Human geography field trips

Year 2: Belgrade, Helsinki, Montpellier and Sicily

Helsinki

Belgrade

This week-long field trip takes you to Belgrade, capital of Serbia and one of the most varied and dynamic cities in Eastern Europe.

With its mix of the traditional, the modern, and the ultra-contemporary, Belgrade provides an unparalleled mirror to recent European history and a fascinating terrain on which to study processes of urban change.

Helsinki

We visit one of the most dynamic and successful cities in Europe, with a hi-tech economy, a vibrant cultural life, and environmental performance that regularly sees it top international sustainability rankings.

We consider how planners and other urban professionals have created such a successful 'smart city' when faced with its peripheral location and post war growth rates that have been amongst the highest in Europe. We also visit the neighbouring second city of Espoo, built in the forest and with a very different feel.

As well as meeting with urban professionals and locals, the trip offers nightlife, a short ferry ride to the city’s World Heritage island fortress and a day trip across the Estonia to see one of Europe’s oldest capital cities.

Montpellier

We discover a city that has grown like no other – once a sleepy Mediterranean town with an ancient university and textiles tradition, now a vibrant regional capital with architecturally striking new buildings and a remarkable series of high technology parks.

Our fieldwork includes studying the tourist, educational and industrial developments using new transport infrastructure, and assessing the success of urban planning projects.

Other areas of study and exploration include coastal tourism in Languedoc-Roussillon, Roman water supply in the Pont du Gard, studying a vineyard, and a visit to Marseille, France's second biggest city.

Sicily

Focused on the challenges and opportunities of global migration, the fieldtrip will visit Lampedusa island, the southernmost tip of Italy, a key destination for migrants travelling to Europe through the central Mediterranean route.

Over the past twenty years, Lampedusa’s traditional tourist-based economy has been complemented by a new migration industry that has brought different actors to the island linked to border enforcement, humanitarian aid, public media services, and civil society engagement.

Other areas of study include the two most important cities in Sicily – Catania and Palermo – which are particularly interesting vantage points for understanding the systems and politics of integrating migrants within a culturally vibrant, economically weak, and institutionally complex local context.