Instructor Information Course Information
Anthony Howell, PhD Course Meeting Time: TBA
Office: #322 School of Economics Bldg. Office Hours: By Appt.
Email: Course Website: Piazza Link


At the heart of geographical economics and sciences (GES) is understanding the role of space and human-environment interactions influence social welfare at the individual, regional, national and global levels. Changes in the spatial distribution of social, environmental and economic phenomena tend to be self-reinforcing and, in many cases, lead to varied and uneven regional development outcomes, which helps explain why some regions (countries) grow more quickly than others. This course is useful for all those who are interested in the area of local and regional development, and who may wish to pursue careers related to economic development, business development, management, finance, geography or planning.


Activity Grade Contribution
Quizzes 15%
Group Debates 10%
Group POGIL Exercises 15%
Proposal 10%
Group Final Paper/Presentation 50%

Quizes: Mini-quizzes will be given on occasion to ensure students remain engaged during lectures and group debates.

Group Debates: Each student will be required to sign-up and participate in a debate regarding a relevant current-event selected by the instructor. More information will be provided in class.

POGIL Excercises — Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning: This course is designed to provide students with on-hands training in analyzing and visualizing relevant data using open-source statistical software R and Rstudio. POGIL Exercises will begin as in-class activities led by instructor guidance and may then be extended as homework, if necessary.

Final project: Projects will be done in small groups of 2-3 students. Groups will perform an exploratory analysis of a data set of your choosing, with an emphasis on data visualizations and professional report writing based on skills developed in class. Each group will submit a short report (approx. 10-15 pages), data (if possible), code, and tables/figures.

A note about the Final Project: Projects are one of the most important learning tools of this class. The final project is entirely to the discretion of the group (upon instructor approval). Students are free to explore a problem of their interest and propose their own solution.

Piazza and WeChat Groups

I have created a Piazza for the course. All course resources will be posted to piazza, including the course syllabus, lecture materials, guidelines for group debates, and helpful tutorials for learning R. The WeChat group and the Piazza forum serve as discussion forums for the class in order to facilitate interaction between students and to promote broader participation. Students are expected to conduct themselves with respect by posting comments and replies only in the context of the course. Use the Piazza group to ask general questions about the homework, group debates, and lectures. You can also paste small snippets of code (on Piazza) to clarify an idea. Students are encouraged to answer each others’ questions. Recall that your thoughtful participation in this forum accounts for part of your final grade.

Class Attendance

Class attendance is expected and note taking encouraged. Important information may be communicated only in the lectures. We may also cover additional material (not available in the notes) during the lecture. If you miss a lecture, you should find what material was covered and if any announcement was made. Handouts for each course lecture will be posted on the course website. Quiz questions will be based entirely from lectures.


Excessive tardiness or absences will negatively affect your final grade. Any late work will be subject to a 5% grade reduction for each late day. Plagiarism is not allowed in any form. To avoid distractions, please do not use your cell phones or surf the web during class.


I value students’ opinions regarding my teaching effectiveness and the content, pace and level of difficulty of the course. I will take student feedback in consideration to make this course as exciting and engaging as possible. Thus, I will ask students for feedback through the semester by giving students a short survey on my teaching effectiveness, preferred teaching methods, and pace of the class. You can also leave anonymous feedback in the form of a note in my departmental mail box.

Course Outline

Week Topic Reading Activity
Part I Geographical Sciences and Sustainable Development
1 Introduction to Geographical Economics and Sciences Uneven Impacts of Katrina, American Communities Project
2 Human-made changes to the physical environment Disappearing Arctic Lakes
3 Preserving biological diversity and protecting endangered ecosystems Urban expansion and habitat loss in China
4 Vulnerability and resilience in human-environment systems Social Vulnerability to Natural Hazards in the U.S. POGIL 1
5 Sustainable urbanization: Living in a world with, 10 billion people UN World Urbanization Prospects, Highlights
6 Feeding 10 billion people: The location of systems of food production and consumption Food Security: The Challenge of Feeding 9 Billion People POGIL 2
7 No Class No Assigned Readings
8 Group Presentations No Assigned Readings Research Proposal
Part II Geographical Economics and Development
9 New Economic Geography New Economic Geography
10 Clusters and regional development Clusters and Competition POGIL 3
11 Geography of Innovation Spillovers and Geography of Innovation
12 Evolutionary Economic Geography Technological Relatedness and Knowledge Space POGIL 4
13 Migration and Development Local Impacts of Syrian Refugees on Poverty in Turkey
14 Institutions and Development Institutions, Innovation and Regional Renewal
15 Student Presentations No Assigned Readings PREZI
16 No Class - Holiday No Assigned Readings Final Paper