Researching the City: Spatial Approaches SPS3003

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 3 (SCQF level 9)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course introduces students to the emerging concept of "smart cities" and a range of geographical information system (GIS)-based methods that enable them to carry out data analysis in relation to public policies. This will be achieved by both lectures covering the fundamentals of GIS and practical sessions focusing on the use of GIS software to support decision-making in public policies.


Ten two-hour sessions to be delivered weekly

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory: IELTS level 6 with no sub-unit below 5.5


Completion of Years one and two of the Nankai University programme having achieved a Grade Point Average of at least 75% (or equivalent)


Recommended: basic statistic knowledge, including but not limited to descriptive statistics and multiple regression.

Excluded Courses




PUBPOL2010: PP2A: Perspectives on Public Policy

PUBPOL2011: PP2B: Policy, Politics and Power

PUBPOL4034: Remaking Cities in a Global Age: Dilemmas of Urban Policy

SPS3004: Urban Economy


One of the below options:

PUBPOL3014: Introduction to the Fundamentals of Transport Studies

PUBPOL4041: Housing: Policy, Welfare and Markets


One 1500 word essay, 5-8 minute oral presentation and one 1500 word project report.

Course Aims

This aim of this course is to introduce students to support decision-making in public policy using GIS-based spatial analysis.


Specific course aims are to:

1. Demonstrate the importance of digital technology in the evolution of Smart Cities

2. Introduce the basics of GIS

3. Develop GIS skills and demonstrate how these can be used to support city management and public policy making

4. Introduce the procedure to design and implement small GIS projects

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

 understand and explain the meaning of spatial analysis and the contribution of GIS;

 design and implement small GIS projects in the context of public policy;

 use GIS software to import, manage, manipulate and analyze spatial data; and

 employ GIS analysis to solve real problems in the field of city management, particularly public policy making.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including final project report) of the course's summative assessment.