A86031 Economics and the city - How to use financial and economic analysis to shape cities

Scuola di Economia e Management
Academic Year 2013/14 First and Second Semester

Docente TitolareGiovanni Padula
Office"Torre" (main tower), 4th floor

Learning Objectives

Learning targets

Course Content

Economics and the City

How to use financial and economic analysis to shape cities

Academic year: 2013-2014

Instructor: Giovanni Padula


Both public and private sectors need well-trained professionals to analyze and manage investment projects rooted in specific urban territory and aimed at boosting local economic performance. These professionals help optimize ROI, reduce investment risk, and maximize positive economic impact, which in turn help cities, regions, or real estate owners/developers attract private investment.


The course aims to provide students with the economic and financial analysis tools necessary to design, assess and manage investment projects that depend on local economic factors and influence local economic development. Both corporate and public investment projects will be considered, particularly those with real estate and infrastructural components. The objective is to empower students with the capacity to interpret and carry out territory-based investment projects. The course integrates different disciplines (regional and urban economics, corporate finance, urban planning) endowing students with an original set of analytical tools to be implemented in the field.


The course will consist of six three-hour sessions that merge theory and practical application. The course is designed to foster students’ ability to integrate theory and conceptual understanding with practical experience and implementation. Note: practical application sessions are based on case studies and in class team work.


New approaches are illustrated, especially in the field of urban economics, economic geography, local economic development, industrial policy and economics of innovation.

Practical application

Students learn how to manage a set of tools for the financial and economic analysis of territorial investment projects. These sessions require university level knowledge of corporate financial analysis and statistics for social sciences. This part of the course is organized in six sessions and will cover the following topics:

- Using socio-economic market research tools to examine a territorial investment project;

- Building and analyzing a financial and economic feasibility study and an economic impact study;

- Gathering and interpreting local economic data and statistics;

- Assessing relationships between urban planning and urban economics;

- Scouting economic opportunities and attracting investment capital.


- Geltner-Miller, Commercial Reat Estate, Analysis & Investments, Cengate Learning, 2007 Downtown Madison Market Analysis, 2007 (University of Wisconsin Extension). Chapters 6,8,28 and 29.

- Andres Rodriguez-Pose, Economists as geographers and geographers as something else: On the changing conception of distance in geography and economics - Institute IMDEA, Working paper series, 2010/22

- Dani Rodrik, The Return of Industrial Policy, Project Syndicate, April 2010

- Edward Glaeser, Triumph of the City - The Penguin Press, 2011, Chapters 5, 6 and 9.

- Enrico Moretti, The New Geography of Jobs - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. Introduction and Chapter 1.

- Brendan O'Flaherty, City Economics, Harvard University Press, 2005. Chapters 1,2 and 18.

Note: additional  readings will be made available in class


Class team work and class presentations are both very important for the final evaluation.

Attending students

Final evaluation based on:

Class presentation worth 30%

Written exam worth 70%

Non attending students: please contact the instructor


Course Delivery

Course Evaluation

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