Planetary Health: A Place-Based Approach

Unit code: VPH6001 | Study level: Postgraduate
(Generally, 1 credit = 10 hours of classes and independent study.)
Online Real Time


This first unit scopes and interrogates concepts, origins and the development of the planetary health approach – the relationship and interdependence between the health of people and of the planet.  The context setting place-based approach, which focuses upon finding socially equitable local solutions relevant to local communities, whilst sharing globally is interrogated. Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing and relationships with Country foreground these explorations. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are contextualised by the ongoing spatial and political contestations as a consequence of colonialism, and increasingly frame global and local policy and action, provide  a lens to explore key debates and challenges. As we interrogate new ideas and thinking, students will have the opportunity to draw upon expert commentators, theorists and researchers through conversation.
Through surveying key issues, principles and approaches, this first unit informs the subsequent units.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Critically evaluate key concepts and approaches in planetary health drawing upon origins and development of the discourse;
  2. Distinguish multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches drawing upon previous discipline framed knowledge and practice;
  3. Formulate advocacy perspectives from research evidence and through appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander standpoints and perspectives;
  4. Propose and advocate a place-based planetary health approach to addressing a policy or organisational problem or issue;
  5. Articulate and apply place-based planetary health concepts to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Study as a single unit

This unit can be studied on its own, without enrolling in a full degree.

Learn more about single units of study at VU


For Melbourne campuses

Assessment type: Literature Review
Grade: 20%
Review of 2-3 articles identifying and discussing key issues and concepts
Assessment type: Review
Grade: 20%
Review a video foregrounding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander standpoints and perspectives
Assessment type: Case Study
Grade: 30%
Develop a case study of a place-based intervention from within students’ professional field
Assessment type: Report
Grade: 30%
Report (written & verbal) applying place-based planetary health concepts to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Required reading

Required readings will be made available via VU Collaborate.

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following course(s):

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