Cerrar Mapa

Master in

Integrated planning for rural development and environmental management

Last edition: 1st part: 26 September 2016 – 9 June 2017 / 2nd part: September 2017 – June 2018 ··

Master in

Integrated planning for rural development and environmental management

General information on the Unit

Contact hours: 40 (26 lectures, 14 practicals)
Personal work hours: 60
Character: Compulsory
Venue: Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza
- Developed during the first academic year of the Master, at the beginning of the first semester.
- The assessment of this Unit consists in a unique exam during the first semester.
Requisites and permanence
There are no previous requisites
Learning methods
Combination of theoretical and practical classes, and individual and group study and work.
Lecturers may deliver the topics in Spanish or in English. In the second case, simultaneous interpretation into Spanish is provided. The documents supplied by the lecturers may also be written in Spanish or in English.


Presentation of the Unit and context within the syllabus

This Unit introduces the student to understanding rural areas, their complexity and the factors conditioning and driving their development, as well as to the integrated planning of such areas in different spatial and temporal scales. Systems analysis is presented as the most adequate framework for integrated planning, and the main methodologies used for planning are outlined, with special emphasis on those used for the development of the planning project on Unit 8.



Specific competences

  • ­ SC1 Understanding the complexity of the factors characterizing rural areas and determining their evolution and sustainable development.
  • ­ SC7 Understanding and valuing the usefulness of applying different methodologies and tools to the design of environmental and development policies, to the improvement of the management and to the integrated planning of a territory.

General competences

  • ­ GC1 Integrating scientific and technical knowledge and applying them discerningly.
  • ­ GC3 Analyzing results or strategies and elaborating conclusions which contribute to clarify the problems and to find possible solutions.
  • ­ GC6 Team-working and promoting exchange and collaboration attitudes with other students, researchers and professionals.


Learning outcomes

The student, at the end of the learning of this Unit:

  • Is familiar with the characteristics and dynamics of rural areas, analyzing the factors determining their autonomous evolution and those favouring their sustainable development.
  • Identifies Systems Analysis as an important tool for understanding and formally representing the complex dynamics of rural areas as well as facilitating the development and implementation of integrated plans for rural areas.
  • Understands the importance of spatial and temporal scales in systems analysis and systems modelling, and the hierarchical nesting of systems.
  • Understands what rural planning is and what analytical tools are available for the planner.
  • Identifies different methodologies and strategies used in conducting planning projects, and in particular, the specific methodology used in this Master to develop the projects carried out by students.
  • Is able to distinguish the information relevant to planning projects and is acquainted with the main information sources available for the areas where the above mentioned planning projects are carried out.
  • Understands, by means of analyzing real case studies, how to carry out planning projects of national, regional and local scope in different countries, through reflection on their objectives, the implementation stages and the problems encountered.



  • Dynamics of rural areas. New driving forces for rural development: comparative approach
  • Planning in a complex world: the system approach. Understanding spatial and temporal scales
  • Rural planning methodologies and procedures
    • Methodological bases
    • Rural planning and sustainable development
    • Case studies on real planning examples at national and subregional scale


Learning activities

Learning activity 1: Lectures combined with case studies
ECTS: 3.1
Hours: 78
Percentage of contact: 33%

Learning activity 2: Group work, consisting in characterizing rurality in the participants’ various countries of origin and carrying out a comparative analysis between countries
ECTS: 0.2
Hours: 4
Percentage of contact: 100%

Learning activity 3: Role play for the application of rural planning methodologies and procedures, consisting in assessing the best location for a specific land use after considering the limitations and advantages of each site and the interests of 6 different social groups of stakeholders. Students avail of geological, hydrological and land use maps, as well as climatological data of the areas and the stakeholders’ list of interests
ECTS: 0.1
Hours: 2
Percentage of contact: 100%

Learning activity 4: Seminar for the illustration of methodologies and procedures in rural planning, consisting in analyzing in groups four develoment projects, carried out in other editions of the Master, and discussing together the strengths and weaknesses of those projects
ECTS: 0.4
Hours: 10
Percentage of contact: 20%

Learning activity 5: Solving of exercises and problems for the application of methodologies and procedures in rural planning, consisting in:
- (1) delimitation of environmental units in a specific area using the program Google Earth to recognize the location of areas and to carry out the zonification.
- (2) drawing of causal diagrams to establish interactions between the elements of a system according to their cause-effect relationships.
- (3) analysis of basic cartography to extract risk maps with the software SIGMOD, applying multicriteria analysis and allocating land uses to a territory. This exercise will be done in pairs.
ECTS: 0.2
Hours: 6
Percentage of contact: 100%


Assessment methods

Assessment system 1: Written exams, composed by questions provided by the different lecturers of the Unit. The questions are concrete and require a short development. The exam assesses the content of lectures and the understanding of the exercises carried out individually or in group, which are not evaluated separately.
In the written exams, the questions are marked according to the technical and conceptual precision of the answer, and to the reasoning approach.
Weighting: 93% of the final score of the Unit

Assessment system 2: Global assessment of the solving of exercises (1) and (3) by the tutoring lecturer. Understanding of the methodology and quality of the results will be assessed. In exercise (3) the score is the same for each member of the pair.
Weighting: 7% of the final score of the Unit



Juan BELLOT, Univ. Alicante (Spain)
Felisa CEÑA, Univ. Córdoba (Spain)
Guy ENGELEN, VITO NV – Flemish Institute for Technological Research, Mol (Belgium)
Domingo GÓMEZ OREA, Univ. Politécnica Madrid (Spain)
Antonio GORRÍA, ECAS, Zaragoza (Spain)
María RÓZPIDE, TYPSA, Madrid (Spain)