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Crime, Criminalisation and the Right to the City


Admission requirements

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


The elective Crime, Criminalisation and the Right to the City builds on the introductory knowledge acquired during the course The Safe City Lecture Series. Safety and security are increasingly recognized as essential elements to the (economic) functioning of cities, as well as citizen/personal well-being. For these reasons, city officials are inclined to secure their cities from crime and prevent their citizens from feeling unsafe. One result is that an increasing number of practices in city spaces (and society more generally) are approached as matters of, and threats to, safety and security and are ‘criminalized’ through intensified surveillance and policing. During this course we will critically examine social control and governance of crime and safety in urban areas. Beyond the possible crime reduction benefits that surveillance and policing practices may achieve, this course is also and explicitly concerned with questions of legitimacy, fairness and (in)equality related to these practices. During the course you will study, situate, discuss and evaluate the crime reduction effects that various surveillance and policing strategies realise, and place these in relation to citizens’ principal right to the city. This right entails a city for all to use (public space) and the right to think about and participate in (social) change taking place in the city. In a nutshell, then, the current course discusses the (sometime ambiguous) balance between citizens’ ‘right to protection and/or safety’ and citizens’ ‘right to the city’.

The course, and the topics introduced above, are taught using a tutorial format. During the tutorials, which can have a short plenary introduction, students apply acquired knowledge by working on assignments, doing city walks/observations, engaging in group discussions, etc. in an interactive setting.

This is the Safe City Thematic Elective.

Course objectives

General learning outcomes

See tab Additional information for the overview of the programme's general learning outcomes. In the assessment methods below is outlined which general learning outcome will be tested through which method.

Course objectives, pertaining to this course

    1. Identify and reproduce key questions, topics, concepts and theories, part of the urban criminological field of study, relating to crime and safety, surveillance and policing, and social and spatial justice.
    1. Recognise and apply key questions, topics, concepts and theories, part of the urban criminological field of study, in an actual city context.
    1. Critically evaluate (intended and unintended) consequences of surveillance and policing practices in urban areas.
    1. Identify and critically evaluate recent scientific urban criminology literature and apply key insights from these resources in course assignments.
    1. Plan and schedule his/her study: organise and use relatively large amounts of information.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Tutorial (compulsory attendance)
    This means that students have to attend every tutorial session of the course. If a student is unable to attend a tutorial or lecture, they should inform the lecturer in advance, providing a valid reason for absence. The teacher will determine if and how the missed session can be compensated by an additional assignment. If they are absent from a tutorial without a valid reason, they can be excluded from the final exam in the course.

Assessment method


  • Book review (1500-2500 words)
    -measured programme's general learning outcomes: 1, 4-6, 11, 13-14, 17 19-20, 23-26
    -measured course specific objectives: 1-5

  • Photo essay (1000-1500 words)
    -measured programme's general learning outcomes: 1, 4-6, 8, 10-11, 13-14, 16-17, 19-21, 26
    -measured course specific objectives: 1-5

  • Student film/documentary
    -measured programme's general learning outcomes: 1, 4-6, 11, 13-14, 17 19-20, 23-26
    -measured course specific objectives: 1-5


Partial grade Weighing
Book review 40
Photo essay 30
Student film/documentary 30

End grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note that the end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of all assessment components.


Students who have been active participants in class and submitted their assignments on time, but scored an overall insuffient mark, are entitled to a resit. For the resit, the students are given a chance to hand in a new version of their failed assignments. The deadline for resubmission is to be consulted with the lecturer.

Faculty regulations concerning participation in resits are listed in article 4.1 of the Faculty Course and Examination Regulations.

Inspection and feedback

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 organised.

Reading list

The handbook that is used in this course will be communicated at least 2 weeks before the course commences. Supplementary articles/booksections will be listed on Brightspace.

During the course, students will also have to self identify, read and critically evaluate additional (secondary) literature and apply key insights from these resources in their assignments.


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

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. Jelle Brands Dr. E. van Ginneken


Passing this course is an entry requirement for the thesis.