CCGL9058 Global Issues

Villages and Global Futures

[This course is under the thematic cluster of ‘Sustaining Cities, Cultures, and the Earth’.]


Course Description

Rural areas and village culture have long been a coherent component of the socio-ecological landscape that defines the characters of today’s human settlements and its inhabitants’ way of life. Biodiversity loss, food security and water crises, however, are some of the global climate change consequences we are facing today as the rural areas and communities continue to deteriorate due to rapid depopulation and urbanization. Sustainable management of the water-energy-food nexus in rural areas may offer a local approach to solve some of these global problems.

This course first explains the socio-cultural, economic and ecological functions of rural areas and how these systems evolved under the process of urbanization. It then provides a walk through from the conventional urban-rural divide to the more recent enlightenment of “urban-rural resilience” promoted by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The changing role of various policy actors including officials, social entrepreneurs, corporate leaders as well as citizens and their collective actions for rural sustainability attainment will be discussed.

Overseas case investigations will provide a critical perspective into the range of rural revitalization strategies where the effectiveness of international recognitions, social innovations and collaborative governance models for rural sustainability is examined.

[A compulsory one-day field trip will take place during Reading Week.]

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Articulate a critical understanding on the complex urban-rural linkages and synergies associated with key sustainability issues.
  2. Cultivate a deeper awareness of the influences of urbanization on the socioeconomic and ecological landscape of rural communities.
  3. Form a perspective on the mode of governance, policy levers and alternative technology for rural sustainability.
  4. Develop a reflection on their choice of living and preference for urban development.
  5. Demonstrate the innovative and collaborative skills for rural revitalization.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

Second semester (Wed)


Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 14
Tutorials 8
Fieldwork / Visits 10
Film screening and discussion 4
In-class exercises and discussion 4
Reading / Self-study 50
Assessment: Presentation (incl preparation) 12
Assessment: Essay / Proposal writing 18
Assessment: Journal 18
Total: 138

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Group project and presentation 40
Individual journal 20
In-class writing exercise 20
Tutorial participation 20

Required Reading

  • Bosworth, G., & Turner, R. (2018). Interrogating the meaning of a rural business through a rural capitals framework. Journal of Rural Studies, 60, 1-10.
  • Dwyer, J., & Hodge, I. (2016). Governance structures for social-ecological systems: Assessing institutional options against a social residual claimant. Environmental Science & Policy, 66, 1-10.
  • Ishihara, H., Pascual, U., & Hodge, I. (2017). Dancing with storks: The role of power relations in payments for ecosystem Services. Ecological Economics, 139, 45-54.
  • Knickel, K. et al. (2018). Between aspirations and reality: Making farming, food systems and rural areas more resilient, sustainable and equitable. Journal of Rural Studies, 59, 197-210.
  • Lara, C. S., Crispin, A. F., & Lopez Tellez, M. C. (2018). Participatory rural appraisal as an educational tool to empower sustainable community processes. Journal of Cleaner Production, 172, 4254-4262.
  • Li, Y. et al. (2016). Bottom-up initiatives and revival in the face of rural decline: Case studies from China and Sweden. Journal Of Rural Studies, 47, 506-513.
  • McHenry, J. A. (2009). A place for the arts in rural revitalization and the social wellbeing of Australian rural communities. Rural Society, 19(1), 60-70.
  • United Nations. (2015). Habitat III Issue Papers, 10. Urban-Rural Linkages, New York.
  • Van Gevelt, T. (2018). Indigenous communities, ICT and rural development: Case studies in Tanzania and Sarawak, Malaysia.” In. P.B. Anand, et al. (Ed.), The Handbook of BRICS and Emerging Economies. Oxford University Press.

Required Viewing

Recommended Reading

  • Barrera-Mosquera, V. (2010). Analysis of available capitals in agricultural systems in rural communities: The case of Saraguro, Ecuador. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 8(4), 1191-1207.
  • McKee, A. J. (2015). Legitimising the Laird? Communicative Action and the role of private landowner and community engagement in rural sustainability. Journal of Rural Studies, 41, 23-36.
  • Pudianti, A., Syahbana, J. A., & Suprapti, A. (2016). Role of culture in rural transformation in Manding Village, Bantul Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 227,  458-464.
  • Wiggins, S., & Proctor, S. (2001). How special are rural areas? The economic implications of location for rural development. Development Policy Review, 19(4), 427-436.
  • Young, J., & Gilmore, M. (2017). Participatory uses of geospatial technologies to leverage multiple knowledge systems within development contexts: A case study from the Peruvian Amazon. World Development, 93, 389-401.

Recommended Websites


Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Dr W.W.Y. Law
Faculty of Social Sciences
Tel: 3917 7392
Email: wwylaw@hku.hk
Teacher(s) Contact
Dr W.W.Y. Law
Faculty of Social Sciences
Tel: 3917 7392
Email: wwylaw@hku.hk