Module Catalogue 2019/20

GEO2224 : Sustainable Urban Development: Barcelona Field Course

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Gareth Powells
  • Lecturer: Dr Matt Jenkins, Dr Astrid Wood
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Code Title
GEO2043Key Methods for Human Geographers
Co Requisite Comment



The Barcelona field course aims to provide students with an opportunity to study critically through a range of research methods the urban geographies of a major European city and possible future capital of an independent Catalonia. In particular, students are encouraged to theoretically and empirically examine the linked processes of urban re-development and entrepreneurialism, urban sustainability and the role of culture and identity in urban governance.

Outline Of Syllabus

1. 2 Introductory Lectures (early semester 2)
2. 2 Pre-fieldwork lectures (final weeks leading up to fieldtrip)
3. Fieldtrip: Easter Vacation
4. Submission of assessed written work

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

1. An empirically and conceptually rich critical understanding of the governance of urban development
a. relationship between economic and environmental sustainability
b. the role of events in urban development
c. the politics of land use, spatial planning, zoning and gentrification
2. A critical awareness of the role of discourses, technologies and practices of urban sustainability
in shaping everyday life in the city and its environmental impacts. Students may choose to focus on
sustainability of energy, transport, food systems or other aspects of urban sustainability.
3. A critical understanding of the experiences of Barcelona in the context of global and European debates about geographies of economic, social and environmental sustainability.
4. Critically evaluation of the use of various methodologies for researching the city.

Intended Skill Outcomes

1. Ability to work with others to gain information from experts, field visits and other sources.
2. Ability to discuss field observations with peers, connecting these to academic literatures
3. Ability to work on own initiative to follow up themes and issues introduced on the field course
4. Ability to work with peers to produce a collaborative presentation
5. Ability to reflect on learning in the field
6. Ability to produce written work for different audiences

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion401:0040:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture81:008:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork58:0040:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1121:00112:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The preliminary lectures will serve as an introduction to the relevant urban sustainability and urban development concepts as well as the practicalities of studying in the field.

Fieldwork projects in Barcelona will be student-led and will be supported by study visits, guest talks and lectures, structured workshops and seminars.

Students are expected to be proactive in taking full advantage of the learning opportunities in the field trip, and to represent the University positively at all times. The University’s General Regulation about absence and the Student Charter will be strictly enforced during the field trip and attendance is compulsory at all timetabled activities scheduled on the field trip. Students will be given a timetable for the week on arrival and must attend and participate in every scheduled session. Non-attendance or non-participation in any timetabled session during the field trip without explicit prior agreement from the module leader will constitute unsatisfactory conduct, disengagement from the field-learning element of the module and non-compliance with the University’s Student Charter. Such conduct, particularly where it is linked with alcohol or substance use, may lead to the invocation of the University’s Student Disciplinary Procedure and / or its Fitness to Study Procedure.

On return to the UK, students should dedicate time to further reading for and production of the assessed written work.


Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M75Fieldwork paper (3,000 words): Independent academic paper on an aspect of the field work in Barcelona
Prof skill assessmnt2M25Group presentation of field project to peers: Groups will present their work to other students at the end of the field visit.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Prof skill assessmnt2MGroup presentation during final lecture before the fieldtrip.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Students are expected to produce an academic fieldwork essay in the style of a short journal paper. This assignment will test student’s conceptual understanding, empirical achievements and ability to synthesize insights for academic audiences. Students will be expected to undertake further independent reading of policy and academic literature in order to produce successful submissions. The best essays should be of publishable standard and students who produce high quality outputs will be encouraged to consider publication or other dissemination options.

Group presentations in the field will allow students to engage in debates with their peers and reflect on learning in the field and to collect feedback on their work before writing. The Group presentation will be formally assessed and will present an opportunity to assess and give feedback on students’ presentation and communication skills as well as their contribution to a collaborative project.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2019/20 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2020/21 entry will be published here in early-April 2019. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.