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HSY2850 - The Australian City: Contemporary Problems in Historical Perspective

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Graeme Davison


Not offered in 2007


This unit examines contemporary concerns about the structure and function of Australian cities in the light of past debates about the future of cities and the historical experience of urban change. Attention will be paid to images of urban life in popular culture and students will be expected to engage in fieldwork. Among the specific questions to be considered are: How do cities compete with each other, and who wins? Is suburban sprawl a benefit or a liability? Why have Australians been so attached to the idea of individual home-ownership? Have Australian cities been successful in absorbing immigrants, and, if so, why?


  1. To investigate the historical roots of current urban policy dilemmas.
  2. To inculcate skills in the historical analysis of urban landscapes and of textual and visual representations of the city.
  3. To critically appraise the historical and theoretical assumptions underlying current urban policy debates.
  4. To encourage reflection on, and critical self-appraisal of, the student's own writing.


Essay (2000 words): 50%
Fieldwork report (1500 words): 30%
Test (1000 words): 20%

Contact hours

2 hours (1 lecture and 1 tutorial) per week


A first-year sequence in History or permission