Skip to main content
Unit of study_

GEOS2123: The Geography of Cities and Regions

Semester 1, 2023 [Normal day] - Remote

This unit provides students with the conceptual frameworks and practical skills to understand and analyse processes of urbanisation in contemporary cities, in all their diversity and dynamism. The Unit has three main components. The first set of lectures considers some the key urbanisation processes shaping cities today, including colonisation, globalisation, informalisation and financialisation. The second set of lectures considers a range of everyday practices that take place in cities, including dwelling, commuting, policing and more. These lectures are complemented by a full-day field-trip in the Sydney region, which will examine how processes and practices come together in places, through observation and interpretation. Lectures and field trips will be supported by weekly tutorials, which facilitate discussion of key concepts and reflections on lecture material.

Unit details and rules

Unit code GEOS2123
Academic unit Geosciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
GEOS1X01 or GEOS1X02 or DAAE1001
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Kurt Iveson,
Lecturer(s) Kurt Iveson,
Neil Coe,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Supervised exam
Final Exam
Essay-based exam covering key concepts in Unit
30% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment Research essay
Answer question on key concepts set during semester
30% Week 09
Due date: 28 Apr 2023 at 23:59
2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment hurdle task Field trips and field trip report
Report with observations and interpretations from field trip in Week 11
25% Week 13
Due date: 26 May 2023 at 23:59
1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Participation Tutorial attendance and participation
Constructive and informed contributions to tutorial discussions via reading
15% Weekly n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5
hurdle task = hurdle task ?

Assessment summary

Tutorial participation

  • Students required to attend and participate in weekly tutorials, including reading preparation


  • 2000 word essay on key concepts covered in Unit

Field Trip Report

  • 1500 word report on field observations made during field trip

Final exam

  • Essay-based take-home essay testing understanding of key concepts and examples in the Unit.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas

If a second replacement exam is required, this exam may be delivered via an alternative assessment method, such as a viva voce (oral exam). The alternative assessment will meet the same learning outcomes as the original exam. The format of the alternative assessment will be determined by the unit coordinator. 

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 for submitted work

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 Settler Colonial Cities Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 03 Global Cities Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 04 Neoliberal Cities Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 05 Informal Cities Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 06 Creative Cities Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 07 Logistics Cities Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 08 Wild Cities Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 09 Ludic Cities Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5
Week 10 Contested Cities Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 11 Reading the Landscape Fieldtrip Field trip (8 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5
Week 13 Conclusion: Sustainable Cities? Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance and participation at tutorials is required and assessed.

Attendance and participation in a local field trip or self-guided field trip is required and assessed.

Attendance at lectures is strongly advised.

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.

Minor changes to the blog assessment have been made since this unit was last offered, and there is both new and updated lecture content in 2022.

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.