Dynamics of Rural Areas


a) To understand the concept of rural area;
b) To justify the diversity of disciplinary approaches in the study of the complexity of the rural areas;
c) To reflect about the importance of different perspectives for the protection of the intrinsic values of the rural areas;
d) To assimilate the basic knowledge about the Common Agricultural Policy and to articulate it with the real situation in Portugal;
e) To discuss the validity of alternative agricultural modes of production;
f) To recognize strategies to create dynamics in the rural areas;
g) To evaluate critically different representations of space;
h) To analyze the meaning of spatial relations between the city and the countryside;
i) To develop technical reports based on a holistic approach of the rural areas;
j) To show capacity to analyze and summarize when applying the acquired knowledge.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Francesca Poggi


Weekly - 4

Total - 168

Teaching language





Buttel, F. H. (2006). Sustaining the unsustainable: agro-food systems and environment in the modern world. In P. Cloke, T. Marsden & P. Mooney, The Handbook of Rural Studies, London: Sage, chapter 15, p. 213 – 229.

Firmino, A. (2014). Food and Consumption: How a Meal can Change the World. In M. Cawley, A.
M. Bicalho, L. Laurens (ed.), The Sustainability of Rural Systems: global and local challenges and opportunities. NUI Galway: Whitaker Institute and CSRS of the International Geographical Union, chapter 8, p. 84 – 94. [ISBN No: 978-0-9574255-0-7].

Indrio, F. (s/d). Agricultura Biológica. Mem Martins: Publicações Europa-América, pp.11-23; 57-72;77-81;111-120.

Rede Rural Nacional (2013). Turismo Rural. RRRN, nº 2, DGPR, p. 4-34.

Woods, M. (2005). Rural Geography. London: Sage Publications, pp. 3-16; 110-126.

Teaching method

Expositive and participative teaching; discussion of case-studies; field work.

Evaluation method

Oral presentation with powerpoint (20 minutes) followed by public debate(10%), Test of all the program(60%), individual or group essay (until 3 students), based on literature and documental information, resulting from autonomous research, eventually field work (25%). Those who attended more than 60% of the practical classes will get a bonus of 5% in the practical work(30%)

Subject matter

1) Definition of concepts of rural areas and global landscape
2) Multifunctionality of rural areas
3) Edapho-climatic hindrances and potentialities : soils and land use capacity; agricultural production and climate
4) Agriculture and changes in land use: environmental and landscape impacts
5) Agriculture and technological evolution: from green revolution to biotechnological revolution
6) The Common Agricultural policy and the modernization of the agricultural sector: EMA (European Modell of Agriculture) and the Agro-Environmental Measures
7) Environmental Ethics: introduction to alternative production systems (integrated pest management, organic farming, bio-dynamics and permaculture)
8) Development Policies for the rural world: instruments to boost the dynamics in the rural areas.


Programs where the course is taught: