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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

GEOG2042 Montpellier: urban and rural development

20 creditsClass Size: 49

Module manager: Prof John Stillwell

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is mutually exclusive with

GEOG2041Helsinki: urban growth and sustainability
GEOG2043Belgrade: urban and social geographies of a Balkan city
GEOG2470Sicily: Exploring the Migration Crisis

Module replaces


This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

During our week in the Languedoc, we will concentrate on topics that relate closely to the concerns of urban and rural geographers. Field work will give you a chance to practice some of the research methods that you are likely to use for your dissertation at Level 3, including data collection from primary and secondary sources and possible opportunities to conduct short interviews with local people (for those of you who speak some French). Three days are spent visiting locations on the coast to the south of Montpellier (including Sete, Palavas, La Grande Motte and Aigues Mortes), in the garrigues to the north (including St Guilhem le Desert and Villeneuvette) and in the Gard to the east (including Nimes and the Pont du Gard). The principal themes of the week in Montpellier will be introduced in preliminary lectures in Leeds.


This module strives to equip students with:
an appreciation of the dynamics of the geographical processes underpinning the development of Montpellier and its environs;
an understanding of the national, regional and local planning measures that have shaped urban and rural development in this part of France;
a knowledge of the historical context of development within the Languedoc;
an appreciation of how local urban and regional characteristics of this part of France are related to the wider context of the changing geographies of contemporary Europe and how they compare with those of the UK (and Leeds in particular);
skills in the identification, collection and representation of a variety of information and data sources;
an ability to read the environment, undertake field research, plan projects and write reports to short deadlines;
an understanding of the practical application of concepts and methods learnt in the classroom.

Learning outcomes
Learning outcomes comprise an understanding of:
the geography of places and their constitution by environmental, economic, social and political processes, and the influence of places on these processes;
the geographies of difference and inequality with particular reference to historical development, ethnicity, class and the changing nature of urban and regional economies and policy;
contemporary debates about approaches to urban and rural development, globalization and global interconnections;
the role of changes in technology and the nature of work in influencing spatial patterns of economic activity in urban and rural areas;
the process of data collection through visual methods and participant observation in the field;
strategies for analysing data;
being sensitive to particular ethical issues that can arise when conducting field work;
an awareness of a diversity of approaches to field research.

Skills outcomes
Cognitive skills
Abstraction and synthesis of information from a variety of sources
Assessment and critical evaluation of the merits of contrasting theories, explanations, policies
Critical analysis and interpretation of data and text
Developing reasoned arguments
Solving problems and making reasoned decisions
Practical/professional skills
Plan, design, execute and report geographical research both individually and as part of a team
Undertake effective field work (with due regard for safety and risk assessment)
Collect, interpret and synthesise different types of quantitative and qualitative geographical data
Recognise the ethical issues involved in geographical debates and enquiries
Key skills
Learn in familiar and unfamiliar situations
Communicate effectively (in writing, verbally and through graphical presentations)
Use information technology effectively (including use of spreadsheet, database and word processing programmes; Internet and e-mail)
Identify, retrieve, sort and exchange geographical information using a wide range of methods.


Lectures and student-centred learning together with one week of field work in Montpellier, including the following general themes:
origins and early historical development;
urban and regional planning and development;
change in the countryside;
preparing to undertake project work in a regional city that has undergone dramatic physical and socio-cultural transformations over the last few decades.
And the following themes related more specifically to the field class itself :
orientation in central Montpellier;
urban development and planning in suburban Montpellier;
coastal settlements and tourism;
rural economy, viticulture and settlement
retail: the French grocery market
water resources and agricultural change
project work in Montpellier.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours134.00
Total Contact hours66.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Private study will take the following forms:
1) General reading to prepare for and supplement weekly lectures.
2) Reading to prepare for the field trip.
3) Reading to prepare, research and revise for the assessments.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Feedback through the pre-trip assignment, assessed before departure, and through write-ups of group projects undertaken on three days during the field trip itself.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayPart of pre-trip assignment0.00
Report2500 words50.00
Group ProjectGroup projects on certain days0.00
Computer ExercisePart of pre-trip assignment0.00
Written WorkPre-trip assignment (2,500 words equivalent)50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 18/06/2019


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