Since 2007, more people in the world live in urban than in rural areas. Between slums and smart cities, they inhabit a world of social conflict, ecological crisis and contending visions of the future. As cities become even more central to social experience and aspiration, we need to understand their place in history and in human imagination. This course looks at cities through three thematic lenses: accumulation, order and identity. It studies cities in relation to the countryside, tracing flows of people and goods that create wealth and poverty. It examines the spatial politics of managing urban populations, from planning to securitisation. It analyses cities as places where cultural identities – parochial and progressive – are formed and defended. It introduces urban studies as a critical area of sociology and anthropology.