The course is proposed to provide an updated framework concerning the concepts and the phenomena that permit - today - to understand the functioning of the economic system. Among these, the city intended as a territorial synthesis of the progress and of the innovation, analyzed at local and global extent. In a world in which the half of the population lives in the cities, the urban geography increasingly arises as a basic learning, helpful for understanding the deep metamorphosis of the urban space which is - more than anyone else - crossed by composite procedures, like those of globalization, competitiveness, migration, settlement dispersal and the related issues. Urban competitiveness, knowledge and innovation, quality of life, urban sustainability, social cohesion, malaise and well-being in cities and changing social-spatial landscapes are representing, today, new variables whom the city is called upon to face with, and these are addressed by the geographical reading through a systematic handling, where the city arises as the main territorial player, able to move and lead the functioning of the related economic and productive systems, in the context of an enhanced competitiveness.
These goals help to understand in a critical and “spatialized” way the economics’ and markets’ dynamics. In particular, the role of the city as the baseline territorial node able to transmit competitiveness to the economic system of the own region, that this course is proposed to provide to the student. These skills will make the student to be able to debate in a critical way some economic issues which are related, for example, to the localization choices, the territorial unbalances, the competitiveness factors and they will permit him/her to analyze regional case studies, by expressing a personal point of view about the strengths and weaknesses of the territory, by identifying the issues and by suggesting suitable solutions.
The course addresses the following topics:
a) Definition and typologies of cities
From the countryside to the city: the world-scale urban phenomenon
From the city to the countryside: expansion and urban dispersal
Functions and urban dynamics
Urban income, transportations and the city shape
Systems and city networks
The global city
b) The urban issues
The city, immigrants’ gateway
Malaise and well-being in cities
Quality of urban life
For the Erasmus students, the program only refers to the topics indicated under the a) section, as well as a short deepening essay about a topic addressed during the course, supposedly referable to their city of origin.