90041 - Urban Geography (1) (LM)

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Docente: Matteo Proto
  • Credits: 6
  • SSD: M-GGR/01
  • Language: Italian

Learning outcomes

The student develops a full comprehension about cities evolution and the dynamics of urban centralisation and decentralisation. He/she understands the functioning of the European urban systems and the relation between national and European dimension. Moreover, students acquire theoretical aspects and methodologies - also related to field research - regarding urban territorial processes. They also know and understand different phenomena related to urban space social construction and to the latest transformations that characterise city structure and its social component.

Course contents

The course is comprises two parts. The first part provides a theoretical introduction to socio-historical research in the field of urban geography, with a specific focus on European cities. The course firstly presents the most relevant theoretical paradigms related to research in urban studies. It provides a critical geo-historical analysis of urban evolution and of the socio-spatial dimension of the European city since ancient time to the present.

The second part is dedicated to contemporary city and it introduces to sources and methodologies to investigate urban space. Related topics are: the right to the city in the neoliberal context, spatial justice and the city, social inequalities, urban regeneration, gentrification and touristification in contemporary cities, biopolitics and governamentality



For attending students there will be one text to read, in addition to other shorter readings that will be indicated in class and available on could sharing platform Virtuale. Further information and the login password will be indicated at the beginning of the course.


For the preparation of their exam, non-attending students are required to study the following books:

1) Soja E., Dopo la metropoli, Patron 2008

2) Sassen S., Le città nell'economia globale, Il Mulino, 2010

3) Choose one book between:

- Schlögel K., Arcipelago Europa. Viaggio nello spirito delle città, Bruno Mondadori, 2011

- Castells M., La città delle reti, Marsilio, 2004

- Amin A., Thrift N., Ripensare la dimensione urbana, Il Mulino, 2005

Power point presentations and bibliography on cloud sharing platform Virtuale is related to attending students programme.

Teaching methods

The course is organized with lectures and seminars where the students participate at least as actively as the teacher. In the first lesson the lecturer gives information about bibliography and other teaching tools and instruments, which students have to analyse. Books, journal articles, maps, etc. become subject for the debate in the following lessons.

Attending students should therefore regularly be present at the course, at least more than 75% of the lessons.

The course provides for lectures as well as seminars with debate and discussion. Text reading is expected (books, journal articles, book chapters) and these bibliographical sources are commented and analyzed during the lessons. During the course is provided also field research.

By reason of the teaching methods, registration of the lectures is not provided nor authorized 

Assessment methods

Attending students have to elaborate an original paper related to a research topic. The final evaluation is also based on two written tests (the first midterm, the second at the end of the course) with one question focussed on the materials discussed in class and on the relevant list of readings.

For non attending students the assessment consists of a written exam with three open questions, focussed on topics and subjects treated in the textbook and the other readings. The examination (one and half hour) takes place in a computer science laboratory, using the online platform EOL. To attend the exam, students' personal password is required to get access to computers and online platform.

The assessment will consider:

1) the level of knowledge and critical understanding of the content addressed in the questions;

2) the strength of the argument and the capacity to identify links between the main topics discussed in the responses;

3) the use of the appropriate terminology.

I will assess with excellence grades the evidence of your acquisition of an exhaustive view of all the themes addressed and the capacity of dealing critically with them, in addition to the mobilization of a good written expression and correct use of specific terminology.

A mnemonic knowledge of the themes, accompanied by the capacity of analysis and synthesis expressed in appropriate language, will lead to average/good grades.

Lacunas in the key contents, and/or inappropriate language, in the context of a basic knowledge of the course's themes, will lead to grades that will not exceed the pass-mark (18 or so).

Lacunas, inappropriate language, lack of understanding of the course's materials will be assessed negatively. In case of fail grade, you will need to repeat the exam.

For attending students, active participation in class with questions and critical remarks will be appreciated.

Teaching tools

Power point presentations and bibliography on cloud sharing platform Virtuale is related to attending students programme.

Power point presentations


Cloud sharing platform

Office hours

See the website of Matteo Proto


No poverty Decent work and economic growth Sustainable cities

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.