Special topics in criminology – Crime and the city

Offer semester
1st semester

Lecture time
Monday 18:30 – 21:20

Lecture venue

Course description

According to the United Nations projections in 2018, 55% of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. What are the social impacts of such dramatic urban growth in cities across the world? How do cities produce and respond to the new fault lines of inequality, conflict, social harm, criminality and transgression in urban life? Why do some people retreat into fortified enclaves for protection while others derive excitement from doing edgework in the city?


This course examines some of the key questions and debates about crime, order and disorder in city landscapes. It focuses on three broad issues: competing meanings and practices of the city (the ‘what’ and the ‘who’ questions); the relationship between crime, space and place (the ‘where’ and the ‘how’ questions); and the complex mix of informal and formal social controls that influence different types and levels of crime and deviance and the urban imagination.

Course learning outcomes

  1. Apply criminological knowledge
  2. Conduct criminological analysis
  3. Communicate effectively


Group Project30%
Individual Reports20%

Required reading

Atkinson, R. and Millington, G. (2018), Urban Criminology – The City, Disorder, Harm and Social Control, London: Routledge.

Recommended reading

Innes, M. (2014), Signal Crimes: Social Reactions to Crime, Disorder and Control, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kwok, E. (2019), ‘Little Manila: An unlikely crowd of resistance in Hong Kong’, Architectural Theory Review, 23: 287-314.

Garmany, J. and Galdeano, A. (2018), ‘Crime, insecurity and corruption: Considering the growth of urban private security’, Urban Studies 55(5): 1111-1120.

Course co-ordinator and teachers