GEOG402-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023

Resilient Cities

30 points

Start Date: Monday, 20 February 2023
End Date: Sunday, 25 June 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 5 March 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 14 May 2023


This course explores the contemporary and pressing issue of urban development. The course focuses on geographical issues related to urban planning for resource use and infrastructure, including energy use, transport networks and green development. It includes a focus on the growing need for cities to be resilient to the many challenges they face. The course includes an applied and practical element, conducted in collaboration with local government officials and communities.

This course explores the contemporary and pressing issue of urban development, in a context where urbanisation globally is rapidly rising and increasing numbers of cities, both large and small, are subject to acute as well as long term stressors, such as traffic and pollution problems, environmental hazards and climate change emergency. In this context, the course focuses on geographical issues in relation to urban planning for resource use and infrastructure, with an emphasis this year on adaptive urbanism in a context of climate change emergency. It includes a focus on the growing need for cities to be resilient to the many challenges, and problematizes the concept of ‘resilience’, exploring its meaning, political context, its relation to place and a discussion of how community and governance processes are key to resilience in practice.

It includes a practical and applied element, with problem-based group research carried out in Christchurch to give practical effect to theory, reading and discussion. This practical element is undertaken in partnership with local government officials and community organisations. The city currently exhibits a number of urban opportunities which can be tackled in alignment with climate change adaptation, such as initiatives focused on food resilience projects, youth well-being and leadership, transport transitions, and community activation for adaptive urbanism.

Each class will have a short lecture and discussion; discussion of readings (to be completed beforehand each week); and practical exercises undertaken in class time. Each of these elements is central to the theme of the course and ongoing research projects.

Learning Outcomes

  • Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
  • Understand and explain theoretical and applied elements of urban resilience
  • Appreciate the range of contexts, processes and actors that contribute to greater or lesser degrees of resilience
  • Demonstrate familiarity and competence with a range of problem-solving methodologies and techniques, and understand principles of effective research design
  • Design and execute a research project with a community partner, and work in teams to solve problems
  • Effectively communicate critical reflections and research findings via multiple media.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Engaged with the community

      Students will have observed and understood a culture within a community by reflecting on their own performance and experiences within that community.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


Entry subject to approval of the Head of Department.



Timetable Note

36 hrs lecture sessions (1x per week)
Research project sites fieldtrip (1x half day – semester week 3)

Course Coordinator

Lindsey Conrow


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Reflective journal 20% Formative feedback due Week 5 Summative feedback due Week 12
Individual short essay 30% Due Week 6
Mini-conference presentation and poster (team work) 20% Due Week 11
Research report (team work) 30% Due Week 12

Geog 402 contains the following pieces of assessment

Review essay 20%
Research project 60% (presentation 15 and report 45)
Reflective journal 20%

Textbooks / Resources

There are no recommended textbook notes for this course, but there is a list of recommended readings.

Recommended readings:

Banwell, K. (2017). Planning for resilient communities: And every other day: Learning from the Canterbury 2010-2012 earthquake sequence

Carr, J., & Dionisio, M. R. (2017). Flexible spaces as a “third way” forward for planning urban shared spaces. Cities, 70, 73-82.

Carson, R. (2002). Silent spring (40th anniversary, 1st Mariner Books ed.). Houghton Mifflin.

Carter, L. (2019). Indigenous pacific approaches to climate change: Aotearoa/New zealand. Palgrave Macmillan.

Dombroski, K. (2018). Thinking with, dissenting within: Care-full critique for more-than-human worlds. Journal of Cultural Economy, 11(3), 261-264.

Elkington, B., Smeaton, J., Ross, M., Mercier, O. R., Kiddle, R., Thomas, A. (., & Jackson, M. (2020). Imagining decolonisation. Bridget Williams Books Ltd.

Fitz, A., Krasny, E., & Architektur Zentrum Wien. (2019). Critical care: Architecture and urbanism for a broken planet. The MIT Press.

Gibson-Graham, J. K., Cameron, J., & Healy, S. (2013). Take back the economy: An ethical guide for transforming our communities. University of Minnesota Press.

Glackin, S., & Dionisio, M. R. (2016). ‘Deep engagement’ and urban regeneration: Tea, trust, and the quest for co-design at precinct scale. Land use Policy, 52, 363-373.

Hutchings, J., & Smith, J. (2020). Te mahi oneone hua parakore: A Māori soil sovereignty and wellbeing handbook. Harvest: Fresh Scholarship From the Field, a Freerange Press imprint.

Hutchings, J., Lee-Morgan, J., & New Zealand Council for Educational Research. (2016). Decolonisation in aotearoa: Education, research and practice. NZCER Press.

Jackson, T. (2017). Prosperity without growth: Foundations for the economy of tomorrow (Second ed.). Routledge, an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group.

Larsen, S. C., Johnson, J. T., & Wildcat, D. R. (2017). Being together in place: Indigenous coexistence in a more than human world. University of Minnesota Press.

Macfarlane, A., & Macfarlane, S. (2019). Listen to culture: Māori scholars' plea to researchers. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 49(sup1), 48-57.

McMillen, H., Ticktin, T., & Springer, H. K. (2017). The future is behind us: Traditional ecological knowledge and resilience over time on hawai'i island. Regional Environmental Change, 17(2), 579.

Orange, C. (2021). The Treaty of Waitangi: Te Tiriti o Waitangi: An illustrated history (First ebook ed.). Bridget Williams Books.

Puig de la Bellacasa, María. (2017). Matters of care: Speculative ethics in more than human worlds. University of Minnesota Press.

Solnit, R. (2010). A paradise built in hell: The extraordinary communities that arise in disaster. Penguin Books.

Toth, A., Rendall, S., & Reitsma, F. (2016) Resilient food systems: a qualitative tool for measuring food resilience. Urban Ecosystems 19: 19-43.

Tsing, A. L. (2015). The mushroom at the end of the world: On the possibility of life in capitalist ruins. Princeton University Press.

Whetu, J., Whetu, A., New Zealand. Interim Climate Change Committee, & Whetu Consultancy Group. (2019). Integrating māori perspectives: An analysis of the impacts and opportunities for māori of options proposed by the interim climate change committee. Whetu Consultancy Group.

Yates, A. (2016; 2017). Mauri-ora: Architecture, indigeneity, and immanence ethics. Architectural Theory Review, 21(2), 261-275. doi:10.1080/13264826.2017.1288638

Zukin, S. (2010; 2009). Naked city: The death and life of authentic urban places. Oxford University Press.


Prerequisites: Entry subject to approval of the Head of Department

Restrictions: GEOG446

Recommended preparation: up to 20 hours per week: 8 hours reading and individual learning, and up to 12 hours in class and collective learning settings. Prior readings are not necessary but welcome, see recommended readings.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $2,159.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see School of Earth and Environment .

All GEOG402 Occurrences

  • GEOG402-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023