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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

FOEV5006M City Systems: Urban Ecosystems

15 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Martin Dallimer

Taught: 1 Apr to 31 May View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

Ecosystems across the world are changing. With more and more people requiring land for and resources, ecosystems are being fragmented and converted to human use. However, ecosystems underpin all other social and economic activities, and are a crucial part of any city’s infrastructure. This is slowly being recognised through a mixture of research-policy interface initiatives (ecosystem services, nature based solutions) and bottom-up activism and engagement with nature. Cities (and their inhabitants), therefore, can provide a sustainable network of urban green spaces that improve the liveability and sustainability of cities.This module uses a mixed lecture and problem based approach to give participants the tools to understand urban energy systems and design interventions for sustainable change.


This module aims to equip students with the knowledge and analytical skills needed to critically engage with debates and practice on ecosystems.

Learning outcomes
The programme level outcomes this module fulfills are:
• Diagnose and solve real world urban problems using new data analysis and action research techniques.
• Critically analyse the social, environmental and economic impacts of key urban systems and how they are evaluated.
• Evaluate opportunities to embed sustainability in system design, governance and re-production.

On completion of this module, students will:
• understand what constitutes an ecosystem and how the discipline of urban ecology has developed to study ecosystems within and between cities
• understand the key drivers of urban ecosystem change
• be able to identify the benefits that urban ecosystems provide to society
• be able to identify city specific issues raised in debates on the natural world, urban greening, urban green spaces, urban green infrastructure
• be able to communicate the purpose of interventions to improve/increase the use of green spaces to address societal challenges.
• Critically evaluate interventions in, and options for, retaining/enhancing urban ecosystems.
• develop in-depth specialist knowledge of techniques relevant to urban ecosystems and their role in city liveability and sustainability

Skills outcomes
Becoming familiar with urban ecology and ecosystem terminologies and metrics is key to critical evaluation of competing schemes. This will include concepts such as fragmentation, connectivity, diversity, ecological function.


• Ecosystems
• Urban ecology
• Is a city an ecosystem?
• The benefits (and disadvantages) of urban ecosystems for society, the economy and the environment
• The challenge of ecosystems in cites. Concepts such as green infrastructure, nature based solutions and other and their role in mainstreaming ecosystems into urban sustainability

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment12.002.00
Group learning22.004.00
Private study hours120.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Private study will be undertaken as part of the student’s problem based learning. It will be guided around a specific problem, set by the module leader and contribute to the overall learning outcomes of the module.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ProjectProject report 1 x 3500 [equivalent*] word equivalent case report100.00
Group ProjectFormative Group Presentation0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Resit will be an individual essay.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 26/05/2022 14:15:14


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