Module Identifier GG37420  
Module Title NATURE AND THE METROPOLIS  
Academic Year 2004/2005  
Co-ordinator Dr Mark J Whitehead  
Semester Semester 1  
Course delivery Lecture   20 Hours 10 x 2 hrs  
Assessment
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours unseen examination paper consisting of two sections (section 1: short answer questions; section 2: extended essay). Answer three questions from first section (out of six) and one question from second section (out of three)50%
Semester Assessment A coursework essay of 2,500 words. Standard IGES policy on the late submission of work will apply to the coursework essay. All elements of the assessment must be completed to obtain a pass mark based on the weighted aggregate performance.40%
Semester Assessment Contributions to e-mail discussion forum.10%
Supplementary Exam Resit due to aggregate failure or non-completion of part of the assessment requires re-examination of each component if marks of <40% in both were obtained, or re-examination of re-submission of the failed component (examination of assignment(s) to obtain a maximum mark of 40% for the module). Resit due to failure or non-completion of contributions to e-mail discussion forum will involve the submission of a 1000 word short essay responding to archived discussion on the e-mail forum. 

Learning outcomes

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

  1. Describe and evaluate key theories of nature and political ecology.
  2. Display a clear and precise knowledge of key urban theorists and their work.
  3. Describe and evaluate the historical co-evolution of metropolitan society and second nature.
  4. Use a range of web based resources with specific relevance to issues of urban development and nature.
  5. Critically read and analyze accounts of urban social and ecological problems presented in the contemporary media.
  6. Engage in written debates and discussions relating to issues of urban geography and nature.

Aims

The aims of this module are threefold: 1) to provide students with a detailed knowledge of different theoretical and empirical readings of nature; 2) to introduce students to a range of contemporary theories of metropolitan society and urban development; and 3) to explore the relationship between nature and the city as it has been expressed within the diverse fields of planning, architecture, risk management and environmental protest. By focusing analysis on a series of key urban case studies this module provides students with readily accessible examples through which they can explore the varied ways in which the urban and the natural combine. Ultimately this module will offer students an account of how changing social understandings and utilizations of nature are tied into the multifarious processes of urbanization, and how in turn changing patterns of metropolitan development and urban reform have been influenced by social attitudes towards the natural world.

Brief description

There appears to be a curious tension between nature and the city. On the one hand visions of nature and ecological values have been central to the ideologies which have supported many of the celebrated urban movements of the twentieth and preceding centuries. At one and the same time, however, urbanization and the urban have been posited as the antithesis of the nature-based, Arcadian orthodoxies of environmentalism. The main aims of this module are threefold: firstly to provide students with a detailed knowledge of different theoretical and empirical readings of nature; secondly, to introduce students to a range of contemporary theories of metropolitan society and urban development; thirdly to explore the relationship between nature and the city as it has been expressed within the diverse fields of planning, architecture, risk management and environmental protest.

Content

Lecture Themes:
a. The relationship between nature and the metropolis:
Lecture 1. Urban metabolisms and the 'external' natures of the city.
Lecture 2. Henri Lefebvre, everyday life and the 'internal' natures of the city.

b. Nature and the production of urban knowledge.
Lecture 3. Social reform and the industrial city - a biography of London.
Lecture 4. Social ecology and modelling the city - the Chicago School.
Lecture 5. Re-thinking nature - re-thinking the city: reflections on the hybrid city.

c. Dreaming the city - making the city.
Lecture 6. Urban planning and the ideal of nature - the garden in the city.
Lecture 7. Nature, architecture and design in the city - the story of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Lecture 8. New urban habitats? Ecology and the city of the future.

d. Nature's metropolis? Critical reflections on the urban environment.
Lecture 9. Ecologies of fear and cities of risk - the case of Los Angeles.
Lecture 10. Urbanization and the politics of ecological resistance - the environmental justice movement.

Reading Lists

Books
** Consult For Futher Information
Davis, M (1999) Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster London: Picador 0-330-37655-1
Harvey, D (2000) Spaces of Hope Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press 0-7486-1268-8
Harvey, D (1996) Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference Oxford: Blackwell 1557866813
Pepper, D (1993) Eco-socialism: from deep ecology to social justice London: Routledge 0415097193
Smith, N (1984) Uneven development: nature, capital and the production of Space Oxford: Basil Blackwell 0631136851
Braun, B. and Castree N. (eds) (1999) Remaking Reality: Nature at the Millenium London: Routledge 0415144949
Cronon, W (1991) Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West London: W.W. Norton 0-393-30873-1

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 6