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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh Futures Institute : Edinburgh Futures Institute

Postgraduate Course: Envisioning Sustainable Lands and Cities (fusion on-site) (EFIE11171)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh Futures Institute CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryWhat do sustainable lands and cities look and feel like? This course explores lands and cities through the work of foundational thinkers and policy makers in the field. Drawing on these intellectual foundations, you will be invited to design plans to improve sustainability in lands and cities, in rural and urban contexts.

You will interrogate case studies of real world examples of sustainability interventions (such as zero waste towns and community supported agriculture) and hear from experts in the field, before working with partners to design sustainability interventions for a place or context that matters to you.
Course description Sustainability is a widely used term but is often difficult to define with clarity. It operates across a multitude of disciplines and can be interpreted in countless ways. Rather than promoting a particular ideological path, this course provides students with a moment to learn, reflect, contextualise and develop an understanding of 'sustainability'.

This course introduces students to key thinkers in the field to surface the key trends, themes and limitations of current debates and approaches. Students will be invited to apply and critique these approaches to develop sustainability-challenge case studies, and to design plans to integrate issues of socio-spatial justice, equality and quality of life.

The course integrates the historical evolution of sustainable and ecological thought with contemporary approaches and analyses of sustainability. Students will be introduced to the wide range of stakeholders tackling sustainability, and the tools and approaches that they use. We will look at how sustainable discourses are represented in text and image, and how this acts both as a call to action and as a realisation of what sustainable environments could be like. Students will also be invited to explore some of the underlying fundamental questions as to our relationship with nature and with each other.

The course will focus on two days of intensive study, with various activities (e.g. lectures and reading groups) happening in advance, and assessment activities (a presentation and an online portfolio) following the intensive days.

Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) - On-Site Fusion Course Delivery Information:

The Edinburgh Futures Institute will teach this course in a way that enables online and on-campus students to study together. This approach (our 'fusion' teaching model) offers students flexible and inclusive ways to study, and the ability to choose whether to be on-campus or online at the level of the individual course. It also opens up ways for diverse groups of students to study together regardless of geographical location. To enable this, the course will use technologies to record and live-stream student and staff participation during their teaching and learning activities.

Students should be aware that:
- Classrooms used in this course will have additional technology in place: students might not be able to sit in areas away from microphones or outside the field of view of all cameras.
- Unless the lecturer or tutor indicates otherwise you should assume the session is being recorded.

As part of your course, you will need access to a personal computing device. Unless otherwise stated activities will be web browser based and as a minimum we recommend a device with a physical keyboard and screen that can access the internet.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 2, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 2, Online Activities 4, Formative Assessment Hours 4, Other Study Hours 4, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 82 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) Other Study: Scheduled Group-work Hours (hybrid online/on-campus) - 4
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Summative Assessment:

The course will be assessed by means of the following assessment components:

1) 1000 Word Sustainability Plan: Portfolio + Written Commentary (100%)

A concise sustainability plan in the form of a portfolio with an accompanying written commentary no greater than 1000 words. The portfolio may consist of image, video, text or audio recording. It will document an approach to sustainability and record the processes and outcomes of the two-day intensives. The portfolio will address all of the learning outcomes for this course.

The course work will be submitted 4 weeks following the completion of the two-day intensives. Students will have the opportunity to receive feedback on their drafts two weeks prior to submission.
Feedback Formative feedback will be given throughout the course.

There will be three key ways in which formative feedback will be given:

1) The pre-intensive supervised reading group session will offer students an opportunity for feedback on their reading and understandings of the texts.
2) During intensive day 2, peer feedback will be offered on presentations.
3) Academic staff will offer formative feedback on a draft portfolio submission.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the key theories and narratives in discourses in sustainable lands and cities.
  2. Apply knowledge, skills and understanding to effectively engage with emerging challenges affecting sustainability in land and cities.
  3. Deal with complex issues and engage creatively and develop a cogent intellectual and ethical position in relation to sustainable lands and cities.
  4. Communicate effectively using a range of techniques accessible to non-expert audiences.
  5. Operate effectively in collaborative environments that reflects on own and others' ethical positions.
Reading List
Essential Reading:

Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future. 1987. 'The Brundtland Report'.

IPCC Report 2022;

Javier Martinez, Claudia Andrea Mikkelsen, & Rhonda Phillips. 2021. Handbook of Quality of Life and Sustainability. Springer.

Recommended Reading:

Laura Watts. 2019. Energy at the End of the World. MIT Press.

Cal Flynn. 2022. Islands of Abandonment. William Collins Press.

Ellie Harrison. 2019. The Glasgow Effect. Luath Press.

James Rebanks. 2021. English Pastoral: An Inheritance. Penguin Press.

George Monbiot. 2014. Feral: Rewilding the Land, Sea and Human Life.

Rachel Carson. 1962. Silent Spring. Penguin (republished).

Conor Mark Jameson. 2013. Silent Spring Revisited. A&C Black.

Welter and Lawson (eds). 2000. The City After Patrick Geddes. Verlag Peter Lang pubs.

Robert Stephens. 2022. Ahmedabad Walls: A circumambulation with Patrick Geddes. Altrim Pubs.

Caroline Criado Perez. 2020. Invisible Women. Vintage pubs.

Greta Thunberg. 2019. No One is Too Small to Make a Difference. Penguin.

John Seed et al. 2007. Thinking Like A Mountain: Towards a Council of All Beings. New Catalyst Books.

Walter Stephen. 2015. Think Global Act Local: Life and Legacy of Patrick Geddes. Luath Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Research and Enquiry:
Graduates will be able to conduct independent research, think analytically and critically: developed by investigating complex dynamics through theory and quantitative data, and evaluating information thoroughly.

Personal and Intellectual Autonomy:
Graduates will be able to think creatively and engage in independent learning: developed by being challenged with complexity and incentivised in thinking outside the box.

Personal Effectiveness:
Graduates will be able to work collaboratively: developed through team working, recognising and capitalising on individuals' different thinking, working with people from a range of cultures and backgrounds.

Ability to develop oral and written communication of complex ideas and arguments: developed through a range of activities that involve public speaking and scientific reporting/writing.
KeywordsEFI,Level 11,PG,Sustainability,Sustainable Lands and Cities
Course organiserDr Rowan Jackson
Tel: (0131 6)51 4340
Course secretaryMiss Yasmine Lewis
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