Social Geography

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
GEOG 2213
Social Geography
Geography and the Environment
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture: 4 hrs. per week
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

This course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of

the following:

  • Lecture
  • Labs
  • Field Work
  • Slides/Videos
  • Individual and/or Team Projects
  • Small Groups Discussions
  • Map Analysis
Course Description
Why is the Downtown East Side of Vancouver often characterized as one of the “worst” neighbourhoods in Canada? Why do men tend to have longer journeys-to-work than do women? Does Skytrain actually have an impact on the location of criminal activities? These and other questions about the spatial patterns of human occupation and exploitation of the earth’s surface are addressed in this course on Social Geography. Concentrating on the modern Western city, such topics as urbanization, poverty, housing, gender, crime and racism will be studied in their geographical context.
Course Content
  1. Introduction
    a)       Traditions in human geography
    b)       Different approaches within social geography
    c)       Changing context for social geography
    d)       Restructuring society and space
  2. Urban Transformations
    a)       Economic change
    b)       Demographic change
    c)       Political change
    d)       Cultural change
  3. Culture and Work
    a)       What is culture?
    b)       Space, power and culture
    c)       Postmodernism and urban life
    d)       Postcolonialism and the city
  4. Housing
    a)       Urban morphology and the physical arrangement of cities
    b)       Residential location theory and mobility issues
    c)       Difference and Inequality
    d)       Patterns of social well-being
  5. Urban Life
    a)       Urban life in western culture
    b)       Urbanism and social theory
    c)       Social interaction and social networks
  6. Neighbourhood and Community
    a)       Definitions and classifications
    b)       Social construction of place
    c)       Social meanings of the built environment
    d)       Fragility of community
  7. Crime and Disorder
    a)       Theories of deviant behaviour
    b)       Cognition and perception
    c)       Geography of urban crime
    d)       Role of the built environment
  8. ‘Race” and Ethnicity
    a)       Racism and discrimination
    b)       Spatial segregation of minority groups
    c)       Colonies, enclaves and Ghettos
  9. Place and Power
    a)       Public institutions and private life
    b)       Key actors in urban governance
    c)       Community power and the local state
    d)       Question of social justice
  10. Identity and Struggles for Place
    a)       Conflict and transgression
    b)       Place and resistance
    c)       Speaking from the margins
  11. Urban Transformations, Conflict and Possible Future(s)
    a)       Redevelopment and renewal
    b)       Social polarization
    c)       Informal urban economy
    d)       Urban social sustainability
Learning Outcomes
  1. Synthesize the concepts, techniques and theories of social geography.
  2. Communicate effectively orally, graphically, in writing and using quantitative methods.
  3. Describe the development of social geography and explain the alternative paradigms of social geography
  4. Explain the concept of the spatial structuring of social differences and inequalities.
  5. Apply the concepts, methods and theories to different scales of geographic analysis.
  6. Describe and analyze the arrangements and patterns of different types of groups within society.
  7. Evaluate the most relevant issues and needs confronting different groups within society.
  8. Describe and analyze the concepts and spatial patterns of social transformation through the collection, interpretation and  presentation of relevant geographic data.
Means of Assessment

The evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy.  The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria during the first week of classes.


An example of an evaluation scheme would be:

Quizzes  30%
Poster presentation  25%
Project  15%
Preparation & participation    10%
Final exam  20%
Total 100%
Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students


Texts will be updated periodically.  A typical example of a text would be:


Knox, P. L. (2000).  Urban Social Geography:  An Introduction.  New York: John Wiley & Sons.