Important message

From September 2017 the Urban Geography programme will go on as a specialisation within the new Human Geography programme. As a result it is no longer possible to apply for Urban Geography. Probably you will find the specialisation you are looking for in one of the tracks in the new Human Geography Master’s programme.


General Courses

Advanced Urban Geography: understanding temporal and spatial dynamics in cities

Due to strong individualization processes urbanized societies show increasing dynamics in and fragmentation of patterns of activities, mobilities and migration. This may have significant effects on the performance of public places, neighborhoods, cities and urban systems. Social networks and patterns of activities and movements will encompass larger territories, and this can diminish the relative importance of neighborhoods as the relevant spaces of integration, to the benefit of other, more temporary situations in which people find themselves. In combination with the spatial dispersion of people, such urban functions as living, working, shopping, and leisure pursuits will disperse and regroup in new, more specialized spatial clusters. This trend toward spatial fragmentation (‘splintering urbanism’) is observed in affluent as well as in poor residential areas, at business estates and in office parks, in ‘airport cities’, in cultural districts, and at shopping malls. In this course these transformation processes in urbanized societies will be studied from two perspectives. First, the daily life perspective which emphasizes the description and explanation of the progression of the daily paths through time and space as people participate in activities at home or elsewhere. Implications for meanings and development of flows and places are also discussed. Second, the life course perspective which deals especially with the description and explanation of changes in the domains of ‘work’, ‘home-making’ and ‘leisure’ but also with the links to the settling and departing of the households of residents in neighborhoods and cities at different stages of their life course. Central to this course is to develop a better understanding of the dynamics in and meanings of physical spatio-temporal contexts for the urban transformation processes. These contexts refer to the built environment, the presence of people, mobile objects and natural conditions. In this course various contextual and situational approaches in urban geography will be presented. The implications for spatial planning and empirical research will also be discussed.

Advanced methods and techniques in Human Geography and Planning

This course deals with the several phases of the research process: preparation: research design, collecting data, analysing data, reporting results. The variety of research methods and the phases of the research process are discussed. Next to that, we will focus on the collection and the analysis of qualitative data (observation, interviews, discourse analysis). Finally we will concentrate on the most prevalent multivariate techniques (multiple and logistic regression, multilevel analysis, cluster analysis, factor analysis).

Please note
In period 1 it will be in English (examination and assignments in English or Dutch); in period 2 the course is in Dutch.

Urban reflections in practice: field trip A

The course Urban Reflections in Practice is an integral part of the Master’s Degree Programme in Urban Geography and includes a fieldtrip to a European or American city. Taking the knowledge acquired in the Urban Geography Master as a point of departure, we will analyse contemporary dynamics, developments and transformations in European or American metropolitan regions. Students have to prepare themselves thoroughly for the fieldtrip to the particular city and metropolitan region. During walks and tours, less-known and new facets of the cities will be revealed, which are not necessarily considered main tourist attractions but definitely worth a visit from an urban geography point of view. During our stay, we will discuss such geographical sites and contexts with people who live and work in the cities: government officials, academics, local entrepreneurs, property developers and city marketers. Furthermore, students will engage in fieldwork on public spaces and organize walking tours through particular neighbourhoods. The excursion itself lasts for about one week. The number of offered destinations depends on the total number of students in the course. Please bear in mind that the costs of the excursion could be about € 350 for a European destination and about € 1100 for an American destination.

Master thesis Urban Geography

The Master thesis is the final part of the Master's degree program in Urban Geography. Two possibilities exist here:

  1. a research project of 30 credits;
  2. a combination of an internship of 7.5 credits and a research project of 22.5 credits.

The Master thesis involves individual work and could also involve group work. Students with topics drawn from related subject matter may work together in small groups under the supervision of a lecturer to design and carry out their research projects. Group work has the advantage that students can learn from each other in systematically designing a research project, can draw on each other's knowledge of the literature and theoretical insights, and may possibly gather data together. However, the final assessment of the Master thesis is based on an individual product. Well before the beginning of the period in which students will start their Master's research project, a topic list will be available from which students can make a selection. Students who for themselves would like to propose a research topic in Urban Geography should contact the coordinator.

