Graduate Diploma in Urban Horticulture
What will I study?
Successful completion of 100 credit points.
This will be made up of:
- Compulsory core subjects (50 points)
- Elective subjects (50 points)
You’ll be able to select elective subjects from a broad range, to follow your own interests
Explore this course
Explore the subjects you could choose as part of this diploma.
- Urban Soils, Substrates and Water12.5
Urban Soils, Substrates and Water
Urban soils can present distinct and unique challenges to the land manager, landscape architect or horticulturist responsible for developing, maintaining or improving urban landscapes. Often compacted, contaminated, or otherwise unsuitable for plant growth, urban soils require assessment, solutions and practical methods to ensure successful outcomes. This applications-oriented subject covers several fundamental soil science issues with direct relevance to urban landscape impacts, uses and requirements. Topics covered include compaction, nutrition, contamination, water supply, drainage and structural soils.
- Horticultural Plant Science12.5
Horticultural Plant Science
This subject considers the evolution of plants, their structure and function, how they reproduce, cell physiology, energy transformations, metabolism, photosynthesis, water and nutrient uptake and transport, plant nutrition and whole plant physiology.
Upon completion of this subject, students should be able to demonstrate their understanding of the structure of plant cells and tissues, the basic processes involved in the growth of plants and the integration of these processes in the physiology of plant growth.
- Plant Production and Establishment12.5
Plant Production and Establishment
This subject provides an overview of the horticultural industry from plant production to installation and establishment of plants in the landscape. It introduces plant propagation techniques and plant growing systems; site analysis, with specific reference to the properties of urban soils and related issues affecting plant performance; plant quality; planting techniques; plant establishment; water delivery and management issues; and the plant maintenance activities during production and at planting that are required for designed landscapes to succeed.
- Plants in the Landscape12.5
Plants in the Landscape
This subject explores the identification, selection and design use of plants in urban landscapes. The content includes an introduction to botanical nomenclature, plant selection, sources of information, planting design, planting plans, the design use of major plant groups, and recognition and identification of representative plants. Case studies of plant use and management in urban landscapes and relevant site visits are also discussed.
- Managing Urban Landscapes12.5
Managing Urban Landscapes
This subject will discuss how urban landscapes are managed. Students will study policy, planning and process issues; landscape and park typology and classification, community consultation; structures, systems, classifications and contractual relationships in urban landscapes; landscape documentation, project planning and implementation; management of urban vegetation; sustainability concepts and benchmarks and case-studies/examples of urban landscape management practice. Guest industry speakers will provide real world examples and experiences relevant to urban landscape management
- History of Landscape Architecture12.5
History of Landscape Architecture
This subject was formerly called History of Designed Landscape (PG).
A critical examination of landscape architecture as a discipline that has shaped public and private landscapes through time. Philosophies and theories relating to design and associated professions are discussed in relation to the evolution of landscape architecture on the international scene. The history of landscape architecture in Australia is contextualised and the Australian contemporary landscape is considered as a product of its colonial and twentieth century cultural contexts.
- Soil Science and Management12.5
Soil Science and Management
This subject will examine the major current issues in the management of soils under various land uses in Australia. The dynamic nature of soils will be explored through study of the chemical, physical and biological processes in the soil environment, particularly those which impact directly on plant growth. The subject should develop an understanding of how soils can be managed to optimise plant growth and minimise adverse effects on the environment and present practical solutions to soil management.
- Water Sensitive Urban Design12.5
Water Sensitive Urban Design
There is increasing recognition around the world of the threats facing urban environments and their water resources. In many cities water demand is approaching or exceeding limits of sustainability, leading to increasing interest in alternative water sources, such as stormwater harvesting, wastewater recycling and desalination. At the same time, receiving environments such as urban streams and bays are threatened by pollution and erosion from stormwater runoff, or eutrophication due to discharge of poorly-treated wastewater. There is also increasing recognition of the importance of water in the urban landscape, and of its role in the welfare and health of humans.
The concept of “water sensitive urban design” (WSUD), also known as Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM) has developed in response to these changes. It aims to better integrate water into the urban landscape, improving the sustainability and liveability of cities (for example through the sustaining of health urban vegetation), while securing adequate resources for growing cities.
This subject reflects the integration inherent in WSUD. The course will teach you about the individual urban water cycle components (water supply, wastewater, stormwater, groundwater), but will primary focus on their interactions and integration, and particularly their interaction with the built and natural environment.
