Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Code ENVS289
Coordinator Mrs CA Queen
Geography and Planning
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2021-22 Level 5 FHEQ Second Semester 15


This module is designed to provide an introduction and understanding of the dynamics of change in the countryside, and provide an examination of the role of key actors and agencies. The module will examine and critically evaluate policy initiatives for both the human and natural environments, and inter-relationships and tensions between the two.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) To understand the social dynamics within rural areas and appreciate the difficulties facing various groups in accessing services in rural areas including an appreciation of  of pressures on the natural heritage in rural areas;

(LO2) To understand the range of agency/policy responses to challenges facing rural communities;

(LO3) To appreciate the role of spatial planning in wrestling with multifunctionality in rural areas.

(S1) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills - written

(S2) Critical thinking and problem solving - Evaluation

(S3) Critical thinking and problem solving - Critical analysis

(S4) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Communicating for audience



The British countryside covers something like 80% of the land area of Britain and accommodates 20% of the population. It is an area of huge diversity, change and faces many challenges. The module examines the dynamics and diversity of rural areas in relation to three key themes (see below), recognising of course that these are all inter-related. The module will examine the policy responses to rural problems at the European, national, regional and local scales and the emergence of new institutional arrangements, most notably spatial planning as tool for reconciling these agendas. The three themes are:

Social and economic change in the countryside. This considers the dynamics of social change and looks at the policy responses in relation to housing in rural areas (focusing particularly on the affordability issue), rural diversification, and rural accessibility, including transport issues and access to services.

Rural resources. This examines the role of the countryside f rom the perspective of its contribution as a provider of primary economic resources, looking at agriculture, forestry, minerals and waste, and other issue.

Consumption of the countryside. This examines the way that the countryside is consumed by the urban population because of its natural beauty. Issues to be considered include landscape protection and management; protecting bio-diversity; managing designated areas (National Parks and ANOBs); recreation and access to the countryside.

In examining these themes in isolation it is important to understand that many of the issues are cross cutting and integrated with each other. Also the interaction of these three elements and the challenges and opportunities facing rural communities are very place dependant.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

The module consists of lectures which will be accompanied by a number of workshops/seminars.

The module includes a residential field class to a rural location to explore issues of rural planning.

All activities can revert to online should the need arise.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 10



Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 115


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Assessment 2 There is a resit opportunity. Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. Assessment Schedule (When) :Second  2500 words    70       
Assessment 1 There is a resit opportunity. Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. Assessment Schedule (When) :First  1500 words    30       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.