Matteo Basso (Università  Iuav di Venezia)
Margherita Turvani (Università  Iuav di Venezia)


From 15:15
to 16:45
From 15:15
to 16:45

Course description
More than half of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas. Dynamics of urbanization, which have partially slowed down in the Global North, occur today at a massive pace and on a much larger scale in the so-called Global South. As global changes continue to strengthen worldwide, their positive and negative impacts become evident locally: cities are the place where such emerging challenges (i.e. unemployment, social unrest, migrations, climate change, environmental crisis, etc.) are directly experienced by people in their every-day lives. Cities, however, are also the context where such issues become a matter of policy intervention.
The course focuses on contemporary cities considered as complex systems where natural, human, socio-economic, political and built environments co-evolve. By assuming a multidisciplinary perspective and approach (economics, environmental sciences, urban planning, architecture, political science, sociology, administrative law, etc.) it aims at exploring how urban policy-making processes work today, and particularly their effectiveness in tackling the impacts generated by the aforementioned global changes.
The goals of the course are the following:
1) to introduce students to the basic concepts and theories relevant for an understanding of the major interrelated forces that drive the changes and challenges affecting cities in the current era of global change;
2) to introduce students to the field of the public policy analysis (i.e. policy/politics, the social construction of collective problems, networks of actors, resources and issues at stake, forms of knowledge and decision
making rationality, implementation and evaluation, etc.);
3) to familiarize students with the set of planning instruments, approaches and governance arrangements involved in the contemporary urban policy-making process (comprehensive plans, strategic plans, mega-events, mega-projects, culture-led urban development, bottom-up social initiatives, etc.);
4) to introduce students to the use of the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as a policy-making support tool to analyse, map and address contemporary urban challenges.
The course is divided into three modules.
Module 1 (Feb 24 - Mar 31) introduces students - from a theoretical perspective - to cities, global changes, urbanization processes, planning policies and the field of the public policy analysis. Module 2 (Apr 12 - Apr 21) introduces students to the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), a fundamental tool for analysing, mapping and communicating researches on complex places. Thanks to a small Digital Lab, participants will learn how to manipulate raster and vector images, as well as contextualize historical and current statistical data and cartography. In module 3 (Apr 26 - May 17) students will be introduced to the case-study; the module is structured as a real urban analysis and policy design workshop experience where students will acquire practical skills through the analysis of the complex interrelation between Venice and a global change affecting the city and its residents: the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Students will be organised in work-groups (with a mix of nationalities and university backgrounds) which will work together with the aim of critically investigating the underlying complexity of such policy areas, as well
as proposing policy initiatives and planning goals.

Students are expected to do the required readings and to attend class regularly, as attendance is compulsory (maximum 15% absence is allowed, see VIU Program Regulations). Required readings will be designated on a weekly basis according to the themes listed in the course outline.
Given their different countries of origins and backgrounds, students are encouraged to participate and discuss
actively during the lessons in order to enhance a regular exchange of points of view, ideas and perspectives.
With reference to the development of the case-study, continuous tutoring will be offered by the professor.
The use of any kind of phones, tablets and computers (if not explicitly required by the professor) is strictly
prohibited during the class hours.
Penalty grades will be assigned to students who fail to observe these rules. This means that unexcused absences, lateness, low participation in class discussion, disrupting classes and the use of technological devices if not required will reduce the final grade.

Evaluation methods
The course will consist of three autonomous evaluations:
1) mid-term evaluation (Apr 3): submission of an individual mid-term assignment, concerning the analysis, through the lens of the public policy analysis, of a policy case (percentage of the overall grade = 30%);
2) final evaluation (May 26 and 29): presentation of the group-works (percentage of the overall grade = 35%) + submission of an individual final assignment (percentage of the overall grade = 20%).
In addition, a 15% of the overall grade will be attributed according to these criteria: class attendance, participation and interaction, submission of the required assignments.

Course outline

> Monday February 22
Course introduction

Module 1: Urban Policy and Planning

> Wednesday February 24
Urbanization, cities and global changes
> Monday March 1
Public policy: an introduction
> Wednesday March 3
Actors, resources and forms of knowledge
> Monday March 8
Public policy analysis: a framework
> Wednesday March 10
Decision-making models and rationalities
> Monday March 15
The policy-making process
> Wednesday March 17
The birth of urban planning
> Monday March 22
The consolidation of urban planning
> Wednesday March 24
The crisis of urban planning
>Monday March 29
In-class revision of students’ works
> Wednesday March 31
In-class revision of students’ works

➢ Saturday April 3, 11.59 pm (Italian time): deadline for the submission, via e-mail (, of the individual mid-term assignment

Mid-term break (April 5-9)

Module 2: GIS Digital Lab

> Monday April 12
GIS Digital Lab
> Wednesday April 14
GIS Digital Lab
> Monday April 19
GIS Digital Lab
> Wednesday April 21
GIS Digital Lab

Module 3: Urban Analysis and Policy Design Workshop

> Monday April 26
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on cities
> Wednesday April 28
Formation of work-groups
> Monday May 3
Urban analysis and policy design workshop
> Wednesday May 5
Urban analysis and policy design workshop
> Monday May 10
Urban analysis and policy design workshop
> Wednesday May 12
Urban analysis and policy design workshop
> Monday May 17
Final in-class revision of group-works

Final exam

> Wednesday May 26 (3 hours)
Final presentation of group-works

➢ Saturday May 29, 11.59 pm (Italian time): deadline for the submission, via e-mail (, of the final individual assignment


Selected chapters from the following list will be provided by the professor:

Altshuler A.A. and Luberoff D. (2003). Mega-projects. The changing politics of urban public investment,
Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.
Dunn W. (2017). Public Policy Analysis: an integrated approach, London: Routledge.
Ferrari E. and Rae A. (2019). GIS for planning and the built environment: an introduction to spatial
analysis, London: Red Globe Press.
Florida R. (2003). Cities and the creative class, London: Routledge.
Flyvbjerg B., Bruzelius N. and Rothengatter W. (2003). Megaprojects and risk. An anatomy of ambition.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hall P. (2002). Cities of tomorrow: an intellectual history of urban planning and design in the Twentieth
Century, 3th edition, Malden, Oxford: Blackwell.
Hall P. and Tewdwr-Jones M. (2011). Urban and Regional Planning, 5th edition, London and New York:
Healey P. (2007). Urban Complexity and Spatial Strategies, London: Routledge.
Moulaert F., Rodriguez A. and Swyngedouw E. (eds) (2005). The globalized city: economic restructuring
and social polarization in European cities, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Sassen S. (1991). The global city: New York, London, Tokyo, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Smith A. (2012). Events and urban regeneration: the strategic use of events to revitalise cities, London:


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