Mapping Changing Ecosystems: Understanding Our Impact on the Natural Environment, 7.5 hp

Engelskt namn: Kartläggning av föränderliga ekosystem: att förstå vår påverkan på naturliga miljöer
This syllabus is valid: 2022-01-03 and until further notice
Course code: 5AR018
Högskolepoäng: 7.5
Utbildningsnivå: First cycle
Main Field of Study and progress level: Architecture: First cycle, has only upper-secondary level entry requirements
Grading scale: Three-grade scale
Responsible department: Umeå School of Architecture
Beslutad av: Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 2021-04-13


The wealth of our industrial society is largely dependent on the extraction of natural resources and combination of technologies and human labour. Such activities have vast impacts on ecosystems and their abilities to provide global society and nearby communities with services fundamental to life, such as clean water, fresh air and biodiversity.
In this course we will analyse and map the services offered by ecosystems and the human activity and production chains which affect them. The course will introduce students to theory on the subject of ecology, such as frameworks which translate ecosystem services into monetary value, to assess the negative impact of human activities and how we can control it. The aim is to apply a variety of such frameworks to investigate specific sites of exceptional value and natural beauty, with ecosystem services and assess their potential value, with the aim to make data, subjective experiences and other findings into visually gripping and explicit maps.

Expected learning outcomes

After completing the course, students should be able to:
Knowledge and understanding

  • Describe how theories about ecology can be used to assess the impact of human activity on the natural environment.
  • Compare and contrast first- and second-hand sources on experiences in unique natural environments and ecosystem services.
  • Describe an ecological case study, through analysing geographical, cultural and technological contexts. Identify and classify several different mapping and cartographic techniques.

Skills and ability

  • Develop skills in generating a juxtaposition of factual information which describes a problem; planning a cartography of this information; producing maps using two-dimensional and three-dimensional tools.

Evaluation ability and approach

  • Evaluate their working process through checking its relevance to a wider context from a critical perspective.
  • Critically evaluate how mapping and cartographic techniques they are relevant for the visualisation of the contemporary contexts.

Required Knowledge

General entry requirements

Form of instruction

The course will be taught 100 percent online and will involve participation in collective research and collaborative drawing through weekly workshops. This will be carried on in self-directed project work in groups. The forms of teaching will combine lectures, seminars, practical exercises, individual/group tutorials and group discussions.
The right to receive teaching and supervision applies only during the time the course, for which the student is registered to, is ongoing.
The course is given in English.

Examination modes

The course is examined through a submission of a report which shall contain text and visual material, documenting the work process and outcomes of the course. The report is compiled and sent in individually by each student.
Supplementary re-examination is individually adjusted based on the goal or goals that the student has not reached and takes place at the earliest two weeks after the students have received their results and at the latest two months after the regular examination. Only students who have not received a passing grade are eligible to make revisions in order to pass the exam. Revisions are not allowed for those who have already received a passing grade.

Grade for the course will be assigned when the submitted report is approved. The possible grades are 'Fail', 'Pass' or 'Pass with distinction'. For the grades 'Pass' and 'Pass with distinction' the quality of the written report needs to be high and very high respectively. Students are entitled to rewrite the same examination five times. Students who do not pass the regular examination should be provided an opportunity for further examination according to the University's "Regulations for tests and examinations at the undergraduate and graduate levels." A student who has failed two tests for a course or a part of a course, is entitled to have another examiner appointed, unless there are specific reasons against it (HF 6 Chap. 22 §). Requests for new examiners are made to the head of the department. Students have the right to be tested on the same curriculum as the regular examination at least two occasions up to two years after the first registration.

Deviations from the form of examination in the syllabus can be made for a student who has pedagogical support due to disabilities. Individual adjustments of the examination form are determined based on the student's needs. The examination form is adjusted within the framework of the expected learning outcomes of the syllabus. Decision about adjustments of the form of examination is made by the director of studies. After a request from the student the course leader shall contact the director of studies, who promptly decides on the adjusted form of examination. The decision is then to be reported to the student.


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