Internship Urban Geography

Within the Master's degree program in Urban Geography, it is possible to - but not required - to do an internship with a maximum of 7.5 credits as part of the total 30 credits required for graduation. The aim of the internship is to acquire practical experience in a firm or (government) institution operating in the professional field of Urban Geography.
The internship gives a student the opportunity to reflect on acquired knowledge from a practical perspective, to further develop knowledge and skills, to reconsider beliefs and to explore personal positions within the professional field. The nature and level of internship activities have to be consistent with knowledge and skills acquired during the Master's degree program. Considering the limited scope of the internship, it is strongly recommended - should an internship be desired - to combine the internship and the Master thesis. Students who prefer to do an internship need to contact the coordinator of the master programme in Urban Geography. Students should in principle find an internship themselves, in cooperation with the Urban Geography staff. Because the internship needs to fit the subject matter of the Master program in Urban Geography, it is necessary to get an internship proposal officially approved by the Master coordinator before commencing the internship.  

Track Urban Daily Life

Urban Daily Life: Cultures, consumption and mobilities

This specialization track of Urban Geography predominantly focuses on understanding daily activities and mobilities of individuals for work, shopping, leisure and other purposes. Who participates in these activities and which transport and communication modes do they use? What are their experiences? What are the implications of flows of people, products, money and information for the development of public places and cities? These and other questions will be based on the central idea that activities, mobilities and experiences are contextualized. The built environment as well as the presence of people, mobile objects (e.g. transport and communication modes) and natural conditions (e.g. day and night and weather) have a meaning for performing activities. These contexts are not fixed but dynamic in nature. Moreover, people’s practices construct urban places and spaces which, in turn, contextualise their activities. 
 In this specialization track a contextual view will be developed on the development of daily lives of residents and visitors of cities and implications for urban places and spaces. First, this issue will be addressed by reading ‘classic’ books in the field of cultures, consumption and mobilities. Main goal is to position them in the theoretical framework discussed in the Advanced Urban Geography course. Second, the course will discuss specific themes like aspects of daily travel , shopping and tourism, daytime and nighttime recreation and implications for the sense of places, virtual mobility (ICTs), as well as the design and regulation of public spaces. The relevance of daily activities for major societal issues like health, social integration and cohesion, climate change and transportation will also be discussed. In addition to the theories discussed in the Advanced Urban Geography course, additional theoretical perspectives, like the New Mobilities Paradigm, Public Space theory, Geographies of Consumption approaches and Emotional Geography will be introduced. Finally, implications for spatial policy and planning will be discussed.

Track Living in the City

Living in the city: migration, residential mobility and neighbourhood effects

This specialization track of Urban Geography focuses on individual’s life-paths through time and across urban space and the implications of these paths for cities and neighbourhoods. Processes of (international, interregional and intra-urban) residential relocation affect the social ecology of the city and vice versa. Migration and residential mobility do not only change the population structure across the city, but residential turnover also implicates the social networks and processes of social cohesion and identification in neighbourhoods. Neighbourhood change in its turn has pervasive effects on the life and residential mobility of the inhabitants. Students learn to unravel these interactions between the changing physical, economic and social structure of the city and the relocation behaviour of city residents.First, the central issues in this track will be addressed by reading ‘classic’ books in the field of migration, residential mobility and neighbourhood effects. Main goal is to position them in the theoretical framework discussed in the Advanced Urban Geography course. Second, the course will discuss specific themes like: Transnational connections, gated communities, neighbourhoods & social mobility, students In the city and urban design. In addition to the theories presented in the Advanced Urban Geography course, new theoretical perspectives will be introduced. Sociological (socialisation, social desorganisation, social capital) and psychological theory (stigmatization and identification) will be combined with life course theory to come up with a solid geographical understanding of city evolution and life time mobility. This understanding can be applied in practice to improve the relation between quality of place and quality of life.