This course introduces students to the inter-disciplinary field of urban studies which will be centred around the key object of urban studies, the city. The course explores why and how cities form and develop as well as decay, how cities function, the nature of everyday life in the city, the key problems confronting cities and how cities can address such challenges. A main focus of this course is the apparent paradox of the city – cities are the centres of vibrant lives, creativity, wealth accumulation, incubators of new cultures, origins of political reforms etc, yet at the same time, many cities also exhibit high concentrations of crime, poverty and inequality. There is the utopian and dystopian city, the cohesive and conflictual city. The course will consider how such urban contradictions are examined and explained by different theoretical approaches with theories being drawn from economics, sociology, geography, anthropology etc. Examples from Hong Kong, China and other Asian countries as well as from Europe and the United States will be drawn upon as illustrations.