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Taking to the field with Urban, Environment and Leisure Studies

Many of our urban, environment and leisure students have the opportunity to experience field trips

Depending on the course, students could spend five days in The Netherlands examining Dutch regeneration or looking at the planning issues prevalent in Cornwall and Manchester.

The exposure to a range of places and issues which cannot be taught in the classroom enables students to engage with a range of practitioners in planning, regeneration and related fields.

Planning across the UK

In the first year of the BA (Hons) Urban and Environmental Planning, students go on a week's field study visit to Cornwall to explore sustainability issues. There are a variety of talks from practitioners and site visits to explore a range of issues including regeneration in St Austell and the china clay mining area and to visit the most famous example of the re-use of a former china clay mine at the Eden project. We also visit windy West Penwith to examine issues and debates around environmental stewardship for the farming landscapes in this environmentally sensitive area.

In the second year of the BA (Hons) Urban and Environmental Planning, students go on a week's field trip to Manchester, Salford, and the Peak District National Park.

The module focuses on regeneration issues from the perspective of the local scale. Planning at the local scale is always in the news, especially where it relates to confronting urban/rural problems through strategies and projects for urban/rural regeneration. Local planning is a crucial element in the planning system, for both protecting the environment and residential amenities and stimulating development and economic activity.

There are a carefully planned range of visits, sometimes more than one a day, to a number of live projects, interesting sites and formal presentations at a range of relevant public, private and voluntary sector offices. Students are encouraged to adopt an intensively investigative role during the visits, all with the aim of enriching and stimulating their academic knowledge and professional development.

The Netherlands

There is another fantastic field trip available studying BA (Hons) Housing Studies through the European Housing and Study Visit module. Travelling by high-speed Eurostar and Thalys trains, the five day residential trip is based in Amsterdam with a day spent in Breda and Eindhoven. The visit is designed to provide students with first-hand knowledge of the kinds of urban regeneration programmes being undertaken, as well as the different styles of social housing to be found in The Netherlands.

The programme in Breda includes talks from lecturers at the NHTV University and representatives from the local municipality and housing corporations about the different approaches to urban and neighbourhood renewal. Dutch Town Planning students join in for the day including on the coach tour of the regeneration areas, such as the huge former Philips factory site in the nearby city of Eindhoven.

Things in Amsterdam start with a guided orientation tour around the Centrum and include visits to major urban and estate regeneration projects, including Bijlmermeer in Amsterdam Zuid Oost. Typically, students visit the Social Housing Museum, Het Schip, and also follow two urban development tours in the Eastern Harbour District and in the Jordaan district. The programme finishes with a canal boat trip and opportunities for shopping, sightseeing and other cultural activities.

Post-graduate trips

Postgraduate students enrolled in MA Planning Policy & Practice, MA Urban Regeneration, MA International Planning, MA Urban Planning Design and PG Dip Town Planning all have the opportunity for a residential one week trip into mainland Europe. A European destination allows students to examine the challenges of sustainability and sustainable development within a European context. 

Destinations vary, in recent years destinations have ranged from the Ruhr area in Germany, Bucharest, Venice, and Barcelona.  Each location has its own distinct challenges. They are not intended as examples of best practice, but show the different nature of responses depending on the issues raised and specific local contexts.

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