module specification

AR7037 - Changing Places (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Changing Places
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 200
161 hours Guided independent study
39 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 75%   4000 word essay
Practical Examination 25%   Seminar presentation (2 or 3 students/week
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester City Wednesday Morning

Module summary

By undertaking Changing Places students will acquire the knowledge and skills to enable them to facilitate both individuals and communities in managing the transformation of places and spaces in situations where resources are scarce and where both culture and technology are in a state of rapid change.
Aims of the module include to:
• develop the knowledge and skills necessary to enable the student to facilitate both individuals and communities in managing the transformation of 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;
• 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;
• provide the student with an understanding of alternative modes of professional practice applicable to this field of architecture;
• 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.

Prior learning requirements



The course provides an overview of community based alternatives to mainstream construction, illustrated by and understood through case studies from around the world. This overview connects to a theoretical framework that examines the potential responses of local cultures of making (such as appropriate levels of fit, standardisation and production process) to such changes as resource depletion, industrialisation, socio-economic conditions and urbanisation. LO2, LO3 & LO5

Lectures and seminars relate to the way a community might, 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, alongside the role of local and governmental agencies, NGOs and trans-national organisations in facilitating positive change such as microcredit, women's empowerment and education. LO1-5

Precedent study or field visits – to institutional sites such as sustainable construction resource centres, as well as relevant building and organisations – are to be carried out by students as part of their studies and would be referred to in their reflective essay. Seminars contribute to the development and understanding of concepts necessary to generate a coherent and meaningful argument. The expectation is that the coursework should be 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. LO1-5

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching ensures that independent study is effective and addresses the learning outcomes and assessment tasks. Students have the opportunity to study outside of scheduled classes. A range of learning strategies are deployed and individual learning styles accommodated. The module’s learning outcomes, its contents and delivery, are regularly reviewed to ensure an inclusive pedagogical approach.
The module utilises the University’s blended learning platform to support and reinforce learning. Peer-to-peer communication is fostered in seminars and tutorial support provided at key points in the calendar. Reflective learning is promoted through assessment tasks and formative feedback. Students are encouraged to reflect on their progress and engage in sequential decision making through staged submissions and worksheets, and to make recommendations to themselves for future development.
The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-related learning within the curriculum supports personal development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able – as they progress – to understand the professional environment of their discipline, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions and aspirations.

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.