Program Overview

In 1970, the French philosopher Henri Lefebvre asserted that the world would soon become defined by the urban condition – the processes, flows, economies, forms, and cultures of cities. Today, his prediction has come to pass in many ways. More people live now in cities than outside of them, but these cities take on very different forms around the globe. In this course we will seek to understand how the geographic dimensions of urbanism have developed in diverse regions around the world, and how cities continue to shape (and be shaped by) our wider social, political, and economic world.

To learn more about the Geography program at Syracuse University visit GEOCUSE.

The course is organized around two major units: Social Justice and the City and Capital Cities. The first unit focuses on the history of urbanization, development, and sustainability. The second unit will cover the roles of colonialism, post-colonialism, and global capital circulation. Geographically, the first unit focuses on cities in the Americas and Europe, and the second unit is directed toward Asia, Africa, and the Greater Middle East. This course emphasizes to students that urbanism, despite diversity in development and expression, shares common themes, and connects places that are culturally and geographically distant.

There will be an exam at the end of each unit. There is no cumulative final. Each class will include an in-class assignment (some individual, some group) that will be graded. Assignments will be in a variety of formats, i.e. longer written responses vs. shorter answers. Map quizzes may also be included.

I learned in geography, that it is more than just reading maps. It involves a lot of politics, race and current events, as well as elements of sociology. It taught me some forms of time management and gave me a sense of how I should approach my academic career.  -Summer College GEO 105 Student, 2018.

Program Objectives

Students will:

  • Become familiar with the processes of urbanization from a global perspective
  • Understand the major geographic themes related to world urban development
  • Learn the role of scale in shaping social and spatial connections and divisions
  • Explain the differences and similarities in urbanism in different world regions
  • Apply key geographic concepts to their own intellectual interests

This course will draw on contemporary social, political, economic, and cultural developments in cities across the world to supplement lectures, assignments, and other course readings. Students will be encouraged to follow a major newspaper to keep up with current events and bring noteworthy stories to class for discussion.

Learn more about GEO 105: World Urban Geography:

Program Dates & Details Eligibility Requirements Program Cost Program Requirements Typical Day Faculty Bios

Program Dates & Details

Session Dates

Session I: June 29 – July 12, 2019
Duration: 2-weeks


Credit: 3 credits
Grading System: A-F

Eligibility Requirements

Students must be a minimum of 15 years of age by the orientation and move-in date. For full Summer College admission requirements, view the Admissions Overview and Eligibility page.

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Program Cost

Program Costs:

  • Residential: $4,830*
  • Commuter: $4,036*

*Please visit our Program Costs page for more detailed information. Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees in March.

Program Requirements

Possible Readings

Readings will come from a variety of sources as outlined below:

  • Cities of the World: Regional Patterns and Urban Environments, 6th Edited by Stanley Brunn, Maureen Hays-Mitchell, Donald Ziegler, and Jessica Graybill. 2016, Rowman and Littlefield.
  • Urban Geography: A Critical Introduction. By Andrew E.G. Jonas, Eugene McCann, and Mary Thomas. 2015, Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Urban Geography: A Global Perspective, 3rd By Michael Pacione. 2009, Routledge.

Other Readings – chapters

  • Rebel Cities by David Harvey
  • The Origins of the Urban Crisis by Thomas Sugrue
  • Ordinary Cities by Jennifer Robinson
  • Boom, Bust, Exodus: The Rust Belt, the Maquilas and a Tale of Two Cities by Chad Broughton

Student Expectations

This is an academically rigorous, college-level program. Students are expected to complete nightly homework assignments and actively participate in group projects. Students are expected to attend all classes every day, arrive on time, and meet all academic obligations. Free time will vary as each program is unique, as is the subsequent workload.

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

This class typically runs Monday – Thursday for around four hours per session. Details to be announced.

When class is over, and on weekends, students can look forward to various Summer College trips and activities. Check out our Campus Activities page for more information!

Final Academic Obligation

Students are permitted to leave on Friday, July 12, 2019 after 4:30pm upon the completion of their final academic obligation. If students have any questions regarding their final academic obligation, we encourage them to reach out to their instructor. Please refer to the Move-Out page for important information regarding the checkout process.

Faculty Bio

Patrick Oberle

Patrick is a fourth-year PhD student in the Department of Geography in SU’s Maxwell School, where he also completed an MA in 2014. In 2009, Patrick received a BA in Geography from SUNY Geneseo. Prior to this course, he has been a TA for several geography courses including GEO 103, 105, 171, and 383. Patrick also spent two years as a research assistant in Syracuse Community Geography program. His dissertation research uses land banking, a policy of using tax foreclosure to re-sell abandoned property, to understand how vacant land and abandoned housing fit into broader policies of urban regeneration. Patrick uses a combination of methods, including interviews, GIS, and archival research, to understand how value circulates through properties that are often thought of as de-valued. A better accounting of these processes will, he hopes, lead to more just ways of allocating land and housing in cities. Beyond his immediate research, Patrick is interested in issues of urban governance, the spread of geospatial technologies, and the development of geographic thought. When he’s not working, Patrick can often be found enjoying the sights of Central New York (even in winter!), often accompanied with a good book.