The subject includes a mix of lectures and project-based learning, including a major project (broken up into stages throughout the semester), a full-day excursion and workshops involving leading WSUD experts from public and private industry. The subject will cover:
- An introduction to WSUD (its principles, objectives, context within other urban planning and sustainability policy & practice) in developed and developing countries
- Water in the urban landscape, the urban water cycle and its component characteristics
- Social, environmental and economic impacts of urban water management
- Structural tools and techniques (conceptual design, operation, maintenance)
- Non-structural tools and techniques
- Choice of scales
- Analysis methods (water balance calculations, water end-use analysis)
- Lifecycle cost analysis and multi-criteria evaluation frameworks
- Design tools and software (e.g. MUSIC, Urban Developer, House Water Expert)
- Institutional and implementation issues
- Integration between water and other urban design elements
- The Politics of Food12.5
The Politics of Food
This subject examines the politics of the global food system, and will focus on the policies, structures, power relations and political debates surrounding the production, distribution and consumption of food. The impacts of food production and consumption on food security, health, the environment, animal welfare, and the livelihoods of producers, will be critically explored. Key theoretical frameworks and concepts for understanding the dominant paradigms and dynamics of the food system will be discussed and evaluated. Integrated policies and strategies for creating more sustainable and equitable food systems, and alternative paradigms and practices of production, distribution and consumption, will also be critically examined. This subject will primarily draw on theories and methodologies from the sociology and politics of food and agriculture, food policy, and the political economy and political ecology of food.
The topics and debates covered include:
- Food policy and governance at the global, national and local levels
- Food security, food sovereignty and the Global Food Crisis
- Global trading relations, free trade and fair trade
- Environmental impacts and sustainable forms of food production and consumption
- Animal production, factory farms and animal welfare
- Supermarkets and alternative retailing and distribution networks
- Agricultural paradigms and technologies: chemical-industrial agriculture, genetically modified foods, organic agriculture and agroecology
- Corporate concentration within and across sectors of the food system
- Competition for food and land: animal feed, biofuels and land-grabbing
- Food processing, food marketing, dietary advice and health
- Local and urban food production and planning
- Alternative paradigms and networks of food production, distribution and consumption
- Sustainable Food: Policy and Practice12.5
Sustainable Food: Policy and Practice
This subject critically examines the policies, practices and challenges of creating more environmentally sustainable systems of food production, distribution and consumption. The resource dependence and environmental issues associated with existing food systems will be reviewed, including climate change, deforestation, water scarcity, loss of biodiversity, oil dependency, and chemical pollution and animal welfare issues. Current and proposed practices and integrated policy solutions for creating more sustainable and less resource-dependent systems of production distribution and consumption will be explored and compared. These initiatives will be placed in the context of a rising global demand for food and shifting dietary patterns. Government policies and regulations will be examined, and the contributions of food producers, corporations, consumers and NGOs in driving change will be analysed.
Subject topics include:
- Sustainable food system policies and planning
- Sustainable agricultural practices
- Sustainable intensification: from high-tech innovations and efficiencies to low-input practices
- Sustainable livestock production and consumption
- Farm animal welfare regulations and labelling
- Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture
- The environmental impacts of food distribution, food miles, food manufacturing and convenience food production and packaging
- Food waste across the supply chain: structural causes and remedies
- Food standards, certification and labelling of sustainably and ethically sourced foods
- Sustainable food consumption practices
- Farm Trees & Agroforestry12.5
Farm Trees & Agroforestry
This subject covers the principles and practices of integrating trees into the rural agricultural landscape for both conservation and profit. The farming community require trees and shrubs for shade and shelter, soil conservation, salinity control and aesthetics. Farmers can also produce commercial tree products such as timber, fuel, fodder, essential oils and food. Because farmers manage the majority of the Australian landscape governments, community groups and industry are increasingly working in partnership with them to grow trees for environmental services including carbon sequestration, biodiversity and downstream water quality.
- Ecological Restoration12.5
Ecological Restoration examines the principles and practices needed to restore terrestrial ecosystems in a range of modified landscapes from settled to agricultural to forested. Its focus is ecological, although consideration is also given to socio-economic factors that influence restoration programs. Lectures and field trips explore ecological principles and projects from site to landscape scales, encompassing biodiversity values and ecosystem services. The subject is delivered as a two-week intensive, including a four-day field-based component run from the Creswick campus, followed by an overnight field trip to north-eastern Victoria, and then three final days at the Parkville campus.
- Therapeutic Landscapes12.5
In this subject you will study research, applications and practice of therapeutic landscapes across social, community, horticultural and education settings. The content includes methods and approaches used in therapeutic horticulture, horticultural therapy programs, planning, design and construction of therapeutic landscapes, models and examples of successful practice in school, childrens and community gardens. Field visits and practical activities form part of the content.
- Landscape Design12.5
This subject will provide an overview of landscape design and the broader landscape industry; discuss landscape design principles and their application to practice; explore garden history and prominent garden designers; describe the residential landscape design process and planting and materials design. Guest speakers from industry will contribute to the subject.
- Landscape Construction and Graphics12.5
Landscape Construction and Graphics
This subject will cover the application of design principles and design critique, landscape materials and graphic techniques required to produce professional landscape plans, graphic communication of design intent and basic landscape elements (paving, pergolas, edging, walls, fences), verbal presentation and graphic rendering, basic surveying and levels for site development, and planting design and documentation.
- Food Production for Urban Landscapes12.5
Food Production for Urban Landscapes
In this subject you will learn about the history of urban agriculture in countries around the world and explore the various roles of urban agriculture in modern-day cities. Given the nature of the subject, a wide diversity of topics will be covered including but not limited to: plant growth requirements, agricultural inputs (such as water and nutrients), soil contamination, pests and diseases, urban-specific production methods, design and management of community gardens and edible landscapes, mainstream and alternative crops (fruit and vegetables), agro-ecology principles and practices ; and the economic value of residential food gardens. You will be required to implement and maintain an allocated crop plot in the Burnley Field Station throughout semester. Field visits will also form part of this subject.
