Ge 3030. 01: Urban Geography Spring 2011 Syllabus Dr. Patrick May

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GE 3030.01: Urban Geography Spring 2011 Syllabus Dr. Patrick May

MW 2:30 – 3:45; Memorial 010 Office: Rounds 209 / 535-2501

Office Hrs: MW 9 – 10 or by appt. Email:

The purpose of this course is to provide students the opportunity to investigate the patterns and processes relating to the development of cities in North America. Particular focus will be paid to the historical interaction between urban function and form and the influence it has on the cultural landscape of cities today.


Kunstler, James Howard. The Geography of Nowhere, Simon and Schuster, 1993.

Rybczynski, Witold. City Life, Simon and Schuster, 1995.

Jackson, Kenneth T. Crabgrass Frontier, Oxford University Press, 1985.

Hayden, Delores. Building Suburbia, Random House, 2003.

Additional readings will be distributed in class, put on reserve in Lamson, or distributed electronically.

COURSE EVALUATION: Final grades will be based on the following breakdown:

Exams (2 x 25%) 50%

City Portfolios (2 x 10%) 20%

Academic Reviews (2 x 10%) 20%

Homework//Quizzes/ Class Participation 10%

TOTAL 100%

Assigned Readings:

Students are required to read and study in advance all assigned readings which coincide with specific course content or topics listed in the course outline. Specific guiding questions, reading lists, and supplemental handouts will be provided most weeks throughout the semester. On occasion, students will be required to provide oral or written summaries of this reading in class.


Students will take the exams on the day and time designated. No make-up exams will be allowed without prior notice of a valid excused absence. ALL MAKE-UP EXAMS WILL BE SUBJECT TO A 10% PENALTY FOR EVERY CLASS PERIOD WHICH HAS PASSED. The exams may consist of various types of questions, including multiple-choice, short answer/identification, and short essay. Some portion of the exam may be assigned as a take-home exam.

City Portfolio: Profile and Analysis Project

Throughout the semester, students will be required to research and complete a collection of two (2) City Profiles. These profiles are designed to show your application of course concepts, describing the function and form of the city, present and past, to real-world examples. Cities will be chosen periodically throughout the semester from lists provided in class.

As part of this process, students are required to complete an ongoing Process Essay, briefly outlining the steps and direction of the research process, resources used, and final conclusions/questions drawn from the research. Periodic progress reports and drafts will also be required.
Academic Reviews

Students will be required to complete two Academic Reviews – 2-3 page essays summarizing reading on the field of Urban Geography or reviews of articles relating to specialized topics. These will provide opportunity to expand on questions raised in these profiles, and exhibit the ability to summarize and analyze outside reading on the topic. This review will be assessed on the ability of the student to apply concepts discussed in reading and class discussion, as well as the cohesive structure and style used in the summary and analysis.


Throughout the semester, brief homework essays or quizzes will be assigned in class. These assignments are generally discussed in class or due the following class period and will not be accepted late. The cumulative total of these assignments, along with attendance and participation in class discussions, account for 10% of you final grade, so they should all be taken very seriously.



Regular and prompt class attendance is expected from every student. Attendance will be recorded and will factor into the participation portion of your grade. If you anticipate missing a class due to a scheduling conflict, please notify me in advance so we can discuss any assignments. Students missing any portion of a class are responsible for all notes or assignments given in their absence. As attendance is recorded at the beginning of each class, it is the responsibility of each student to notify the instructor if you arrive late. You are allowed 2 unexcused absences – the equivalent of one week of class. An “excused” absence is determined solely by the professor but should include prior notification that you will not be attending on that day. After those 2, your homework / participation grade is reduced by 50% for each following absence (the equivalent of a full letter grade deduction). All work submitted late, whether excused or unexcused, is subject to a deduction in point total (10% per class period late, unless otherwise stated).

