Faculty of Arts

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitSchool of Social Science, South Africa
OfferedSouth Africa Second semester 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Olusola Olalade


Cities are dynamic and complex environments that now comprise the majority of the world we live in but they face an array of major challenges. These include: How do we make our cities more habitable and sustainable? Can a city be sustainable? Who wants a sustainable city? Have cities ever been sustainable and can they be in the future? In this unit students will examine how contemporary cities around the world operate by focussing on urban processes and functions, case studies from African cities form a critical base from which to work. Major urban problems aflicting modern cities are looked at and best practice from around the world examined.


Students who successfully complete the unit will have developed the following key competencies and capacities.

You will be able to:

  1. Describe and apply the concept of sustainability to urban form and function;
  2. Identify the pillars of sustainability and the stenghts and weaknesses in the conceptualisation of sustainabiltiy;
  3. Identify unsustainable urban policies and practices and suggest effective methods of improving sustainability;
  4. Utilise selected geographic research skills and concepts relevant to sustainability in an urban context;
  5. Expand on the concept of a world African city and the implications for these settlements.


Essay: 40% (2000 words)
Exam : 30% (two hours)
Field Trip: 30% (1000 words)

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

One 2-hour lecture and one 1-hour tutorial per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study