will be capable of:
  • understanding recent theories and empirical applications of urban economics and urban geography;
  • interpreting the economic evolution of cities as an expression of clustering, agglomeration and (international) network economies;
  • analyzing the different dimensions (‘faces’) of the modern urban economy, both quantitatively (using statistical data and GIS) and qualitatively (interviewing policy makers);
  • analyzing the localization of the economic specializations in cities, including the meaning of particular location factors;
  • investigating policy implications of the economic changes in cities.

Today, cities are in the limelight again as important economic nodes. The modern economy is predominantly an urban, service- and knowledge based economy. In this course students will be taught to recognize and explain the geographical variation in urban economic development.

The course deals with agglomeration and clustering of economic activities from both geographical and urban economics disciplinary perspectives, in relation to cluster and urban economic policy. The course explains the current innovative and knowledge economy of firms and policymaking in relation to urban competitiveness. The geographical discipline focuses on clusters, network formation and industry evolution using institutional theories in which the actor-approach of firms and governments is central. Urban economics traditionally focuses on the role of externalities and urban contexts as attractions for firm and population location decisions and the growth and innovation potentials of firms in a more quantitative sense. Both disciplines heavily lean on empirical research, using complementary research methods like case-study research, surveys, spatial econometrics and general equilibrium modelling. Those methods will be explained in the course in relation to current issues and empirical research on urban development. Much attention will also be given to regional and urban economic policy issues. The students will apply the theoretical and empirical insights from the lectures in an actual case study of urban policy in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

The course takes the interplay between the firm (as an actor) and its agglomerated (urban and regional) environment in relation to (spatial) policy as a starting point. An important stylized fact in this is that firms need other firms to optimize production and innovation processes, and that they thus are related to each other through external relationships in the context of specialization, supply and subcontracting processes, the labour market and/or inter-firm co-operation with a view to the effective development of new knowledge and innovations. By participating actively in this course, students learn to think critically on urban concepts and policy, and apply quantitative and qualitative research techniques in analysing urban economic development.

We look for explanations of urban economic development, creativity and innovation like amenities, infrastructure, and housing. All these facets of post-industrial urban economies are important targets in urban policy. This is expressed in e.g. the promotion of service business centres to an international status. In the race to attract new growth activities, many local authorities already have proclaimed their city as a `number one’ creative city, and policies have been put in place to foster an urban ‘climate’ conducive to the attraction of the creative class. Nevertheless there are significant spatial constraints in cities, forcing policy makers to make choices.

Je moet voldoen aan de volgende eisen
  • Ingeschreven voor één van de volgende opleidingen
    • Economics and Business Economics
    • Economie en bedrijfseconomie
    • Sociale geografie en planologie
Basic knowledge of regression analysis and statistics is warmly recommended. In case of doubt, feel free to contact the course coordinator.
Verplicht materiaal
Philip McCann (2013), "Modern Urban and Regional Economics"
Course Manual
Articles, listed in the course manual.
Aanbevolen materiaal
Quantitative data on urban development in the Netherlands, to be distributed via Blackboard.
Lectures and tutorials

The course comprises of lectures and tutorials. The lecture discusses urban/regional economic theories and theories of related disciplines, as well as the economic models used and their empirical applications. In the tutorials students present relevant articles, after which discussions are held. The tutorials also allow for interaction between the tutor and the students working on the case-study.

Policy advice

You write a research report in groups within the topic of economic development and policy in Utrecht. Through data analysis, policy documents and perhaps interviews with policy-makers or other agents involved you will put economic theories to work.

Policy visit / bike excursion

Policy-makers involved in the economic development of Utrecht will present their work and allow students to question them to obtain valuable information for their case-studies.

We explore the expanding core of Utrecht and the fringes of the city in a bike excursion.

Minimum cijfer-

Please note that the active participation of each individual during the tutorial sessions and the excursions will be included in the assessment.

Exam: 40%
Presentation in class (10%)
Interim (10%) and final research report: 40%

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