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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 work group format. During the work groups, 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.


The timetable is available on the Urban Studies website

Mode of instruction

  • Work group (compulsory attendance)
    This means that students have to attend every session of the course. If a student is unable to attend a workgroup, 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 workgroup without a valid reason, they can be excluded from the final exam in the course.

Course Load

Total course load is 10 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), which equals to 280 hours, broken down by:

  • Lectures: 24 hours

  • Literature: 70 hours (guideline: 7 pages per hour).

  • Assignments (including research and reading self identified literature): 156 hours.

  • Practical work (field study/city observations/walks): 30 hours

Assessment method


  • Book review
    -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
    -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.

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


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.

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.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • communicating with the students

  • the time schedule of the course

  • publishing the course manual

  • publishing additional literatures

  • publishing assignments

  • storing and making available course materials

  • making available and turning in assignments

  • announcements

  • all other information regarding the course

Reading list

  • Atkinson, R., & Millington, G. (2018). Urban Criminology: The City, Disorder, Harm and Social Control.

Supplementary articles/booksections will be listed on Blackboard.

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