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Unit of study_

GEOS2123: The Geography of Cities and Regions

Semester 1, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

How can we understand the ways that cities and regions change over time, and how these processes shape people's lives? This Unit of Study provides conceptual and practical material for exploring these questions. A program of lectures and tutorials in complemented by close study of Sydney, using GIS (census and satellite imagery) and a series of walking tours to different parts of the city. Assessment is tailored to projects in which students are required to integrate conceptual ideas about cities and regions with GIS mapping and field observations.

Unit details and rules

Unit code GEOS2123
Academic unit Geosciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
6 credit points of first year Geosciences units.
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Kurt Iveson,
Lecturer(s) Naama Blatman-Thomas,
Tutor(s) Pratichi Chatterjee,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam Final Exam
48-hour take home essay-based exam covering key concepts
30% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4 LO3
Presentation Blog Entry Presentation
In class presentation of selected blog entry
5% Multiple weeks 3-5 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment Research essay
Answer question on key concepts set during semester
30% Week 09
Due date: 28 Apr 2020 at 17:00
2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4 LO3
Assignment Urban Journal
Integrating analytical concepts with media and personal observations
25% Week 13
Due date: 29 May 2020 at 17:00
1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Participation Tutorial attendance
Attendance in online tutorials
5% Weekly n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5
Assignment Weekly Blog
Observation, media clipping, fictional piece or artwork, and reflection
5% Weekly 200-300 words per blog
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO5

Assessment summary

  • Tutorial attendance: It is expected that students attend tutorials, participate in discussions, and undertake the required reading before each tutorial class. If you attend all tutorials, you will receive 5 out of 5 for this assessment component.
  • Research essay: Students are required to build on the Unit’s material to write a long-form 2000 word answer to questions set during semester.
  • Urban Jornal: The purpose of the urban journal is to learn the importance of media and personal observation for urban and regional geography. The question set for your field trip assignment focuses on the relationship between ‘observation’ and ‘interpretation’ – this will be discussed in greater depth in the preparatory materials provided during semester. The Blog assignment (see below) will help you develop your observation skills in preparation for the Urban Journal Report.
  • Blog assignment: Each student will write a blog entry in the week following each lecture, related to the topic that was covered in
    the lecture. While we may comment on these blogs, we will not be assessing their content. If you write a blog for each lecture topic, you will receive 5 out of 5 for this assessment.
  • Blog entry presentation: Each student will present ONE of their blog entries in a tutorial during semester. Weeks will be randomly
    allocated, so that each student does one presentation during semester.
  • Final exam: The exam will test knowledge and understanding of key concepts and examples discussed during semester in lectures and tutorials.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Meets and surpasses ‘Distinction’ expectations, and which ‘shine out’ because of their innovative, high quality analytical abilities. It would usually be expected that less than 5% of students fall into this grade.


75 - 84

Meets ‘Credit’ expectations but builds on these with high-level interpretative abilities, superior written or verbal expression and wider referencing (appropriate to the task). Approximately 10-15% of students may be expected to fall into this grade.


65 - 74

Meets ‘Pass’ expectations and displays elevated abilities to interpret ideas and present arguments. Approximately 30-35% of students would be expected to fall into this grade.


50 - 64

Displays ability to present material which shows an understanding of ideas, a capacity to develop arguments and to cite these appropriately. Approximately 60-65% of students may be expected to fall into this grade.


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

5% per day without Special Consideration

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction: Cities - A Multidimensional Perspective Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 02 Colonisation Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 03 Globalisation Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 04 Informalisation Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 05 Financialisation Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 06 Dwelling Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 07 Policing Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 08 Contesting Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 09 Commuting Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 10 Remembering Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 11 Reading the Landscape Fieldtrip Field trip (8 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5
Week 13 Conclusion: Cities and Urbanisation Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5

Attendance and class requirements

Due to the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, attendance requirements for this unit of study have been amended. Where online tutorials/workshops/virtual laboratories have been scheduled, students should make every effort to attend and participate at the scheduled time. Penalties will not be applied if technical issues, etc. prevent attendance at a specific online class. In that case, students should discuss the problem with the coordinator, and attend another session, if available.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

There is no text book, weekly readings for tutorials will be available via eReserve on Canvas, further readings will be listed in lecture slides.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. explain the meaning and contextual usage of key terms used by human geographers (and other social scientists) in the analysis of urban and regional processes
  • LO2. use field observation as a method for analysing urban landscapes
  • LO3. undertake academic literature searches and be aware of the conventions relating to academic literature
  • LO4. undertake problem-solving research into urban and regional issues
  • LO5. appraise issues relating to contemporary urban and regional debates.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

GIS practical has been removed this year, and new lectures added to cover extra topics.

Every student should ensure that they consult the Unit of Study Outline document, and specific assessment instructions, that are available on the Canvas page for this Unit.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.