Course syllabus

Urbana och rurala system och hållbarhet
Urban and Rural Systems and Sustainability

EXTP70, 10 credits, A (Second Cycle)

Valid for: 2016/17
Decided by: Education Board C
Date of Decision: 2016-03-31

General Information

Main field: Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation.
Compulsory for: MKAT1
Language of instruction: The course will be given in English


The overall objective of this course is threefold. First, it aims to give the students an understanding of the distinctive features of urban and rural systems and the feedbacks between these systems (systems-thinking competence). Secondly, it shows the linkages between the identified urban/rural features and current sustainability challenges, such as increasing risk caused by climate change, disasters, diseases, and food or water insecurity (systems-thinking and anticipatory competence). Thirdly, it focuses on how the identified urban/rural features need to be considered in the design and implementation of activities for creating more sustainable and resilient communities (normative and strategic competence).

Emphasis is on providing concrete planning tools, measures, and hands-on practice, which includes a study visit to relevant sites.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding
For a passing grade the student must

Competences and skills
For a passing grade the student must

Judgement and approach
For a passing grade the student must


The course is divided into four building blocks. It first presents key issues and tendencies in urban and rural development on an international scale. Topics include global land use changes, agriculture, forestry, grazing, urbanisation trends, and the differences and linkages between urban and rural systems. The complex interconnections between built systems and environmental, socio-cultural, economic, and political factors are highlighted. On this basis, key sustainability challenges faced by urban and rural communities, and how they are linked to urban-rural differences, are discussed. Thirdly, the course covers space-related theories, concepts and tools relevant for the planning of (more) resilient communities. The focus here is on climate-resilient and disaster-proof adaptation planning for achieving sustainable urban/rural transformation. The students are also introduced to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Finally, concrete and hands-on planning practices are studied. Predominant approaches to adaptation planning in urban and rural contexts are discussed and their differences analysed. Related topics can, for instance, include top-down and bottom-up approaches, urban-rural networks, as well as differences in approaches coming from the ‘Global North’ and ‘Global South’.


Examination details

Grading scale: TH
Assessment: The course is comprised of several learning activities, including lectures, literature and case study seminars, group discussions, in-class exercises, study visits, and an individual assignment/paper. Consistent, regular class attendance and fully engaged participation is expected from all students. Attendance at the sessions where graded course activities take place is compulsory to pass the course. For a passing grade the student must (a) have an overall passing mark on the individual assignments; (b) have an overall pass on combined group work and individual assignments; (c) have participated in the mandatory sessions; Students who fail a test have the right to re-examination. An opportunity for re-examination will be offered after the end of the course. If necessary, a second re-examination will be arranged at a later date. A student who has taken two examinations in a course or a part of a course without obtaining a pass grade is entitled to the nomination of another examiner, unless there are special reasons to the contrary. Students getting pass mark cannot re-take an exam or re-submit a paper to get a higher grade.


The number of participants is limited to: No

Reading list

Contact and other information

Course coordinator: Christine Wamsler,