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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 04/07/2022 11:40:11

Title of Module: Making Sustainable Cities

Code: SOCY10017 SCQF Level: 10
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Education & Social Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:G  Rice

Summary of Module

With over half of the global population living in cities, we have become an increasingly urbanised species. As "restless urban landscapes" (Knox, 1991), cities have always been humankind's laboratories, at the forefront of change. However, in an age of pronounced spatial inequalities, how can we make cities more sustainable and inclusive for future generations? This module will explore the social, economic and environmental tensions that act as drivers of urban change, always asking "who benefits?" We will investigate how global and local processes and policies shape our cities and how, in turn, we are shaped by them. To gain a more holistic understanding of the ways in which different social groups manage and experience urban change, the first part of the module will draw on key urban theorists, raising questions about city revival, growth and competitiveness, suburbanization, social exclusion and displacement and community as a potential source of betterment.

Following this, evidence from paradigmatic cities and case studies will add empirical weight to our understanding of how different histories, geographies and economies are socially constructed to make diverse contemporary cities. As well as equipping students with a practical toolkit of concepts, skills and strategies for analysing some of society's most pressing policy issues, this module is designed to support the skills required for delivering a successful Honours dissertation and develop a sharp awareness of different parts of the world, appreciating how and why cities can evolve to become places of hope - or of despair. 

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1check markTerm 2


Term 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the city and its place in the social sciences.

L2. Evaluate theoretical perspectives on experiences of city life and city living.

L3. Exhibit the ability to critically analyze urban problems, ask research questions, understand methods, and conduct research.

L4. Synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement in the subjective experience of city life, demonstrating the ability to self-critically evaluate own learning experience.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 10.

Demonstrating a broad and integrated knowledge and understanding of theoretical approaches to the study and understanding of city life.

Demonstrate a critical understanding of a selection of principles, theories and concepts which relate to central aspects of the city

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 10.

Using a range of principle analytical skills and practices associated with the social sciences through a critical evaluation of the city and city life.

Effectively and fluently communicating a range of complex ideas and concepts through the engagement with theoretical understandings of city life.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 10.

Developing reasoned argument, synthesising relevant information and exercising critical judgement in the subjective experience of city life, demonstrating the ability to self-critically evaluate own learning experience.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 10.

Communicating complex theories, perspectives and ideas effectively and fluently, both orally and in writing through the assessment mechanisms

Making effective use of information retrieval systems and using information technology applications to present documents in an appropriate form.

Communicating complex arguments visually through the medium of electronic presentation.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 10.

Exercising autonomy and initiative while developing capacity for independent work.

Developing and extending the capacity to work with others through group interaction in seminars.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
Staff/student face-to-face contact will take place primarily through lectures and seminars. Lectures will examine key theories and issues central to the study of city life from the perspective of the social sciences. Seminars will be focused on engaging students in the discussion of the theories and issues covered in the lectures and on the development of key competencies related to the learning experience. A central focus of the learning, teaching and assessment approach on the module lies in developing learners’ understanding of the processes of learning, engaging them in the development of the information, communication and digital literacies and skills that will support them not only as undergraduate students but as lifelong learners. To further support this, there will be an explicit engagement with personal development planning and reflective practice.

This module will support the acquisition and development of graduate attributes including employability, lifelong learning and citizenship competencies by:

1) Surfacing assessment-employability linkages to ensure the skills and competencies learners are developing are made explicit and allowing learners to evidence the development of these skills and competencies;

2) Supporting learners in the development of digital literacies through, for example, the use of online research engines and electronic tools. Learners will be given the opportunity to demonstrate their digital skills and competencies and develop their understanding of ‘digital influence’;

3) Providing learners with the opportunity to work with peers in order to develop leadership and negotiation skills and support the development of diversity awareness and interpersonal sensitivity;

4) Supporting learners in the development of self-reflection and evaluation skills and competencies through the explicit focus on personal development planning and the production of a reflective portfolio.

The assessment structure on this module is designed to explicitly support learners in the development of the competencies identified below:

Assessment 1 - Competencies developed
Cognitive - Arguing
Generic - Expressing
Personal development - Commitment

Assessment 2 Competencies developed
Cognitive - Evaluation
Generic - Planning
Personal development/citizenship - Motivation / inclusivity
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery20
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity10
Asynchronous Class Activity6
Independent Study164
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Bridge, G. & S. Watson. 2010. The Blackwell City Reader. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell.

Frisby, D. 2001. Cityscapes of Modernity. Cambridge: Polity.

Harvey, D. (2012) Rebel Cities: From the right to the city to the urban revolution. London: Verso.

Massey, D. (2005) For Space. London: Sage.

Soja, E. (1995) Thirdspace: Journeys to Los Angeles and other real-and-imagined places. Oxford: Blackwell.

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
All fulltime students (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries) are required to attend all scheduled classes and participate with all delivered elements of the module as part of their engagement with their programme of study. Consideration will be given to students who have protection under the appropriate equality law. Please refer to UWS Regulations, Chapter 1, 1.64 – 1.67, available at the following link:

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardSocial Sciences
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelUG Social Sciences - Sociology & Social Policy
ModeratorJ Clark
External ExaminerR Ryder
Accreditation Details
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Written work - part one (40%)
Written work - part two (60%)
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Review/ Article/ Critique/ Papercheck markcheck mark  400

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Report of practical/ field/ clinical work  check markcheck mark600
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using Moodle, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries). The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. The University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy can be accessed at the following link:

Our partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies.

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.