Urban and Regional Economics

Commerce & Business Administration
Course Code
ECON 3445
Semester Length
15 Weeks x 4 Hours per Week = 60 Hours
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
Urban economics is the study of the market forces behind the development of cities and the urban problems associated with this development. Students interested in the efficient design and implementation of local public policy, environmental policy, land use policy and urban studies will enjoy this course. Cities provide a spatial environment and location for production, innovation and trade to flourish, but in the process generate policy problems associated with congestion, pollution, transportation, poverty, crime, urban sprawl, and growth. This course describes the historical context of urban areas and develops the theoretical tools for analyzing and predicting how urban areas grow, evolve, and change and the role of public policy to deal with this growth. The course will examine how local government, land use regulation, financing, taxation, and spending policies influence the settlement pattern and characteristics of towns, cities, and regions.
Course Content

The course includes:

  1. Historical and current characteristics of city size and problems.
  2. Market forces in the existence and development of cities and urban areas.
  3. Model building: (equilibrium and dynamics)
  4. Urban land rent, housing prices, and neighborhood choice.
  5. Land use regulation, zoning, and growth.
  6. Transportation externalities: congestion, noise, pollution.
  7. Mass transit and urban infrastructure requirements.
  8. Urban problems: crime, poverty, pollution.
  9. Public policy toward housing and provision of public goods
  10. Role of local government. (revenues, spending, regulation.)
Learning Activities

Lecture and seminar

Means of Assessment
Mid-term examination(s) 25% - 30%
Essay, Project   0% - 30%
Assignments (group and individual) 0% - 15%
Final Examination 30% - 40%
Total 100%

Students may conduct research as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans, which can require obtaining Informed Consent from participants and getting the approval of the Douglas College Research Ethics Board prior to conducting the research.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course, the student will be able to:

  1. Identify the economic forces and principles which explain why cities exist.
  2. Define the location orientations of firms. (ie. Clustering, economies of scale, etc)
  3. Explain how land and housing markets function and how rents are determined.
  4. Describe location equilibriums and analyze how they can change.
  5. Understand and analyze how land and housing markets function, and how land use regulation affects these markets.
  6. Identify and critique the different forms of land use regulation used in the Canada.
  7. Explain the economic consequences of different approaches to regulating urban land use (employment, spatial distribution, sprawl, etc)
  8. Identify reasons for poverty and crime concentration in urban areas.
  9. Identify different low-income housing assistance policies used in Canada, and evaluate the effects of different housing policies (subsidies, incentives, and government-provided housing).
  10. Evaluate urban environmental and transportation problems.
Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students


One of (instructor’s choice)

O’Sullivan. A. (latest Ed.) Urban Economics. McGraw-Hill.


Or text approved by the Economics department.


In addition, there will be readings assigned by instructor.



ECON 1150 Principles of Microeconomics, ECON 1250 Principles of Macroeconomics and one second year ECON course.


No corequisite courses.


Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalency courses

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for ECON 3445
Athabasca University (AU) AU ECON 3XX (3)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU ECON 2XXX (3)
Langara College (LANG) LANG ECON 2XXX (3)
Okanagan College (OC) OC ECON 2XX (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU ECON 3XXX (3)
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO ECON 2nd (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC ECON 3XX (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV ECON 3XX (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC ECON 312 (1.5)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023