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

Postgraduate Course: Land, Community, Power (fusion on-site) (EFIE11183)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh Futures Institute CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryWhat are the social, political and ethical foundations of sustainability in lands and cities? This course introduces students to new and diverse ways of organising communities and societies through land ownership and management models, explaining the relevance of cultural, political and legal dimensions of land governance. It will provide a foundational understanding of key legal and development frameworks and explore a diversity of case studies in rural and urban contexts.
Course description The course offers students an opportunity to engage with key legal and philosophical concepts relating to property and ownership, and to think creatively about solutions to climate change, resource scarcity and conflict.

Discussions will focus on case studies where innovation in land governance has brought benefits for sustainability and sustainable communities, for example smart city innovation in MedellĂ­n, Colombia, rights of nature in rural Maori Lands, New Zealand or collective ownership in rural and urban Scotland.

Students will be encouraged to visit community-owned places in Edinburgh (e.g., Bellefield Church in Portobello, or Bridgend Community Farm), or to identify and visit ones in their own locality. This will enable students to see the impacts of theory in practice and to understand the relevance of their studies to society.

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
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  20
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 2, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 6, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 6, Formative Assessment Hours 3, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 81 )
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) 1500 Word Case-Note or Feasibility Study (100%)

A case-note or feasibility study setting out the interests of stakeholders and an overview of relevant literature or precedent, no greater than 1500 words. The case-note will address all of the learning outcomes for this course.

The course work will be submitted 4 weeks following the completion of the intensive days.

Students will have the opportunity to receive feedback on their draft assessment two weeks prior to submission.
Feedback Formative feedback will be given throughout the course. There will be three ways in which formative feedback will be given.

1) During online supervised reading group, the supervisor will offer formative feedback on developing engagement and understanding of the key texts.
2) During the two intensive days, a formative feedback session will be held at the end of each day.
3) Formative feedback will be offered on a draft case note or feasibility study 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 land ownership.
  2. Relate knowledge, skills and understanding to new contexts and challenges.
  3. Undertake critical analysis, evaluation and/or synthesis of ideas, concepts, information and issues that are within the common understandings in land governance.
  4. Convey complex ideas in well-structured and coherent form.
Reading List
Essential Reading:

Joshua Bennett. 2020. Being Property Once Myself. Harvard U Press.

Jessica Shoemaker, 2020. An Introduction to American Indian Land Tenure: Mapping the Legal Landscape. Online:

Michael Watts. 2004. Antinomies of community: some thoughts on geography, resources and empire.

Katherine Sanders. 2017. Beyond Human Ownership.

Robinson. 2020. Charter of the Forest.

Alastair Parvin. 2020. A New Land Contract.

Jim Hunter. 1976. The Making of the Crofting Community.

Shields, 'Dances with Lairds' in The Social Life of Land, Wendy Wolford and Nancy Peluso eds. Cornell pub. 2022.

Recommended Reading:

Madeleine Fairbairn, 2020. Fields of Gold. Online:

Andro Linklater, 2013. Owning the Earth. Bloomsbury pubs.

Simon Fairlie. 2009. A Short History of Enclosure in Britain.

Brett Cristophers, 2018. The New Enclosure: The Appropriation of Public Land in Neo-Liberal Britain.

Alastair McIntosh, 2020. Rekindling Community: Connecting People, Environment and Spirituality.

Alastair McIntosh, 2020. Riders on the Storm: The Climate Crisis and the Survival of Being

A. Fiona. D. Mackenzie. 2012. Places of Possibility: Property, Nature and Community Land Ownership:

Wendy Wolford. 2010. This Land is Ours Now.

Michael Watts. 2004. The Sinister Political Life of Community: Economies of Violence and Governable Spaces in the Niger Delta.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Research and Enquiry:
Graduates will be able to conduct independent research, think analytically and critically: developed by investigating on complex dynamics through theory and policy, 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,Sustainable Lands and Cities,Sustainability,Land,Community,Power
Course organiserDr Kirsteen Shields
Course secretaryMiss Yasmine Lewis
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