AP3A99-Plants, greenspace and urban sustainability

Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: Basic understanding of plant functioning OR A level Science or equivalent
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Prof Paul Hadley

Email: p.hadley@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

To provide the student with an overview of the role of green infrastructure in supporting sustainable living in urban environments. Green plants in urban setting provide numerous ecosystem services, which will be discussed during the module, and would apply to the ecosystem issues in developed as well as the developing world. Case studies will be used to illustrate our relationship with the urban landscape and wider environmental issues. The module has a strong focus on urban environments and the use of appropriate greening interventions to improve human health and quality of life.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Assessable outcomes
-Identify environmental problems and suggest appropriate design and management interventions in urban landscapes that may help address or mitigate these problems.
-Identify the integral role certain urban greening interventions have in satisfying human nutritional, environmental and welfare needs.
-Critically evaluate terms and concepts associated with the management of the environment - ‘ecosystem services’, ‘green infrastructure’ ‘carbon footprint’ etc.
-Be familiar with the latest research findings associated with one or more of the key subject areas.

Additional outcomes:
Communication and debating skills will be developed in the lectures / seminars. Students should be able to formulate arguments and develop independent thinking.

Outline content:
The module will run over 10 weeks as a series of lectures, seminars and visits covering:
1 Climate change and lifestyle implications
2 Sustainable landscape management and carbon footprint
3 Plants for places - physiological adaptation in ornamental and landscape plants to urban stress factors
4 Green roofs / walls and the provision of ecosystem services
5 Allotments and home-grown food
6 Plants and sustainable living (biofuels, wood products, waste management)
7 Urban green-space and environmental modification
8 Inner-city nature reserves, conservation and biodiversity
9 Student seminars
10 Student seminars

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
There will be a two-hour lecture slot each week covering lecture and seminar. Students will be asked to review both a scientific publication (assigned to them) and a lay article of their choice within the broad subject area of the module.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 8
Tutorials 12
External visits 4
Guided independent study 76
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 60
Oral assessment and presentation 40

Other information on summative assessment:
Review of a scientific paper assigned to the student, highlighting contribution to understanding within a specialised area. Students will provide critical comment on the content, approaches and conclusions of the paper. Oral presentation with written summary.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    A two-hour examination in the Summer Term requiring answers to two questions out of four.

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    By re-examination in August / September only.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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