Fall/Winter Timetable

POL2409H1S L0101

Undergraduate Course Code: POL418H1S L0101

Politics and Planning in Third World Cities


This course will position the politics of urbanization and planning within the intellectual framework of international development theory and emerging forms of urbanism. Drawing from experiences in Asian, African, and Latin American cities and mega centers, it will focus on the relationship between the planning process and city politics. An 'urbanist' perspective will allow posing the political question as a bridge between day-to-day practices of city building to that of macro views of the Nation State and globalized markets. The course will consider the political consequences of new forms of institutional arrangements promoted to attract global investments and how these contest those rooted in locality based economies. It will consider debates around participatory planning and decentralization confronting increasing city divides, critical urban theory (including that of legal pluralism) to conceptualize fluid forms of legality, and sharpened contests over land, economy, and infrastructure. It will explore issues of migration and urban violence as influenced by economy and politics that can at times reframe relationships to temper a divisive politics, or be locations of significant fractures. Finally, the course will focus on approaches and challenges faced by international development agencies. The course will include films, the digital and print media, and be engaging via intensive discussions and debate.


Readings are detailed in a reading list, distributed in class.

Format and Requirements

A senior undergraduate course. Two-hour seminar, which includes theme presentations made by students. Slide and film presentations on occasion. Course work consists of weekly summaries, participation, a minor and major essay, class presentations. (This course is also listed as part of the Innis Urban Studies programme, so students with an interest in urban questions with little background in political science would benefit from it even if the material is new.