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Living geography project

Project summary

‘Living Geography’ aims to meet the challenge of engaging students with innovative and enjoyable learning that embraces their own perceptions of change in the local environment and that:

  • is current and future oriented
  • is local but set in wider (global) contexts
  • investigates change processes
  • evaluates change and questions sustainability

Local Living Geography projects enable the concepts of sustainable development to be embedded into mainstream education. By studying real places, these projects are engaging and involve students in better understanding a variety of issues including:

  • a sense of their ‘place’ and wider linkages
  • what sustainable development is about
  • how it can be applied in practice
  • the nature of sustainable development goals

Funding from the DfES enabled teachers, students and universities to combine with town planners, sharing expertise and bringing new thinking into their geography lessons.

New and existing GA branches have been the catalyst, providing inspiration, practical support and CPD.


Project activities and achievements

Local Projects


Several schools in Rotherham were involved with Living Geography projects. Visit the Rotherham page to find out more and download free resources. The Rotherham Living Geography group was supported by the Frederick Soddy Trust.

Milton Keynes GA Branch

Involving teachers from five schools, the initial project looked at an investigation and enquiry into aspects of development in the Marston Vale area.

Case Study of the Forest of Marston Vale

Tyneside Branch

This involved a study of the Ouseburn Valley. 20 PGCE students from Newcastle University have produced a series of activities developing an exploration of eight way learning for Y6/7 students.

Ashford, Kent

This group, led by Angus Wilson, explored the teaching and learning that may arise from a riverside, former utilities site close to the town centre. A company has proposed to build a zero-emissions development of mixed housing and services. Considering pupils’ experiences of where they live, learning in and outside school, was identified as a valuable part of the project. How do we see progression in learning activities related to such an immediate topic as ‘home’? See – it is an appealing concept touching on many aspects of education for sustainable development.

Pupils from Oak Tree Primary School have already worked in Victoria Park and Watercress Fields on the southern side of the River Stour.

Building Sustainable Communities is a GA/ASC project which has grown out of the Living Geography work in Ashford. Find out more about the project on the Building Sustainable Communities area of the GA website.

A GA committee has now been set up to explore further opportunities for studying Living Geography in Ashford.


Further reading

BBC News article: ‘The Urban World in 2050’
UK Gvt Sustainable Development

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