Economic and Financial Geography - David Bassens, Manuel Aalbers, Dominique Vanneste

2nd semester - 6 ECTS

This course aims to: expand awareness and knowledge of economic and financial geography and insights in the relationship between spatial economy and society; acquire knowledge of the different ways in which geography or place play an important role in the contemporary economy, in particular in the field of finance; develop critical understanding of processes of agglomeration dynamics, financialization, economic globalization, offshoring, and so forth; develop analytical understanding of the complex interactions between globalization, localization, real estate, financial crises and states.

Knowledge Economy and the City - Bas van Heur

2nd semester - 3 ECTS

This course investigates the knowledge economy - as object of theory, empirical phenomenon and socio-economic and policy imaginary - from a cultural economic perspective. The knowledge economy has become a central point of reference in describing contemporary sociospatial transformations. City regions occupy a key position within this narrative as the knowledge economy tends to concentrate within cities and also contributes to further urbanization. This raises questions concerning the spatiality of knowledge production, circulation and use that will be investigated in more detail in this course. Drawing on interdisciplinary literatures, the course will focus on four important spaces of knowledge: educational spaces; creative and cultural spaces; experimental spaces; and smart spaces. The aim of this investigation is to gain a more critical understanding of the presumed role played by ‘knowledge’ in urban processes and to analyse the ways in which these various spaces of knowledge shape our understanding of the contemporary city.

Housing - Manuel Aalbers

2nd semester - 3 ECTS

Housing systems have emerged in each city and society reflecting variegated dwelling practices and spatial relations as well as variegated historical processes. Housing systems thus provide a particular lens into societies and social change. This course addresses housing as a fundamental socio-economic dimension. The course begins by considering the socio-economic and political importance of housing and goes on to elaborate how housing and housing systems have interacted with processes of international convergence and divergence. We pay attention to the different actors involved in both housing policies and different housing market segments (i.e. the owner-occupied, private rented and social rented markets). The growing commodification of housing markets and associated booms and busts have helped reconfigure the field of housing studies within the social sciences in recent decades and have reemphasised the importance of housing in understanding both cities and societies, including an appreciation of the differences between cities and countries.