Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Urban Risk and Environmental Resilience
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 9 x 2hr lectures
Practical 1 x 2hr poster presentation session
Practical 10 hours fieldwork


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Urban Environmental Risk and Resilience Theory Essay (2,500)  30%
Semester Assessment Policy Analysis and Application Essay (2,500)  30%
Semester Assessment Poster-Based Presentation [applying insights gained from theoretical and policy essays to case study cities]. Lecture capture technology (Panopto) will be used to record the oral delivery and PowerPoint slides associated with the presentation to allow for moderation of marks. (75% Poster assessment, 25% for presentation)  40%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmission of failed assessments. For poster-based assessment a poster and script of presentation should be resubmitted. 

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Describe and critically evaluate theories of urban environmental risk and resilience (addressed in Sections 1, 2 and 3)

Specify clearly the economic and political processes that have given rise to the geographical spread and expansion of modern cities (addressed in Section 2).

Exemplify the affects that contemporary patterns of urban development are having on metropolitan food, water, climatic, and ecological resilience (addressed in Section 3)

Describe and critically evaluate the policies that specific case study cities are developing in order to generate enhanced forms of urban social and ecological resilience (addressed in Section 3).

Show in their written assignments and poster-based presentations the development of transferable skills related to: the reading, analysis and application of academic source material in to an argument in a written form (Essay Assignment 1); the interpretation and evaluation of specified policy initiatives in a written form (Essay Assignment 2); and the ability to convey analyses of urban environmental risk and resilience through oral and visual media (Poster-Presentation, Assignment 3).

Brief description

This module introduces students to the connections that exist between urbanization and range of environmental risks. Focusing on the connections between cities and their supply of water, air, land, food and energy, this module considers how contemporary patterns of urban sprawl and spatially expansive development not only threaten local environmental systems, but also climatic and hydrological processes at larger geographical scales. Drawing on case study cities from around the world, this module enables students to critically analyze the various urban policies that have been put in place to militate against ecological risk and encourage metropolitan resilience.


Section 1: Introduction.
Week 1: Introduction: Risk and Resilience in the City

Section 2: New models of urban development and their environmental consequences.
Week 2: The Birth and Death of the Urban Growth Machine.
Week 3: Desert Urbanism: Learning from Las Vegas and Dubai.

Section 3: Key themes in contemporary urban risk and resilience.
Week 4: Food production, supply and hunger in the city.
Week 5: Powering the City: Metropolitan Energy Insecurity.
Week 6: Cool Cities and Hot Urbanisms: Air Pollution and Climate Change.
Week 7: Critical Perspectives on the Hydrological City.
Week 8: Boomburgs and Edge Ecologies: The Ecological Consequences of Urban Spatial Expansion.
Week 9: Disastrous cities: Geological Risk and Seismic Urbanism.
Week 10: Poster-Based Presentation Sessions.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Developed through analysis of key UN data sets on urban risk and development.
Communication Developed in a written from through the two essay assignments. Developed in a visual and oral form through the poster-based presentation
Improving own Learning and Performance The assessment for this module has been deliberately devised to provide iterative steps for students in the development of their learning performance. The summative feedback that the students receive on urban environmental theory (assignment 1), and policy analysis (assignment 2), will each enable reflection ahead of the final assignment, which expects students to apply the insights gained from the module in to case study contexts.
Information Technology Word-processing packages (MS Word) in completion of written work. Use of extensive United Nation¿s Electronic Catalogue of Urban Risk and Sustainability policy documentation. Use of computer graphics technology and Microsoft Excel in production of poster.
Personal Development and Career planning Careers development will be addressed explicitly through the policy analysis essay and poster-based presentation, when students will be expected to adopt the persona of an urban planning officer [careers advice will also be offered as part of the assessment of the poster-based presentation by a representative form local council]. Development of transferable ICT and research skills.
Problem solving Developed explicitly through policy-based essay and poster-presentation. In these assignments students are expected to critically assess the environmental risks being faced by different cities and propose modifications to existing policy frameworks.
Research skills Students are expected to research and synthesize a range of academic and policy source material in the completion of each of the three assignments outlined above. In the Policy Analysis and Application essay students will be expected to carry out significant amounts of independent research to develop an effective analysis of the efficacy of policy frameworks in a range of different case study settings.
Subject Specific Skills Geographical case study analysis of specific cities Thinking through the connections between urban political and economic systems and environmental processes.
Team work This skill will be explicitly developed through the poster-based presentation within which students will work in small groups (approximately 5) to produce a poster and oral presentation.

Reading List

Essential Reading
Beck, U. (1992) The Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity Sage: London Primo search Davis, M. (2002) Dead Cities The New Press: New York Primo search Davis, M. (1999) Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster Picador: London Primo search Desfor, D. and Keil, R. (2004) Nature and the City: Making Environmental Policy in Toronto and Los Angeles University of Arizona Press: Arizona Primo search Gandy, M. (2002) Concrete and Clay: Remaking Nature in New York City MIT Press: Massachusetts Primo search Heynen, N Kaika, M and Swyngedouw, E eds (2006) In the Nature of Cities Routledge:London Primo search Kaika, M. (2005) City of Flows: Modernity, Nature and the City Routledge:London Primo search (2007) Global Report on Human Settlements: Enhancing Urban Safety and Security (UN). United Nations Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6