module specification

AR7037 - Changing Places (2019/20)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2019/20
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Changing Places
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 200
164 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 75%   4000 word essay
Coursework 25%   Seminar presentation (2 or 3 students/week
Running in 2019/20 No instances running in the year

Module summary

By undertaking Changing Places students will acquire the knowledge and skills to enable them to facilitate both individuals and communities in the transformation of the places and spaces in situations of scares resources and rapid culture and technology change.

Autumn semester.  Assessment: Illustrated Written Paper (5000- 4000 words) - 100%

Prior learning requirements


Module aims

This module will:

1. Develop the knowledge and skills necessary to enable the student to facilitate both individuals and communities in the transformation of the places and spaces that they inhabit, in situations where resources are scarce and where both culture and technology are in a state of rapid change;
2. Provide students with a broad understanding of the knowledge necessary for the sustainable construction of domestic and community buildings, informed by and utilising self help techniques of construction, adaptation, repair and management;
3. Provide the student with an understanding of alternative modes of professional practice applicable to this field of architecture;
4. Offer the student an overview of the strategic, social, political and economic circumstances and institutions which establish the context through which much of this work is developed.


The programme of study consists of 12 x 3 hour sessions comprising lectures, visits and seminars.

The syllabus includes the following:

(1) Lectures and seminars relate to the way a community can, using techniques of self conscious exploration to examine their own cultural, socio-economic, political and technical situations, develop a programme and then by direct action transform the places and landscapes in which they live. Changes such as the effect of rapid urbanisation, disasters, and rapid migration on the material/human culture of making are discussed. The lectures and seminars also discuss the role of local and governmental agencies, NGO's and trans-national organisations in facilitating positive change such as mciroicredit, women's empowerment and education.
(2) Precedent visits to sustainable construction resource centre(s) and relevant building(s)- these are to be carried out by students as part of their studies and would be referred to in their reflective essay.

Learning and teaching

A lecture series (complemented by site visits) provides an overview of community based alternatives to main stream construction, further illustrated by case studies from around the world. This connects to a theoretical framework that examines the potential responses of local making cultures (such as appropriate levels of fit, standardisation and production process) to such changes as resource depletion, industrialisation, socio-economic conditions and urbanisation. Seminars, operating in parallel with the precedent studies, contribute to the development and understanding of concepts necessary to produce the illustrated, written paper. The coursework is a REFLECTIVE and CRITICAL essay on the role of the architect or development practitioner in contemporary society, therefore the knowledge gained in this module will enrich and give context to the student’s studio project.

Learning outcomes

By completing the module the student should be able to demonstrate a precise understanding and
integrated knowledge of:

1. the ways in which concepts developed from the study of making processes can be used to generate pathways of change in a variety of analogous contexts;
2. the dynamic interplay between material and human agency in the culture of making domestic shelter, community and amenity buildings and small scale public spaces;
3. the effects and consequences which rapid change and the scarcity or limited nature of resources can have, on the relationship and the responses of communities to their immediate environment;
4. alternative modes of architectural practice in the field of green and community buildings, both in the developed and developing world;
5. both the macro/governmental and micro/local social, political, economic and strategic mechanisms which interface with the design and procurement of such buildings and spaces.

Assessment strategy

The module will be assessed on a single submission consisting of the following document:

5000-4000 word illustrated REFLECTIVE essay. The essay must be presented in A4 format, bound securely with appropriate references.


1. Black, Maggie, 2003- The no-nonsense guide to International development,
Oxford, New Internationalist publications.

2. Habraken, N, J, 2000- The Structure of the Ordinary: Form and Control in the Built Environment, MIT Press; New Ed edition.

3. Henderson,H and Ikeda, D, 2004- Planetary citizenship, Middleway Press.

4. Hamdi, Nabeel, 2004- Small Change: The Art of Practice and the Limits of Planning in Cities, Earthscan publications.

5. Norberg- Hodge, Helena, 1991- Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh, London, Rider.

6.Schumacher, EF, 1975, mall is Beautiful. A Study of Economics as if People Mattered, Abacus books.

7. Thomas, Derek, 2002: Architecture and Urban Environment- a vision for the New Age, Architectural Press.