Strategies for Urban Studies Essay Writing

Writing guide
Posted on January 16, 2019

When students hear the words urban studies, they think about issues affecting urban centers and their development. Admittedly, the development of urban centers and issues affecting urban settlements is part of the elements that characterize urban studies. The discipline concerns exploration of why people move or live in cities, the physical environmental features that influence their behavior, the history of suburb development from an architectural point of view, intractable issues that result from urban development, and possible solutions to the problems. Urban studies is an important area of study, but one that would not pickle the curiosity of every student. Consequently, lecturers assign students urban studies essays as they seek to not only assess their knowledge of the subject before and after exposure to content but also trigger their curiosity on the subject. Moreover, the essay writing assignments help in improving your writing skills and analytical abilities.

When professors ask you to write an urban studies essay, they are simply asking you to ponder on:

  • your understanding of the urban studies field of study;
  • your ability to select and explore appropriate urban studies topics;
  • your ability to relate theoretical concepts to issues in urban development;
  • your ability to explore concepts in urban studies and draw conclusions.

When writing your urban studies essay, keep in mind the above elements to guide you in writing essays that meet your instructor’s expectations and help you to gain effective writing skills. This urban studies essay writing guide provides tips that will help you in your writing process, from preparation to the writing aspects, to the post writing part of essay crafting.

Pre-Writing Tips: Let’s Get It Started!

Writing an essay is a process. Thus, it is time to alter your expectations if you think you can come up with a well-written essay after spending one or two hours on your computer. Writing high-quality essays in urban studies involves several steps. Prewriting tips denote the things you should engage in before writing down the first draft of your essay. The pre-writing steps that will be helpful in the writing process are as listed below.

  • Topic selection. Selecting a topic for your essay is the most important aspect of prewriting. Conduct preliminary research before settling for an essay topic and select topics you are familiar with and interested in.
  • Brainstorming. This involves recollecting your memory on issues associated with urban development and other areas of urban studies and associating thoughts, ideas, and knowledge on the subject with the essay task. At this point, you do not sort the ideas. Rather, write down any ideas that come up to help you in structuring concepts and making inquiries regarding issues pertaining to topics in urban studies.
  • Researching. Conducting research comes after brainstorming, and it involves investigating information relating to ideas you came up with during the brainstorming phase, as well as summarizing, and interpreting the searched information. The research should be purposeful and should focus on the theme of your chosen field of study.
  • Note taking. Focus your efforts and research approach on the essay’s subject matter and take sufficient notes when reading through the researched articles. Taking notes lays down the important elements of your topics and saves you considerable time when writing the essay.
  • Making an outline. Now that you have a general idea of what to write about, the topic of your essay, and the materials you need to incorporate in your essay, you should make an outline of what content should be added in the introduction, the body part of the essay, and the conclusion. Importantly, create an outline that helps develop various themes of the essay. Outlining helps you in thought and idea organization in a logical manner. Outlining ideas forms the structured part of the prewriting process.

Working On Your Urban Studies Essay Topic: Tips from Our Top Freelance Academic Writers

Chances are the topic for your urban studies essay has been selected and handed to you by your professor. In such a case, part of the essay writing process has been eliminated for you, which indicates that you can jump to the next steps. However, you need to analyze the general outline of the given topic to understand whether the topic requires you to analyze, apply, or evaluate a certain aspect of urban planning and urban studies. If you feel the topic is too narrow or too broad, discuss it with your supervisor to come up with a manageable topic.

On numerous occasions, professors provide you with an opportunity to select a topic within the urban studies scope of study for your essay. Although the idea of beginning the writing process with topic selection may appear intimidating, it provides you with the required flexibility to select an urban studies topic that interests and challenges you. Follow the step below to understand the process of topic selection.

  • Define your essay’s purpose. Before settling on a topic, think about the objective of your essay. Does your essay aim at analyzing, informing, persuading, evaluating, or applying concepts into daily practice? In this case, ask yourself if your purpose is to persuade people to adopt certain practices to mitigate risks associated with urban development, or explain to the reader the history of city development from an architectural perspective, or to educate them on the interactions they have with their physical environment.
  • Brainstorm on topics of interest. Write down some topics in the urban studies field of study that interest you after defining the purpose of your essay. In case you face problems coming up with suitable topics, think about your surroundings and things that interest you and are in line with subjects in urban studies. Do not evaluate the topics you come up with yet.
  • Evaluate each potential topic. Evaluation of the topics you come up with occurs at this stage. Consider each topic individually and evaluate which of them fits your purpose, the scope, availability of sources, and your interest in the topic and ability to tackle it. Base the topic selection on the number of ideas you have and availability of literature.

