CCGL9058 Global Issues

Villages and Global Futures

This course is under the thematic cluster(s) of:

  • Sustaining Cities, Cultures, and the Earth (SCCE)
  • The Human Life Span (HL)

Course Description

Rural areas and village culture have defined the characters of today’s human settlements and its inhabitants’ way of life. Rural areas are increasingly considered as the solution space for global climate change adaptation and mitigation. Sustainable management of the water-energy-food nexus in urban-rural interface offers a local approach to tackle biodiversity loss, food security and water crises. Nevertheless, our rural environment and communities continue to deteriorate due to rapid depopulation and urbanization.

Students in this course will learn about the socio-cultural, economic and ecological functions of rural areas and how these systems evolved under the processes of urbanization and globalization. We will then turn to rural management approaches including humanitarian technology, disaster relief, and governance, policy and planning for resource management under the recent trend of “urban-rural resilience” promoted by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Finally, 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 an additional critical perspective into the range of rural revitalization strategies where the effectiveness of international recognitions, place branding, social innovations and collaborative governance models for rural sustainability is examined.

By the end of the course, students will be able to cultivate an analytical perspective on the complexity of urban-rural linkages in relation to socioeconomic and ecological systems of rural sustainability.

[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 and globalization 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 and rural 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 12
Tutorials 8
Fieldwork / Visits 10
Film screening and discussion 2
Reading / Self-study 54
Assessment: In-class exercises 4
Assessment: Group project (inl preparation) 25
Assessment: Reflective journal 15
Total: 130

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Group project and presentation 40
Individual journal 30
Assignments 18
Tutorial participation 12

Required Reading

Selections from:

  • Agnoletti, M. (2014). Rural landscape, nature conservation and culture: Some notes on research trends and management approaches from a (southern) European perspective. Landscape and Urban Planning, 126, 66-73.
  • Cocklin, C., Bowler, L., & Bryant, C. R. (2002). Introduction: Sustainability and Rural Systems. In L. Bowler, C. Cocklin & C. R. Bryant (Eds.), The Sustainability of Rural Systems (pp. 1-12). Springer. From https://www.researchgate.net/publication/290107819_Introduction_Sustainability_and_Rural_Systems
  • 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.
  • Engelhardt, R. (2010). First Principles in Conservation: The UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards. APT Bulletin: Journal of Preservation Technology, 41(2-3), 56-65. From www.jstor.org/stable/20749124
  • Gallent, N., & Gkartzios, M. (2019). Defining Rurality and the Scope of Rural Planning. In M. Scott, N. Gallent, & M Gkartzios (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Rural Planning. Routledge: New York.
  • ICOMOS. (2016). Cultural heritage, the UN sustainable development goals, and the new urban agenda. From http://www.usicomos.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Final-Concept-Note.pdf
  • Lekic, O., Gadzic, N., & Milovanovic, A. (2018). Sustainability of Rural Areas: Exploring Values, Challenges, and Socio-Cultural Role. Sustainability and Resillience Socio-Spatial Perspective. From https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326694029_Sustainability_of_Rural_Areas_Exploring_Values_Challenges_and_Socio-Cultural_Role
  • 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.
  • Muniruzzaman, A. (2017, April 4). The Digital Age of HADR: Harnessing Technology for Relief Operations. RSIS and NTS Centre Commentary. Nanyang Technological University. From https://www.rsis.edu.sg/rsis-publication/nts/co17061-the-digital-age-of-hadr-harnessing-technology-for-relief-operations/#.Xeh4regzaUl
  • Rastghalam, M., et al. (2017, March). The creative village approach as a tool for creating village futures. Journal of Future Studies21(3), 35-48.
  • Spence Robinson Ltd. (2017). Revitalisation of the old dairy farm senior staff quarters into the Pokfulam Farm. From http://www.amo.gov.hk/form/HIA_Report_SSQ.pdf
  • Woods, M. (2011). Rural geography: Processes, responses, and experiences in rural restructuring. London: SAGE Publications Ltd. [Chap. 1 Defining the Rural (pp. 3-16)] [E-book available from HKU library]

Required Viewing

Selections from:


Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Dr W.W.Y. Law
Centre for Civil Society and Governance
Tel: 3917 7392
Email: wwylaw@hku.hk
Teacher(s) Contact
Dr W.W.Y. Law
Centre for Civil Society and Governance
Tel: 3917 7392
Email: wwylaw@hku.hk