Land Use Change

Course code:
Period 3
Language of tuition:
Fac. der Aard- en Levenswetenschappen
dr. E. Koomen
dr. E. Koomen
Teaching method(s):
Lecture, Computer lab, Seminar

Course objective

The interactions between earth and economics that steer changes in land
use are central to this course. Socio-economic processes, spatial policy
and bio-physical conditions determine the way humans use the surface of
the earth. These driving forces are active at various scale levels and
they are often interrelated, making the analysis of land-use change a
complex issue. Moreover, changes in land use (in)directly affect the
social and physical environment in which humans live, creating feedback
loops in the dynamics of land-use change. In order to understand the
mechanisms of change and the impact of policies, researchers and
practitioners have turned their attention to formulating models that
simulate land-use dynamics. These land-use change models help us to
understand the characteristics and interdependencies of the components
that constitute spatial systems. Moreover, they can provide valuable
insights into possible land-use configurations in the future.

This course aims to provide insight in the most important forces that
influence land-use dynamics and allows students to independently apply
this knowledge to analyse actual changes, explain these and simulate
potential future land-use patterns. Ample attention will be paid to the
societal application of this knowledge in current spatial planning
issues related to, for example, climate change, open space preservation
and biodiversity.

Course content

Studies of land-use change incorporate concepts and knowledge from a
wide range of disciplines. Geography, as a spatial science, contributes
significantly to the understanding of land-use change whilst demography
and economics help explain underlying trends. Model building relies
heavily on mathematics and (geographical) information science, but also
includes many elements from the softer sciences, such as management
studies and environmental science. This course offers a cross-sectional
overview of methods, tools and current research progress in the analysis
of land-use change. See the course pages on blackboard for more

Form of tuition

The course consists of 8*2 hours of lecturing, 8*2 hours supervised
practical sessions and a final 4 hour interactive session in which the
analysis and simulation of land-use change will be explained, practised
and discussed. Outside these scheduled hours students will need
additional time to finalise the assignments and independently read
scientific literature. As the course only takes four weeks, students are
expected to be busy with it full time. Past experiences have taught that
combinations with other activities often lead to the missing of
deadlines and insufficient results.

Type of assessment

Written examination and active participation in the practical sessions.
The assessment will be based on a written final examination (65%) and
the marks for the practical assignments (35%). For each of these
components students should obtain a mark of 5.5 or higher.

Course reading

Book: Modelling land-use change, Springer, ISBN 9781402064845
(paperback) digitally available through blackboard. In addition various
scientific papers have to be read that will also be made available
through blackboard.

Recommended background knowledge

Some practical experience in using GIS-software is required, as is an
interest in understanding land-use change processes.

Target audience

The course stresses the importance of a multidisciplinary approach in
analysing land use change and introduces concepts, methods and tools
that can be relevant to a wide range of students. This course is
intended for students in the third year of the Earth and Economics
Bachelor programme and is part of several minor programmes. In addition
is also open to others interested in the topic that meet the entry

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