The examples below provide you with an overview of urban studies essay topics:

  • Affordable Housing for Low-Income Families;
  • Sustainable Development Practices Suitable in Reducing Urbanization Problems;
  • History of Sustainable Urban Development in Canada;
  • Economic Forces that Influence the Development of Cities;
  • Methods Used in Measuring Characteristics of Urban Centers.

The Main Terms that Define Urban Studies Essays

Urban studies essays can be written for analysis, application, or evaluation of urban practices and architectural elements that characterize the growth of urban centers.

  • Analysis. In urban studies, the term denotes the actual definition that entails breaking down a concept into smaller parts to see how it works. During essays analysis, you need to think about each part of the topic and how it contributes to the success of the whole concept. In analyzing urban planning, for instance, analysis involves thinking about all factors that constitute the development of urban centers, from the engineering part to social aspects, political elements, and architectural dynamics. In such case, ensure the essay provides statements that can be explained step-by-step. An analysis of urban studies essay should answer the why and how questions rather than what, which is common in the summary-based essays.
  • Application. Whether the essay is purely based on application or analysis, the instructor will always look for your ability to apply concepts of your field of study into your essay. In this regard, you need to take your urban studies knowledge and apply it in practice, which is within the topic that you are going to explore in your writing. Therefore, you need to understand terms, concepts, and their definitions, and theories and how they can be used in practice.
  • Evaluation. Evaluation type of essays requires you to participate in the writing and research process completely. Ensure you provide the wider context of the chosen urban studies topic and assess the ability of specific elements that define the topic to apply in different situations. Include arguments and counter-arguments and state facts and evidence that influenced your categorization of concepts as either positive or negative for the essay.
  • Persuasion. Some essay topics will require you to persuade the general population, engineers, or architects to adopt sustainable practices for urban development. To write such as paper, you need to structure the essay in such a way that you use and provide evidence and arguments that convince the reader to agree with your point of view on urban sustainability.

    For a persuasive essay, ask yourself the following questions:

    • Do I have the right type of information needed to convince the readers about sustainable urban practices?
    • What type of statistics, evidence, and facts do I need to present to my audience?

    Responses to the noted questions will help in determining the keywords you need to use in the essay and during the search process.

Appropriate Structure for an Urban Studies Essay

A proper outline of the urban studies essay should have at least three main parts: an introduction, main body, and a conclusion. The outline should appear as indicated below:

  • Introduction. The introduction should take about 10% of the essay, and it should explain how you interpret the essay title, issues that the essay will explore, the main focus of the essay, and an outline of other parts of the essay. The thesis statement and the purpose statement should also be written towards the last sentences of the introduction.
  • Essay body. The main body of the essay should take up 80% of the essay. It is the main part of the essay, and it contains numerous paragraphs depending on the number of ideas you intend to explore concerning the essay themes. Each paragraph should develop and explore your major arguments. Moreover, present evidence that supports the claims you make in each paragraph. The number of paragraphs you write depends on the length of the essay and the number of major claims you intend to discuss.

    Ask yourself the following questions when writing each paragraph:

    • What does the paragraph discuss?
    • What argument am I presenting in this paragraph?
    • What evidence do I have to support the claims I make and what is its implication?
    • How does the paragraph link to the essay topic and title?
  • Conclusion. Similar to the introduction, the concluding part of the essay should constitute approximately 10% of the essay. At this point, do not introduce any new idea or theme because the section is meant to summarize your major arguments. You should:
    • restate your thesis statement,
    • summarize the essay,
    • describe why your essay is significant,
    • make recommendations were necessary.

In some cases, the recommendation is written as a stand-alone text after the conclusion. The conclusion and recommendation should link to the essay’s title. While some students prefer writing the sections as they appear in the final draft, some prefer writing the body, followed by the introduction and finally the conclusion segment.

Post Writing Tips to Ensure You Actually Did It!

Proofreading and referencing constitute the most important elements that ensure your essay is appropriate and capable of helping you attain a high grade.

  • Proofreading. Proofreading involves going through the essay several times to eliminate grammar mistake and other errors. Follow the steps below on how to proofread your essay:
    • Take a break. Do not engage in proofreading immediately after writing the essay. Taking a one-hour or two-hour break will make mistakes more apparent, and proofreading will be easier.
    • Minimize distractions. Once you are back from the break, mute your phone and ensure you are in a quiet environment to provide the proofreading session undivided attention. However, some people work best in noisy environments.
    • Read Aloud. Reading aloud allows you to vocalize the written words. The process will provide you with an opportunity to hear and see any sentence structure, grammar, and content coherence flaws. In this case, missing commas and full stops are readily visible when reading through the essay.
  • Referencing. Ensure you acknowledge every borrowed idea using the appropriate referencing methods.
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