POLS216-20S1 (C) Semester One 2020

City Politics and Urban Policy

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 February 2020
End Date: Sunday, 21 June 2020
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 28 February 2020
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 29 May 2020


This is the century of the city. By 2050, seven in ten people on the planet will be living in an urban area. Many of the rapidly growing cities are larger than small nations. How do cities make decisions? How do citizens in cities effect change? This course examines local and regional community politics in rapidly developing urban areas and struggling regions; in particular the course examines the role and function of local democracy through the lens of public participation in key policy issues. Discussion and analysis considers the role of the public in policy formulation, and implementation at neighbourhood, city and regional level; and the relationship between local and central government and international agencies and considers the changing roles and challenges of local governance. There is a special focus on the politics of disasters and community recovery. Teaching includes field trips in both Christchurch and Westport field centre.

In this, the century of the city, decisions and actions in urban communities will determine our shared future. A hundred years ago only about three of 10 people lived in a city but by 2050, seven in 10 of us will live in an urban area. Each day, 1000s of people somewhere in the world move into cities in search of new employment opportunities, social activities or health amenities, or to be closer to family and friends. How we make decisions in our cities will determine the future of public life
This course examines city and urban politics; in particular the course examines the role and function of local democracy through the lens of public participation in key New Zealand urban policy issues.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learning Outcomes- at the completion of this
  • Students will be able to identify and discuss challenges of urban development and examine the strengths and weaknesses of policy responses to these pressures.
  • Students will analyse the role and influence of residents/citizens, local governments, Iwi & businesses and other NGOS in policy decision processes at neighbourhood and city level and compare urban experiences of these groups internationally;
  • Students will be able to critique the relationship between local and central government and international agencies and consider the changing roles and challenges of local governance.
  • Successful students will interrogate the way that built communities reflect and enable political-cultural expression For example, how development of Māori and Pacific representation, multi-culturalism and indigenous practices in urban planning.
  • Students will be able to conduct field observations, interviews and low impact surveys compile & analyse results about citizen attitudes and local community experiences and present these to local decision makers and communities both in oral and written form.


Any 15 points at 100 level from POLS, or
any 60 points at 100 level from the Schedule V of the BA, or
the Schedule V of the BCom.

Course Coordinator

Bronwyn Hayward


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Final Exam 30% Written exam choosing 2 questions from 6 options
Annotated bibliography 03 Apr 2020 20% Each annotation of 150 words for 8 books or journals published since 2014
Compulsory Field Trip 08 Apr 2020 15% Compulsory field trip 5-8 April 2020 to Westport. Prepare and speak to a Powerpoint slide and give a 5 minute oral presentation (10%) and an element of group work (5%)
Field trip final report 22 May 2020 35% 2,000 word field report based on research, field notes and interviews.

Textbooks / Resources

There’s no set text for this course- you are required to read assigned for class which will be distributed the week ahead (wider references shared on learn)– usually 1 per lecture. However you are expected to have read this BEFORE class and be prepared to speak to it. Three key books you should try and read as a whole to think about urban politics in the context of Christchurch
• Bennett, B. W. et al 2014; Once in a Lifetime: city-building after disaster in Christchurch (Free range press); Christchurch
• Pickles, Katie 2017 Ruptures Bridget Williams Books, Wellington
• Farrell F Villa on the Edge of the Empire (random House 2017)


Please note that the restriction against POLS209 is no longer valid, and students may enrol in both courses.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $981.00

International fee $3,579.00

* 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 Language, Social and Political Sciences .

All POLS216 Occurrences

  • POLS216-20S1 (C) Semester One 2020