UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


Geography and the Built Environment

This optional module is recommended for students wishing to apply to the following example degree programmes:

  • Geography BA and BSc (including Economics & Geography BSc)
  • Architecture BSc
  • Urban Planning, Design & Management BSc
  • Urban Studies BSc
  • Social Sciences BSc
  • Arts & Sciences BASc
  • European Social & Political Studies BA
  • History BA
  • Information Management for Business BSc

Drawing on knowledge and approaches from the social science disciplines of Human Geography and Urban Studies, the module considers how we can better understand and respond to the local and global challenges arising from social, economic, cultural and political change. The module has been designed in conjunction with UCL's world-leading Geography Department and students will engage directly with international research undertaken in Geography, architecture/design, and related social science fields.

Content and skills

You will be introduced to key topics of study relating to Geography and the Built Environment, such as:

  • the concepts of space and place
  • the history of globalisation
  • culture and consumption
  • migration
  • architecture
  • the growth of cities
  • the global economy.

You will learn a range of academic and practical skills that can be applied to researching the social world and the built environment, such as; analysing texts, images and building designs; undertaking fieldwork and observations in urban environments; and conducting interviews and surveys.

Geography and the Built Environment students also complete an independent research project, involving data collection and analysis on a topic of your choice (with a focus on London). You will also undertake group research projects and fieldwork within and beyond London, with past destinations including the British Museum, Kings Cross re-development, the Museum of London Docklands, the Houses of Parliament, and the town of Margate (Kent).

Course structure

Students receive a series of lectures on each topic and engage in individual and group work in seminars, tutorials, and field trips. Classwork includes the discussion and debate of key ideas, close reading of sources, and data analysis and interpretation. In addition to end of term tests and a final exam, you will complete coursework assignments, essays, presentations, and undertake an individual Research Project.


Dr Daniel Kilburn

Dr Daniel Kilburn is a Human Geographer with a specialism in urban neighbourhoods, housing, and social research methods. He joined the UPCH programme in 2014, following a research fellowship at the National Centre for Research Methods at the University of Southampton. Dr Kilburn previously lectured and taught classes on social, economic, and political geography at the London School of Economics (where he also completed his PhD). He holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education and is an Associate Fellow of the UK’s Higher Education Academy.

His research interests focus on the influence of housing policy and urban development on social relations within city neighbourhoods. He also specialises on the teaching and learning of social research methods within higher education. He publishes in both fields and has presented research at international conferences in the UK and Australia. Read more about Dan.