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Urban and Regional Economics

Course Code: ECON 3445
Faculty: Commerce & Business Administration
Department: Economics
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 Weeks x 4 Hours per Week = 60 Hours
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

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.)

Methods of Instruction

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%

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.

course prerequisites

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

curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.