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Urban Economics and Planning


Admission requirements

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


The purpose of this course is to teach some fundamentals of economics as it pertains to the urban milieu. The course begins with a few weeks’ introduction to the institutional and physical components of the modern urban economy, and then goes on to discuss some of the key topics in urban economics and urban economic planning, that is to say, theory of how firms are structured and organized, the role played by physical nodes and networks (‘central place theory’), labour markets, and the movement of goods and capital across urban borders; the course finishes with a more topic-specific look at the economics of urban planning, transportation, housing, education, and other urban issues.

Course objectives

Via the medium of exams, a paper, and class participation, students are expected to develop the following skills:

  • A general orientation of the topic of urban economics, as it relates to other fields of urban studies

  • A fundamental understanding of some basic theories and problems in economics, particularly as they relate to the urban milieu

Students will then be expected to apply their knowledge gained from the textbook and via their own secondary research, to craft an essay and participate in class dicsussions. In the process, students will be expected to uphold standard scientific mentality and develop more familiarity with the scientific method as it applies to this field. Writing skills, and verbal communication skills, will be improved via the paper and class discussion. Workgroups will expose students to pertinent scholarly secondary literature, with the aim of improving reading, comprehension, and critical reading skills of semi-technical literature.


The timetable is available on the Urban Studies website

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Work group (compulsory attendance)
    This means that students have to attend every work group 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 for this course is 5 EC (1 EC equals 28 hours), which equals 140 hours, broken down by:

  • Attending lectures: 26

  • Attending work groups: 8

  • Assessment hours (exams): 4

  • Study of compulsory literature: 46

  • Completing assignment(s), preparing for classes and exams: 56

Assessment method


  • Midterm exam
    Written examination with essay questions

  • Final exam
    Written examination with essay questions

  • Essay(s)

  • Oral presentations


Partial grade Weighing
Work group: Oral presentation(s) and essay(s) 30
Midterm Exam 30
Final Exam 40

End grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note of the following:

  • The end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of work group grade, midterm exam grade and final exam grade.

  • The weighted average of the midterm exam grade and the final exam grade needs to be 5.50 or higher.

  • This means that failing exam grades cannot be compensated with a high work group grade.


If the end grade is insufficient (lower than a 6.0), or one of the exam grades is lower than 5.50, there is a possibility of retaking the written examination material, replacing the previous exam grade(s). No resit for the work group is possible.

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.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • The time schedule of the course

  • The reading list

  • Powerpoints of the lectures

  • Announcements

  • All other information regarding the course

Reading list

Required: Arthur O’Sullivan, Urban Economics, 8th Edition

Additional Reading:
Nancy Brooks, Kieran Donaghy, and Gerrit-Jan Knaap (eds). The Oxford Handbook of Urban Economics and Planning

In addition, some articles will be assigned for workgroups.


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

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. J. Fynn-Paul
Dr. F. Meissner