- UCAS course code
- UCAS institution code
Year of entry: 2023
- View tabs
- View full page
Course unit details:
Designing Sustainable Futures
|Unit level||Level 1|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 1|
|Available as a free choice unit?||Yes|
Recent catastrophic extreme weather events, from hurricanes to major flooding, have highlighted the potential risks posed by climate change. Concern over issues such as flooding, water supply, heat waves, poor air quality and food security are driving innovations in the design of buildings and landscapes, transport, and food systems and manufacturing processes.
Human settlements have impacts on ecosystems far beyond their boundaries, via their supply chains and the impacts of their infrastructure. These exacerbate climate change processes and environmental degradation, including loss of natural habitats and food production capacity. Over recent decades, strategies and actions to respond to these challenges have emerged under the broad umbrella of sustainable development. This will require new approaches in all of the built environmental professions and creative thinking across sectors and professions.
To provide a grounding of understanding in the Earth’s systems and the biosphere
To explore the relation between humankind and the natural environment
To consider a range of sustainability challenges faced by society
To develop skills in applying sustainability principles
To explore the role of different sectors and professionals (including planners, environmental managers, real estate & development professionals, designers, community planners and communities) in moving towards more sustainable futures
Sustainability & civilisation: a primer
The Anthropocene & climate change
Drivers of change & systems thinking
Navigating towards sustainability
Global challenges & urban futures – developing skills in navigating towards sustainability
Climate change mitigation & the low-carbon economy
Sustainable living & principles of ecological design
Climate change adaptation & green and blue infrastructure
Citizen engagement & creativity in rethinking the future
Human creativity & change: towards a circular economy
Study Skills workshops:
How to reference
Fundamentals of essay writing
Structuring an essay
Teaching and learning methods
This course is organised to give you a progressive introduction to issues connected with sustainability challenges and responses to them, with sessions throughout the module building on earlier work.
Lectures are supported by associated materials contained on Blackboard, including video clips, web links and articles for wider reading.
Knowledge and understanding
Appreciate the range of issues and agendas connected to sustainability
Recognise the main environmental threats confronting human societies
Demonstrate awareness of key principles and approaches for moving towards sustainable futures
Show an understanding of key policy instruments and the role of different sectors concerned with sustainability and responding to climate change
- Developing writing skills
- Conducting literature-based research reviews
- Developing powers of synthesising information and writing a coherent argument
- Critical analysis and systems thinking
Using a framework of sustainability to assess approaches to the managing the built and natural environment
Transferable skills and personal qualities
Managing time effectively
Reflective approach to professional development
Assignment 1 – Field visit and group work assessment of two sites – 25% of marks
Assignment 2 –Individual essay
Length: 2000 words (excluding references)
Substantive, written feedback for all assignments is provided through TurnItIn on Blackboard.
Opportunities for peer learning and formative feedback to students are built in throughout the module. Interactive workshops and the groupwork activity based on the field trip are designed to build skills in applying sustainability principles and critical thinking, as well as to give an opportunity for the tutors to give formative feedback on assignments.
At various intervals throughout the module, interactive learning evaluations will be given, to be completed in class, with discussion of the answers in class. These are designed to give immediate formative feedback on understanding of key concepts of the module, and to provide an ongoing opportunity to review learning. These offer an opportunity for self-assessment of learning and feedback on the learning. They will provide information to the course tutor to help steer the teaching, but will not be used to influence the mark for the module.
The tutor is available to discuss issues in relation to the module at the lectures and workshops and during office hours.
Feedback from students is gathered from informal discussions during workshops and from module review forms at the end of the module.
Agyeman, J. (2005) Sustainable communities and the challenge of environmental justice, New York, New York University Press
Barton H., Grant, H., and Guise, R., (2010) Shaping Neighbourhoods (Second Edition), Spon Press, London.
Beatley, T. 2000. Green Urbanism. Island Press, Washington.
Birkeland, Janis... 2008. Positive development: from vicious circles to virtuous cycles through built environment design. London: EARTHSCAN.
Bulkeley, Harriet. 2012. Cities and Climate Change, Taylor & Francis Ltd.
Davoudi, S., Crawford, J., and Mehmood, A. (eds). 2009. Planning for Climate Change: Strategies for Mitigation and Adaptation for Spatial Planners. Earthscan, London.
Hamdi, N., 2010. The placemaker's guide to building community. London : Earthscan
Haughton G and C. Hunter (1994) Sustainable Cities, Jessica Kingsley, London.
Hough, M. 2006. Cities and Natural Process. Routledge, London.
O’Riordan, T. (ed.) (2000) Environmental Science for Environmental Management, Prentice Hall, Harlow, 2nd edition
Pelling M. 2010. Adaptation to Climate Change: From Resilience to Transformation. Taylor and Francis, Hoboken. Available on line through library.
Rosenzweig, C., Solecki, W.D., Hammer, S. A., Mehrohtra, S., (Eds). 2011. Climate Change and Cities First Assessment Report of the Urban Climate Change Research Network. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Available to view online at: http://uccrn.org/publications/
Richardson K. et al. 2011. Climate change: global risks, challenges and decisions. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Available on line through library.
Roaf, Sue; Crichton, David and Nicol., Fergus. 2004. Adapting buildings and cities for climate change : a 21st century survival guide, Oxford: Architectural Press http://library.uniteddiversity.coop/Ecological_Building/Adapting_Buildings_and_Cities_for_Climate_Change.pdf
Rydin, Y. 2010. Governing for Sustainable Urban Development. Earthscan, London.
Sarkissian, W., Hurford, D., Wenman, C. 2010.Creative community planning: transformative engagement methods for working at the edge, London, Earthscan
Wates, N. (2017), 'The community planning handbook: How people can shape their cities, towns and villages in any part of the world', Taylor and Francis, London http://www.communityplanning.net/index.php
Wheeler, S. M. and Beatley, T. (Editors) (2014) Sustainable Urban Development Reader (Routledge Urban Reader Series) Paperback
Wondolleck, J. M.,Yaffee, S. L..2000. Making Collaboration Work - Lessons from Innovation in Natural Resource Management. Washington D.C. Island Press
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Independent study hours|
|Joanne Tippett||Unit coordinator|