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Individuals, Groups, and Urban Institutions


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA Urban Studies.


This course deals with how people’s behaviour and well-being in the urban context are influenced by physical, social and institutional factors. The course also deals with how people individually as well as collectively construct, structure and regulate their urban context.

The first part of the course focuses on the education of and care for children and on the professionals and institutions that provide education and care. Cities and conglomerations are contexts that create opportunities and liabilities for development, learning, and health. To stress the variability in processes, opportunities and liabilities between cities and conglomerates the course will draw examples from Accra in Ghana, Pune in India, and the ‘Randstad’ in the Netherlands (the conglomerate with Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht as main cities).

The second part of the course provides a representative overview of the behavioural sciences Psychology and Child Studies. It serves as an introduction to the main currents and themes including evolutionary, cognitive, clinical, social and developmental perspectives on human behaviour.

Course objectives

Students will be able to:

  • apply knowledge of the evolutionary, cognitive, clinical, social and developmental underpinnings of human behaviour to analyse and understand current phenomena in everyday life in urban contexts, leading to insights with respect to, for example, day and night cycles in living and working, communication, crowding and noise, mental health and intergroup phenomena.

  • express acquired knowledge and general understanding of the reciprocity between international, national and local aspects of socio-cultural urban issues orally and in writing.

  • express acquired knowledge and insights of developmental ecological theories (Bronfenbrenner’s bio-ecological model; Super & Harkness’ developmental niche model, and goodness of fit models such as Lerner’s person-context goodness of fit model orally and in writing.

  • apply some of the knowledge and insights to analyse, understand and comment on information provided about topics, such as, for example, the distinction between public and private schools, child labor, conditions for play and relaxation, growing up under cultural and religious diversity, alternatives for biological parents such as foster care and adoption, and what traffic does to parents and children.

  • apply and compare knowledge and understanding of at least two of the following themes within Urban Studies: health, diversity, identity, and safety.


The timetable is available on the BA Urban Studies website

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total course load is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), equal to 140 hours, devoted to:

  • Lectures: 26 hours

  • Work groups: 8 hours

  • Assignment(s): 20 hours

  • Exams (mid-term plus final): 6 hours

  • Literature: 80 hours

Assessment method

  • Written examination with closed questions (multiple choice) and short open questions
    4 written assigments, some of them to be orally presented in the work group


  • Work group assignments (average grade on 4 assignments, one assignment per work group)

  • Midterm assessment (multiple choice + short open questions) about the first part of the course, i.e. ca. 50% of the entire material of the course.

  • Final exam (multiple choice + short open questions) about the second half of the course, i.e., the remaining 50% of the entire material of the course.


  • 4 assignments (33%)

  • Midterm (33%)

  • Final exam (33%)


Students who fail the midterm or final exam are allowed to resit the exam.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Course information

  • Staff information

  • Lecture slides

  • Assignment information

Reading list

  • Book: Gray, P. & Bjorklund, D.F. (2018), Psychology (8th ed.). New York: Worth Publishers. ISBN-10: 1-319-15051-9 ISBN-13: 978-1-319-15051-8

Readings for the first part of the course as well as information to help students study Gray and Bjorklund’s book in the second part of the course will be made available through Blackboard. Also through Blackboard examples of exam questions and study questions on important topics that serve as starters for workgroup discussions will be provided. Finally, and also through Blackboard course regulations, such as detailed information on how the work group mark is calculated, and how it contributes to the final mark will be made available.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Lecturer first part of the course: Prof. Dr. P. Vedder

Overall course coordinators/Lecturers second part of the course: Dr. R. Sellaro Dr. R. de Kleijn


No remarks.