PhD Course in Land Use Change and Rural-urban Transformation in the Global South

Monday, July 3, 2017 (All day) to Friday, July 7, 2017 (All day)
University of Copenhagen
Related GLP Member: Ole Mertz, Patrick Meyfroidt


Despite considerable variations, most parts of the Global South are currently experiencing dramatic land use changes and unprecedented rural-urban transformations. This course will provide PhD students with historical and geographical insights, theoretical perspectives, and clear methodologies, to equip them to comprehend these complex transformations. 

The course will draw on excellent research in resource economics, land use change in forest frontiers, rural-urban livelihoods, global land grab dynamics, and critical urban studies. Through the development of an interdisciplinary platform for learning, young academics will be equipped to critically researching land use and rural-urban transitions. 

The course will combine student presentations on how they approach land use change and rural-urban transformation, topical lectures from the experts, study groups of core topics/texts supervised by the experts, and round tables on how the big transformations connect to worldly debates (e.g. Sustainable Development Goals, Climate Change) and global, national and local policies of development. These elements will be mixed in the program as it is secured that all students will have presented their work within the two first days. 

Course participants should be enrolled in a university PhD program and will be selected based on the relevance of their PhD topic and quality of extended abstracts submitted as part of their signing up for the course. 

All students need to take an active part in all aspects of the course and shall post-campus hand in an essay for evaluation that demonstrates his/her ability to synthesize selected academic literature and point to its application in his/her thesis work.

Learning outcome


- Differentiate different academic approaches to land use change and rural-urban transformation and critically apply these to their own research.


- Critically read, discuss and communicate research and scholarly work of other researchers ? summarize key debates on land use change and rural-urban transformation and develop methodological and analytic strategies for understanding these.


- Critically apply the different academic approaches to the topical issues and understand how they link to various disciplinary approaches ? reflect on how academic analyses can link to concrete policy and governance work at different scales.


Teachers from UCPH-SCIENCE:

Associate Professor, Jytte Agergaard, IGN –
Professor, Ole Mertz, IGN –

Invited speakers

Professor, Rob Cramb – University of Queensland (Australia):

Professor, Laura German – University of Georgia (US):

Senior Principal Researcher, Cecilia Tacoli – International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED, London):

Research Director, Jean-Christophe Castella – Institute of Research for Development (IRD, France):

 Professor, Patrick Meyfroidt, Catholic University of Leuven: