CP0332 - Rural Society, Planning and Space

SchoolCardiff School of Planning and Geography
Department CodeCPLAN0
Module CodeCP0332
External Subject CodeK410
Number of Credits20
Language of DeliveryEnglish
Module Leader Dr Mara Miele
SemesterSpring Semester
Academic Year2013/4

Outline Description of Module

The module aims to critically explore the nature of rural community, land-use and planning issues from a socio-economic perspective. It provides an overview of the main social and political issues affecting rural space and rural livelihood both globally and with regard to the specific UK and Wales context. Taking contemporary countryside planning and management issues, the module will integrate theory, policy and practice at different spatial scales (international, national, regional/local). More specifically, the module will (i) address questions relating to the governance of natural resources, and their implications for environmental policy and rural development. In this sense, the module adopts a broad and integrated notion of rural planning; one which situates the practice of planning within its social, political and ecological context; (ii) examine the socio-economic restructuring of rural spaces and communities, and its implications for rural policy, planning and development; and (iii) explore theories relevant to rural planning including aspects of ecological modernisation, multi-level governance, and integrated rural development.

On completion of the module a student should be able to

  1. Understand the drivers of the diverse trajectories for rural development in the South and in the North of the World;
  2. Engage in theoretical, practical and policy debates addressing the changes in rural societies and rural planning at national and supranational level;
  3. Evaluate planning strategies and policies, in terms of their contribution to sustainable development for rural areas
  4. Demonstrate skills in policy analysis and evaluation, with particular attention to the critical reading of texts;
  5. Understand the ways in which the European Union Policies are affecting national and regional rural policies in the UK and Wales;
  6. Evaluate the Rural Development Plan initiatives in Wales.

How the module will be delivered

The module will be delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and one field study visit.

Skills that will be practised and developed

Students will  practise and development the following:

1.    Ability to critically engage with the contemporary planning, policy and socio-economic literature on changes affecting rural areas;

2.    Ability to critically analyse socio-economic trends in rural areas;

3.    Ability to identify problems and conflicts of interest in the management of natural resources and rural land;

4.    Ability to understand planning and policy processes affecting rural areas at local, national and supranational level;

5.    Skills in group discussion during the seminars;

6.    Written communication skills;

How the module will be assessed

The mode of assessment for this module consists of  one written essay assignment at the end of the module, which  account for 50% of the total module mark, and one exam, at the end of the module, which account for 50% of the total module mark.

Type of assessment





(if applicable)

Approx. date of Assessment



Policy report: ‘Socio-economic development policies for rural communities in the UK’*






1.5 hours


*The coursework report will be as follows:

Coursework (Policy report: ‘Socio-economic development policies for rural communities in the UK’)



You have been asked by a policy-making body responsible for rural areas (e.g. local or regional planning authority, Regional Development Agency, Commission for Rural Communities; Central Government ministry (e.g. Cabinet Office, DCLG or Defra) to produce a short (no more than 2000 words excluding figures and tables) position paper which outlines and evaluates rural socio-economic development policies for selected areas in the UK.  The body wishes to use the document as an initial background paper for new policy formulation and support at the UK and EU levels.  In particular, the body wises to highlight the specific problems and policy responses developed in different rural areas so that it can make a case for the maintenance of rural policy support over the forthcoming period (up to 2013).

You are to compile the report with reference to one rural region only.  These will be selected from Cumbria, counties in South East England, Devon and Wales.

Content of the Report

The report should contain details and evaluations of the following socio-economic conditions:

(i)             the main features and characteristics of rural restructuring: the ways in which current policy frameworks are addressing these issues in the rural region;

(ii)            a policy evaluation of current funding and policy mechanisms;

(iii)           a reasoned and justified outline of the priorities for policy-making bodies (including planning authorities);

(iv)         priorities for action and implementation of policy options.


The potential for reassessment in this module

Reassessment will be as the assessment (e.g. exam and policy report).

Assessment Breakdown

Type % Title Duration(hrs) Period Week
Examination - Spring Semester 50
Rural Society, Planning Space
1.5 1 N/A
Written Assessment 50
N/A 1 N/A

Syllabus content

This module assumes that students may not initially have a clear idea of  the specificity of rural societies,  areas and rural planning /rural development literature. Consequently, it starts with an overview of the diversity of rural areas in the North and in the South of the world, the role of agriculture in promoting development in rural areas, the socio-economic trends in rural areas in Europe and more specifically it will be addressed the role of the European Union, the CAP and the rural development plan  in the UK and Wales.  Moreover, emerging trend in agriculture development will be addressed with the analysis of the development of organic production and fair-trade. Changes in rural population, and diversification of economic activities with  specific attention to issue of sustainable rural development will be analysed via a series of case studies.

All sessions are mandatory.

Essential Reading and Resource List

The following are useful key introductory readings for the module as a whole. Each week, additional and more-up-to-date readings will be issued to support the topic being discussed, and these lists will be placed on Learning Central.

Beverly D. McIntyre, Hans R. Herren, Judi Wakhungu and Robert T. Watson (eds) (2009), Agriculture at a Crossroad, IAASTD North America and Europe, World Bank, Island Press: Washington DC

Bishop, K. and Phillips, A. (2004) Countryside Planning: New Approaches to management and Conservation, Earthscan, London.

Cloke, P., Marsden, T. and Moody, P. eds. (2006) Handbook of Rural Studies. Sage, London

Fish, R., Seymour, S.,Wekins,C., Steven, M. (2008) Sustainable Farmland Management, Transdisciplinary Approaches, CABI International,Oxford

Gallent, N., Juntti, M., Kidd, S., and Shaw, D. (2008) Introduction to Rural Planning. Routledge, London

Milbourne, P. (ed.) (2011) Rural Wales in the Twenty-First Century: Society, Economy and Environment, University of Wales Press,

Murdoch, J. et al (2002) The Differentiated Countryside, Routledge, London and New York.



Sociologia Ruralis, Journal of Rural Studies, Rural Sociology, Environment and Planning A, Geoforum, Environement and Planning D, Agriculture and Human Values.

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