- Green Infrastructure for Liveable Cities12.5
Green Infrastructure for Liveable Cities
Green infrastructure is the network of natural and designed vegetation elements within our cities and towns, in both public and private domains. Green infrastructure includes traditional green elements such as urban parks, gardens and trees, as well as newer green roofs, green walls and rain garden technologies. Green infrastructure provides a number of significant economic, social and environmental benefits and is an effective means of helping to adapt our buildings, communities and cities to future climate change conditions. In this subject students will gain insights into aspects of planning, design and management of green infrastructure including green roofs, green walls, urban forests and water sensitive urban design strategies. The use of green infrastructure as ‘living architecture’ and the design considerations involved will be discussed. At the building scale, this will include an understanding of the improved energy efficiencies provided by green infrastructure and their role in building star energy rating systems. At the neighbourhood and landscape scale, the role and function of different green infrastructure technologies and systems will be discussed, including roles in ameliorating urban climates, improving urban water retention, use and quality and providing more liveable urban communities.
- Advanced Plant Breeding and Improvement12.5
Advanced Plant Breeding and Improvement
Lectures/case studies and projects are used to illustrate the steps involved in taking knowledge from research laboratory or breeding trials and producing and releasing novel crop varieties. This subject will include a small research project in an area chosen by each student.
- Managing Urban Trees12.5
Managing Urban Trees
This subject aims to provide students with the tools to critically evaluate methods used to manage trees in the urban forest. The content will include critically evaluating tree assessment, evaluation and tree protection methods. It will include the study of planning and management issues and the role of community participation in urban forest management. It includes examples of methods used to map and survey trees in the urban forest. The subject will be delivered through attendance at a six day intensive workshop, followed by a 10 week period of on-line tutorials and assessment.
- Tree Identification and Selection12.5
Tree Identification and Selection
This subject aims to provide students with a thorough understanding of the tree selection and tree identification principles. Students should be able to recognise trees commonly used in landscape horticulture and correctly write their botanical, common and family names and describe tree form and tolerances. They should be able to write plant names in accordance with the ICN (International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi and plants) and the ICNCP (International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants). The subject will be delivered through attendance at a six day intensive workshop.
- Plant Health12.5
This subject assesses and evaluates plant pests and diseases, which are the key biological factors impacting on plant health in urban landscapes. Students will learn how to assess and identify common pest and disease species; be able to describe the symptoms; and learn how and when to control and manage them in various settings. Maintaining the health of plants will also be approached from different perspectives such as various Integrated Pest Management methodologies. Students will explore industry-specific plant health issues relevant to trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. Safe and effective practices when using chemicals will be discussed, including the relevant legislation relating to chemicals, pests and diseases. The subject will be delivered through attendance at a six-day intensive workshop and a subsequent 10-12 week period of on-line subject delivery and assessment.
- Designing Green Roofs and Walls12.5
Designing Green Roofs and Walls
This subject explores the design, specification and management of green roofs and walls. The content will include guidelines and policies supporting green roofs and walls, relevant typologies and categories of use, requirements for successful design, construction and maintenance, development of specifications and project management and local and international case studies. Students will gain a thorough understanding of green roof and wall design and function, the benefits provided to cities and people and gain hands on experience through practical activities and visits to local project sites.
- Biosecurity: Managing Invasive Species12.5
Biosecurity: Managing Invasive Species
Invasions are natural ecological phenomena. Dispersing individuals encounter suitable habitat, establish, spread and evolve. In this way, species have radiated outwards from their origins, colonised distant offshore islands, and species have spread in response to changes in climate.
Human-induced invasions of plants, animals and diseases in modern times have dramatically altered the scales of time and distance over which invasions take place. Their impacts can be considerable, wiping out unique communities, endangering rare species, adding considerable costs to agriculture, horticulture and forestry, and having effects on the health, leisure and livelihoods of people. Tools such as pesticides and biological control can often be used to great effect, while for other invaders there are no obvious solutions. There may be unwanted side-effects of control methods on non-target species, they may adversely affect human health, and may cause considerable public concern. Integrated management strategies can be developed using ecological information about the species but these must be implemented in a real world that involves economics, politics, opinions and social interactions.
- Social Research Methods12.5
Social Research Methods
Understanding of social process and action is critical to effective land and environment management and social research skills are therefore valued by resource management agencies.
This subject aims to equip students with knowledge and skills to design social research, which can be used to improve management of environments, agricultural and food systems.
The subject presents a framework for understanding diverse approaches to social research; the relationship between theory and method is given particular emphasis.
The research process is considered step by step including scoping research issues, the evolution of research questions, and selection of appropriate methods.
A number of research strategies are considered in more detail including survey research, case studies and action research. Social research ethics, quality in social research and advances in social research methods are examined.