APMA96-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 / equivalent Science
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2013/4

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:
-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
Seminars 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 70
Written assignment including essay 30

Other information on summative assessment:
Coursework: 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.

Relative percentage of coursework: 30%

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Length of examination:
A two-hour examination requiring answer to one question out of three in summer exam. (70%)

Requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:
Re-examination in August / September.

Last updated: 23 April 2013

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