Environment and Development

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Charles Palmer KGS2.06

Dr Jennifer Baka


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Environment and Development and BSc in Environmental Policy with Economics. This course is available on the BA in Geography and BSc in Geography with Economics. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

This course explores the complex relationships between development, poverty and the environment. It covers a range of important natural resource and environmental issues in developing countries, and provides students with the necessary tools to critically evaluate how these issues have been addressed by different stakeholders and at different levels of governance. Using concepts and analytical tools grounded in political ecology and economics, the course will examine a range of topics, including: the politics of sustainable development; property rights and governance; the food-energy-water nexus; the resource curse; critical resource issues (including forestry, fresh water, and fisheries); biofuels; and urbanization.
By the end of the course, students should be able to:
• Assess key debates related to sustainable development
• Critically evaluate relationships between development, poverty, natural resource use and the environment
• Understand the natural resource linkages between developing and developed countries


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 2 hours of lectures and 1 hour of classes in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce a minimum of two 1,500 word formative essays/projects during the year.

Indicative reading

Barbier, E (2005) Natural Resources and Economic Development, Cambridge University Press; Lopez, R., and M. Toman (2006) Economic Development and Environmental Sustainability. Columbia University Press; Fairhead, J and M. Leach (1996) Misreading the African Landscape: Society and Ecology in a Forest-Savanna Mosaic, Cambridge University Press; Fischer-Kowalski, M. and H. Haberl (2007) Socioecological Transitions and Global Change: Trajectories of Social Metabolism and Land Use, Edward Elgar; Meiksins Wood, E. (2002), The Origin of Capitalism: A Longer View, Ellen Meiksins Wood, Verso Press; Polanyi, K (1944), The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of our Time, Beacon Press; Scott, J (1991) Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition have Failed, Yale University Press; Ray, D. (1999), Development Economics, Princeton: Princeton University Press.


Exam (75%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (25%, 2500 words) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2011/12 - 2012/13 combined)

Classification % of students
First 13.4
2:1 57.3
2:2 25.6
Third 2.4
Fail 1.2

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2012/13: 58

Average class size 2012/13: 15

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills