Geography (GEOG) 311

Canadian Urban Development (Revision 1)

GEOG 311 course cover

GEOG 311 has been temporarily closed, effective October 25, 2018

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None

Precluded Course: GEOG 310 and SOSC 303 (GEOG 311 may not be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for GEOG 310 or SOSC 303).

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Human Geography Home Page

GEOG 311 has a Challenge for Credit option.


GEOG 311 explores the people, institutions, and processes that shape urban places in Canada. This geographical overview of the development of Canada’s urban places covers diverse topics such as urban planning, urban policy, urban governance, societal relations with nature in urban places, economic restructuring, and housing. While GEOG 311 focuses specifically on urbanization in Canada, this focus is contextualized, considering global processes of economic, cultural, and social change that impact Canadian urban residents.

Course Objectives

When you have completed Geography 311: Canadian Urban Development, you should be able to

  1. describe the relationship between economy, politics, and geography in a historical period in Canadian urbanization.
  2. explain the relationship between globalization and urbanization.
  3. discuss the relationship between the institutional and political frameworks of urban policy, and outline the effects of those frameworks on urban policy-making.
  4. critically discuss the shift to increasingly entrepreneurial modes of urban governance.
  5. identify the actors in the urban planning process, and describe the role played by each.
  6. discuss the various impacts of global economic restructuring on Canadian cities and towns.
  7. identify how conflicting meanings of housing in capitalist society affects urban planning and urban policy.
  8. discuss the concept of urban space as a hybrid of nature and society.


  • Unit 1: What Is the Urban?
  • Unit 2: The History of Urbanization in Canada
  • Unit 3: Urban Places in Canada Today
  • Unit 4: Urban Policy
  • Unit 5: Urban Governance
  • Unit 6: Urban Planning
  • Unit 7: Economic Restructuring
  • Unit 8: Housing
  • Unit 9: Urban Political Ecology


To receive credit for GEOG 311, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least a D (50 percent), and you must achieve a minimum grade of at least 50 per cent on the final examination. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1 15%
Assignment 2 25%
Assignment 3 35%
Final Exam 25%
Total 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials

The course materials include a course website, a print Reading File, online readings, a print Study Guide, and a CD-ROM (SimCity 4) that is used for one of the assignments.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the GEOG 311 challenge registration, you must achieve an overall course grade of D (50 percent) or greater to pass.

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1 25%
Assignment 2 35%
Exam 40%
Total 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, April 20, 2010.