Comparative Urbanisation & Governance

Subject ABPL90278 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

February, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: None specified
Corequisites: None specified
Recommended Background Knowledge: Urban studies, development studies, public policy.
Non Allowed Subjects: None specified
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Prof Richard Tomlinson


Environments and Design Student Centre
T: +61 3 8344 6417/9862
F: +61 3 8344 5532
Subject Overview:

This subject has guest lecturers: Ms Sheela Patel, Founder-Director of the Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC), an NGO based in Mumbai; Philip Van Ryneveld, who has served as Chief Financial Officer for Cape Town and has consulted widely in India, South Africa; and elsewhere on intergovernmental relations, fiscal transfers and municipal finance; and Associate Professor Sun Sheng Han of Urban Planning in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning. Due to ongoing discussion among the guest lecturers, the subject description can be expected to change in its details.

The subject will describe and assess regional and country differences in migration and urbanization processes, review international “best practice” and pro-poor conceptions of the constitutional responsibilities of different levels of government for urban policy, intergovernmental relationships and fiscal transfers, ending up with the capacity of cities, together with the private sectors and civil society, to respond to the pressures of urbanisation.

The subject will be based on case studies of India, Maharashtra State and Mumbai; in South Africa, the Gauteng Provincial Government and Johannesburg; and China and Shanghai. In the case of India, the relative focus will be on the ‘Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission’ and the policy processes underlying the Mission. In the case of South Africa, the relative focus will be on post-apartheid urban policies and policy processes that led to the urban roles of central, provincial and metropolitan governments. In the case of China, the focus will be on the path of urbanization and its shaping forces, the policies regulating rural-urban migration, and the institutional reforms such as the household registration system and the city-governing-counties system in the last three decades.

The subject will also explore the role of the World Bank and other international organizations in shaping the urban policy agenda.


This subject aims to familiarise students with urbanisation in cities in developing countries, the roles of different levels of government, especially city governments, in addressing issues arising from urbanisation and their ability to deliver essential municipal services and housing. The subject is also intended to provide knowledge of international development agencies and applied knowledge in the case study cities

  • Group presentation and related slides (30%) due 20th February
  • 3500 word essay (70%) due 8th March
Prescribed Texts: None specified
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Written and verbal communication;
  • Insight into the urban development challenges facing large cities;
  • Applied knowledge and analytical skills in respect of of governance issues and slum upgrading.

Related Course(s): Master of Environment
Master of Environment
Master of Urban Planning
Postgraduate Certificate in Environment
Postgraduate Diploma in Environment
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Development

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