Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitHuman Geography
OfferedClayton First semester 2014 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Elissa Sutherland


Previously coded GES2760


Public spaces lie at heart of city life. They are the sites where communal values such as good citizenship, civic responsibilities, and social cohesion are enacted and challenged. The unit examines the changing role of urban public space and its role in the political and social life of democratic societies. In recent decades, traditional public spaces such as streets, parks and civic squares have been under threat in various ways, from being usurped by restricted private forms of communal space - in shopping malls, corporate plazas, arcades, and gallerias - that exclude some social groups and restrict democratic practice, to various forms of surveillance that control collective action. The unit will provide students with new understandings of how contemporary urban design and development seek to redefine the meaning of citizenship, civic rights, and the scope of the urban public realm.


Students who successfully complete the unit will have developed the following key competencies and capacities. You will be able to:

  1. Understand the historical and contemporary roles of urban public space;
  2. Explain the sociopolitical and economic changes that have shaped contemporary urban public space;
  3. Identify the ways in which individuals and groups are differentially included in or excluded from public space;
  4. Utilise selected geographic research skills and concepts relevant to urban geography.


Field Report (2,500) : 35%
Essay (1,500) : 25%
Participation : 20%
Examination : 20%

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

One 2-hour seminar per week plus compulsory field-trip of 3 hours

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


A first year sequence in Geographical Science, or two gateway units in Society, Cities and Sustainability or permission of the unit coordinator.