Communication is key to your success in this course. Regular and prompt attendance better assures that you are present to hear updates and changes to the course schedule, and provides you the benefit of your classmates analysis and questions.
If you participate in an organized activity on campus (sports, clubs) or have another anticipated field trip for another course that will cause absences, please NOTIFY ME DURING THE FIRST WEEK and try to provide those dates/schedules as early as possible.
Class Cancellation: In the unlikely event of PSU closing due to weather, it will be posted on the PSC Stormline (535-3535). If the college is open but I am unable to come to class, I will post it on my voice mail that morning (535-2501) and make every attempt to email you with advance notice.
Accommodations: Plymouth State University is committed to providing students with documented disabilities equal access to all university programs and facilities. If you think you have a disability requiring accommodations, you should immediately contact the PASS Office in Lamson Library (535-2270) to determine whether you are eligible for such accommodations. Academic accommodations will only be considered for students who have registered with the PASS Office. If you have a Letter of Accommodation for this course from the PASS Office, please provide the instructor with that information privately so that you and the instructor can review those accommodations.
- If you find yourself in need of a tutor, contact the PASS office and notify me so I may recommend a qualified student.

- Cell phones should be turned off during this class. Please DO NOT text message during this class. You will be asked to leave.

- Drinks are allowed in this classroom only with a sealed cap container. Food is prohibited. Please keep our classroom clean.
Email communication:

Some course assignments may be distributed and collected via email ONLY. A printed copy of an assignment does not substitute when an email is required. Likewise, WHEN AN ASSIGNMENT IS DUE IN CLASS, an email posted does not substitute for a printed copy. If you receive approval to submit an assignment via email instead, please be prepared to turn in a printed copy at the next class meeting.

Students are expected to use their PSU email account when communicating for this class. If you prefer to use another email account for some reason, please contact me about this. Please DO NOT send email to my account via the course Moodle page.
When sending email (assignment, question, or to set up an appointment), please include the course number and section and your name in the subject line. (e.g. Smith, 3030) Please do not send emails without a subject – my computer treats them as spam.

All of the above policies and the tentative schedule are subject to change at the discretion of the professor. Periodic updates to the course schedule will be distributed or announced in class.


Date: Content: Assessment: Reading assignment:
1. 1/30 – 2/1 Introduction to Urban Geography Kunstler, Ch 1

What is Urban? Why do we care? Urban Review 1 Assigned City Life, Ch. 1 2/6 Drop Add


2. 2/6 – 2/8 The evolution of cities – Planned vs. Organic City Life, Ch. 2

City Profile 1 Assigned

Urban Systems – economic and social foundations Kunstler, Ch 2-3

3. 2/13 Mercantile City and Pedestrian City Urban Review 1 Due Jackson, Ch.1-2

City Life, Ch. 3-4

4. 2/20 – 2/22 Nineteenth Century Urban Systems Jackson, Ch. 3-6 City Life, Ch. 3
5. 2/27 – 2/29 Mercantilism, Industrialism and Urban Form City Profile Draft 1 due
6. 3/5 – 3/7 Twentieth Century Urban Systems Jackson, Ch. 7-8 Modernism: Streetcar Suburbs, Commercialism, and Land Use Kunstler, Ch 4 - 5

7. 3/12 – 3/14 Mid-term wrap up and city presentations

City Profile 1 Presentations


SB 3/19 - 3/23 SPRING BREAK
8. 3/26 – 3/28 The Automobile Era: Divided Highways City Profile 2 Assigned Jackson, Ch. 9 - 10

Kunstler, Ch 6-7

9. 4/2 – 4/4 Post-War Suburbanization and Sprawl Urban Review 2 Assigned 4/8 Withdrawal

Residential Patterns, Segregation, and Change Kunstler, Ch 8-10 deadline

10. 4/9 – 4/11 Origins of Urban Planning, Urban Futures City Profile Draft 1 due Jackson, Ch 11 - 12

11. 4/16 – 4/18 Gentrification and Public Transportation Jackson, Ch. 14

Kunstler, Ch 13
12. 4/23 – 4/25 City Profile 2 Discussion Jackson, Ch 15-16
13. 4/30 – 5/2 Urbanization around the World Urban Review 2 Due


14. 5/7 – 5/9 Contemporary Urban Issues

Mon 5/14 2:30 – 5:00 a.m. FINAL EXAM

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