On Campus
1 x 2-hour lecture weekly
1 x 1-hour tutorial weekly
1 x 1-hour project work weekly
1 x 6-hour independent study weekly

Distance Online
1 x 2-hour on-line lecture weekly
1 x 1-hour on-line tutorial weekly
1 x 1-hour project work weekly
1 x 6-hour independent study weekly
Enrolment not permitted
1 of DVST2001, DVST2701, DVST8022, DVST8701, GEOG8030 has been successfully completed
Assignment(s), Project, Quizzes
Topic description

This topic is part of the suite of multidisciplinary Grand Challenges topics which focus on a range of complex issues facing the world. Throughout this topic, you will critically examine challenging societal contexts and make recommendations as to how to best tackle them.

This topic will comprise a critical study of the concept of sustainable development in all its forms both in terms of its history and the contemporary debates surrounding it. Sustainable development will be explored from development, environmentalist, local and indigenous perspectives. Students will analyse the tensions between the ‘global’ and the ‘local’ debates about governance, perceptions of science and nature, and theories of development. The topic will examine how sustainable development is played out in various terrains, such as mega-cities, agricultural regions, and mining areas, and how it is applied to issues such as biodiversity, climate change, energy use, population, environment and health, and food production.

The topic will unpack the shared global framework of development priorities to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the year 2030 which were agreed to by all member countries of the United Nations and international development agencies in 2015. Students will work on real case studies to evaluate the challenges and prospects related to Sustainable Development Goals in a local, national, or global context.

Educational aims

This topic aims to:

  • Gain a broader understanding of global challenges
  • Critically examine challenging societal contexts and make recommendations as to how to tackle them
  • Explain and contextualise the emergence of sustainable development as an alternative to conventional economic growth models
  • Understand the multi-disciplinary nature of sustainable development and the key debates linked to it at global and local levels
  • Explore several areas where development practices have led to environmental problems including the consequences of these and how they have been dealt with and addressed
  • Evaluate the progress of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Critically analyse challenging contexts
  2. Develop and recommend solutions to tackle specific challenges
  3. Discuss the concept of Sustainable development and the challenges related to achieving it
  4. Debate the theoretical perspectives informing different approaches to sustainable development, and the conflicts over sustainable development policies
  5. Analyse the complexity and influence of values, beliefs and ideas within debates on sustainable development
  6. Appraise their own strengths and weaknesses in relation to team-based skills
  7. Design roadmaps to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals using analytical skills (both quantitative and qualitative)