GEOG40940 International Urban Fieldwork

Academic Year 2023/2024

Cities represent one of the greatest challenges and opportunities for humanity. By 2050, 70% of the world's population will be urban and face major challenges including climate change, inequality, quality of life, transport and sustainable economic development. Sustainable development can only be progressed if cities are at the centre of attempts to address these societal and environmental issues.

This fieldcourse explores major urban issues in an international context, focusing on Europe's global city - London. We examine the city in its global context, but also focus on the national and local context. While London is often held up as the 'problem' for other parts of the UK that now need to be 'levelled up', there also exists significant income disparity and inequality within the boundaries of the city itself. During the module we will examine this broader context, as well as the planning and development context (London Plan) and topical issues: housing, air pollution, environmental justice, land use planning, social change, migration and economic development.

There is an additional cost associated with this module, which will not exceed €500, and covers the cost of an in-person fieldtrip to London during the trimester, subject to public health conditions. An alternative online fieldtrip will take place if restrictions preclude travel.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this module, students should have:
1. Applied previous learning and critical thinking to a new international context.
2. Developed an awareness of key challenges facing a global city in Europe;
3. Critically assessed challenges in Dublin in comparative perspective;
4. Enhanced independent research, communication and critical fieldwork skills.

Indicative Module Content:

This is a field-based module that integrates knowledge and allows students to develop in-depth knowledge of a key urban theme they are interested in. The content is driven by the student cohort in any particular theme. Key topics of interest are usually based on what topics students are focusing on for their dissertations.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Small Group


Field Trip/External Visits


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This is a highly interactive module that is designed around preparatory classes and in-depth fieldwork over 5-6 days in London and elsewhere. The preparatory classes comprise a mix of seminars and student-led presentations on key themes. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Assignment: In preparation for the field assignment, you are tasked with writing a 2,000-word assignment (excluding references) on your chosen topic in relation to London. Week 7 n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Essay: A final 3500 word essay integrating the key ideas developed through the field course in comparative perspective Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Fieldwork: A field notebook comprising key exercises undertaken in the field Throughout the Trimester n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Presentation: A 10-minute presentation on a theme of your choice related to London that is fully referenced and well researched. Week 7 n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No



Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
Repeat (CFP) Within Three Semesters
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

This is an iterative and highly interactive class. There will be a range of opportunities provided throughout the module for informal feedback on the range of activities and students will develop their focus topics in consultation with the module coordinator. Students will also receive written feedback on assignments submitted for grading.

Name Role
Dr Rachel McArdle Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Dean Phelan Lecturer / Co-Lecturer