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APL3010 : Climate Literacy: From philosophies to practice

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Mr Clive Davies
  • Owning School: Architecture, Planning & Landscape
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


The module aims to introduce students to key environmental issues and processes within the overall context of sustainable design and planning. The module argues for climate crisis and the climate emergency to be at the forefront of our way of thinking and shaping the built environment, and for actions and decision-making processes to be accountable in mitigating and adapting to climate change, whilst preserving and enhancing environmental values and resources.

1.       Understand the context of environmental history and climate science.
2.       Develop an informed critical perspective on the multitude of philosophies and discourses on climate change from a wide geo-political spectrum.
3.       Develop an understanding of climate science, looking at principles, discourses, agency and path dependency.
4.       Understand and synthesise competing views and underlying assumptions in architecture and environmental policy planning debates within the wider context of sustainability.
5.       Develop an awareness of today’s environmental challenges and threats, and an understanding of the current global debates.

Outline Of Syllabus

Lectures include conceptual debates that have emerged in the last 150 years of fossil fuel carbon history in relation to climate. Students are introduced to the spectrum of recent climate discourses from climate denial to climate action. A brief history of socio-political discourses provide the setting to understand and harness key concepts such as: Climate emergency, climate change adaptation and mitigation.

As future built environment professionals and agents, students are exposed to low-carbon and climate resilience approaches including how to overcome the status-quo by breaking path dependency; decentralising food and energy by seeking alternatives for city futures; designing nature based solutions and working towards circular bio-economy for communities; decentring humans from climate responses enables an understanding of the city as a multi-species environment.

With the support of international case studies of differing socio-economic contexts in conjunction with relevant readings students are provided with the opportunity to develop a more in-depth understanding of climate action and how to become active agents in their future careers. All activities aim to support and guide students in the preparation for assessed coursework.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture102:0020:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion301:0030:00Writing-up of written exercise
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading831:0083:00Case Study
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading301:0030:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching42:008:00Seminar for content covered discussion and assignment preparation. This is a present in person
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities141:0014:00Selected readings and activities related to content covered.
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion71:007:00Structured discussion with guiding questions relating to content delivered each week.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork12:002:00Fieldwork in the local area accessible on foot
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork14:004:00Fieldwork in the local area accessible on foot, or by public transport
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery12:002:00PiP
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module will be delivered via both scheduled and structured learning activities. These include present in person lectures, which will provide students with weekly contact with the module leader and with their peers, and an opportunity to ask questions, seek clarifications or expand on the discussions in an informal manner. During these sessions, the portfolio of guided structured learning activities for each session will be explained, including how they relate to the module learning outcomes. They include selected readings and participation to non-synchronous discussion boards, which provide students with the opportunity to discuss further the complex issues explored in the lectures and in the selected readings in a structured way, to critically reflect on the interactions and tensions between the different dimensions of climate emergency, and their implications for the built environment. The assignment is also supported by means of present in person group seminars where students have the opportunity to discuss content delivered and essay draft.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M50Reflective essay 2,000 words
Case study1M50Poster presentation
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The 100% coursework assessment allows students to critically reflect on key environmental and ecological concepts, as well as, apply knowledge of current climate debates to a particular case study of an existing policy framework. The in-depth study demonstrates critical skills and capacity to debate, review and analyse values and ethics in the built environment, and to do so within the context of mitigation and adaptation approaches to climate change.

Reading Lists