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MFCO312 Communication and the City

The consequences of evolving communication and media technologies for cities, how they are represented, and for urban economies and ways of life.

When you walk through a city, you "make" the space around you. This is because your identity, occupation, emotions and the baggage you carry affect how you and others view the surrounding space. Is the city a relaxed place for you? One that produces anxiety? Are you interrupted or obstructed as you walk? Do you glide through the streets like a Dunedin seagull? City-spaces are sites of negotiation, contestation, vacation and entrapment for city inhabitants as they communicate and share city-space with other residents, businesses, animals and government authorities.

In MFCO 312, we will examine how our experiences of cities, their formation and governance are influenced by communication technologies and practices.

Paper title Communication and the City
Paper code MFCO312
Subject Media, Film and Communication
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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18 200-level MFCO or COMS points
Schedule C
Arts and Music
May not be credited together with COMS305 passed in 2006-2008.
Teaching staff

Convenor and Lecturer: Dr Olivier Jutel

Paper Structure
In MFCO 312 you will study cities in relation to four themes:
  • Cities and representation: how a city looks, its aesthetics, what it symbolises and whether it is considered beautiful or seedy are invested with political meanings and power relations
  • Digital cities: how the economic and cultural reach of cities has been extended beyond the material limits of geography through the rapid development of advanced communication technologies
  • Governance and the city: how do communication technologies, policing and surveillance create inclusions and exclusions of different types of citizens and animals within urban spaces?
  • Branding the city: how are cities branded, and which aspects of their history, design, culture or population are deemed of value?
  • Reading summaries: 10%
  • Presentation: 15%
  • Ethnographic exercise: 30%
  • Essay 40%
  • In-class test: 5%
Teaching Arrangements

One 2-hour lecture per week.
One 1-hour tutorial per week.


Course reader

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the paper will:

  • Articulate how cities have been transformed historically and technologically
  • Critically reflect on their own and others' experiences of cities as spaces of governance, commerce and leisure
  • Develop skills to respond creatively to the urban and demographic changes in cities bought about by communication technologies and practices

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Monday 14:00-14:50 28-34, 36-41
Wednesday 14:00-14:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
T1 Wednesday 15:00-15:50 29-33, 36-40
T2 Wednesday 16:00-16:50 29-33, 36-40
T3 Thursday 15:00-15:50 29-33, 36-40