Politecnico di Torino
Politecnico di Torino
Politecnico di Torino
Academic Year 2017/18
Urban economy
1st degree and Bachelor-level of the Bologna process in Territorial, Urban, Environmental And Landscape Planning - Torino
1st degree and Bachelor-level of the Bologna process in Mechanical Engineering - Torino
1st degree and Bachelor-level of the Bologna process in Automotive Engineering - Torino
Teacher Status SSD Les Ex Lab Tut Years teaching
Buzzacchi Luigi   PO ING-IND/35 48 12 0 0 4
SSD CFU Activities Area context
ING-IND/35 6 D - A scelta dello studente A scelta dello studente
Subject fundamentals
While people live in cities to work, learn, obtain higher wages, consume and enjoy amenities, they also usually face higher costs, such as higher housing expenses, higher crime, congestion, and pollution. Why do individuals (people and firms) pay to cluster together in cities? Why some cities grow while others decline? Why are cities locally administrated? How can public policy improve the quality of physical space? How does the physical city interact with social outcomes?
This is an undergraduate course in urban economics, appropriate for students with no preparation in microeconomics. The course teaches core topics in the field of urban economics as well as fundaments in microeconomic analysis.
The theoretical framework for answering such questions is grounded on the ideas of spatial equilibria, natural advantages and agglomeration spillovers. This course illustrates the theories that explain the existence of cities and some of the benefits and challenges they present.
In addition to providing an explanation for urban and regional dynamics, the course will present tools and methods for understanding urban public policies (i.e. rent control, land use regulation, transportation policy, etc.), urban investments and the relationship between urban morphology, techno-economic phenomena and innovation.
Expected learning outcomes
Skills in:
- modelling and solving simple urban microeconomic problems;
- understanding urban land and resources indicators;
- critically reading economic documents that analyse territory and local administration issues;
- understanding how to evaluate public and private investments in a urban framework;
- writing short essays with local economics focus.
Prerequisites / Assumed knowledge
Basics of calculus
The course can be divided into three different parts. The first one provides the fundamentals of positive microeconomics; the second one is aimed at understanding the mechanisms underlying the emergence of relevant urban phenomena and at explaining the motivation for their public regulation; the third one analyses tools and methods for measuring the characters of the morphology of cities, for evaluating public and private urban investments and the way they are financed, with special attention to those belonging to housing and infrastructural projects. In particular:

PART 1 The allocation of scarce resources: market and planning, welfare theorems. Market failures and externalities; property rights: private and public goods, commons.
PART 2 Agglomeration theories, networks and platforms; the Ricardo model: housing and land rents, population heterogeneity, density and growth; urban regulation and local administration; analysis of urban morphology.
PART 3 Social and technological innovation in cities; public and private investment evaluation: discounted cash flow methods and cost-benefit analysis.
Texts, readings, handouts and other learning resources
Arthur O’Sullivan, Urban Economics, McGraw-Hill International, 2007; ch. 1-9
Lecture notes
Assessment and grading criteria
Final exam and mid-term evaluation:

1- written final exam with open and closed questions aimed at assessing the expected learning effects. The exam lasts two hours, bibliographic documents can be freely used by students; the test is composed of three-four questions and/or exercises with calculations and discussion of the results;
2- mid-term evaluation reports and discussion of cases. Such mid-term evaluations (and the relative importance in terms of the final evaluation) will be better conceived after observing the dimension of the classroom

Programma definitivo per l'A.A.2017/18

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