Geography has gone, in a relatively short period of time, from being a discipline whose main activity has been the training of teachers at different levels of education to a consolidated social science that develops the skills of experts in territorial planning and management, without losing its educational identity in the process.
Over a long period of time, economic development has taken place based on the intensive use of natural resources and a high concentration of activity in urban areas. Today, society continues to demand an ever higher quality of life. However, with an awareness of the wasteful use of natural resources, ecological deterioration and threats to the environment, together with the territorial imbalances brought about by these phenomena, in summary the unsustainability of the current model of economic development, there is a demand for a new model based on the rational use of territory, social cohesion and the restoration of a territorial equilibrium. Territory, previously ignored as a concept, is becoming an increasingly important part of the agenda for public action in policies and interventions related to land use.
Territorial Management thus becomes a public service, in the sense that it is the public administration bodies that are responsible for organising, planning and directing the sustainable and efficient use of territory from a holistic perspective, with interadministrative cooperation and the participation of citizens at the end of the decision-making process. For this to happen, there is a need for the following: first of all, a political will that takes on board as a guiding principle the idea that economic development should at the same time encourage social development and be environmentally sustainable; secondly, normative instruments that establish the legal basis for public action and operational techniques; and thirdly, experts with qualifications in territorial management.
Geography has traditionally provided basic knowledge for the understanding of territorial reality, at different levels and of its different components (such as natural environment, productive activities and urban areas), and has taught us to recognise interrelationships between the natural and human-made features that interact within a given territory. Furthermore, it has developed instruments for the representation, interpretation and idealisation of territorial reality, from the first maps to current Geographic Information Technologies. In this way can be explained its consolidation as a social science that is committed to the training of experts in spatial planning and territorial management.
The University Master's Degree in Territorial Management: Operational Instruments and Techniques is designed for the training of both researchers and professionals in the field of territorial management, which is looked at from different perspectives and for different profiles, with content of a largely instrumental nature based on the use of Geographic Information Technologies, databases and map-reading techniques. The various fields of territorial management are very diverse, because of which this Master's Degree has chosen to focus training on the associated professions that are currently most in demand in Spain according to the National Association of Geographers (Colegio de Geógrafos), which in order, beginning with the most commonly sought, are (followed by the related study activities) Geographic Information Technologies, Spatial Planning, Territorial Development, and Environmental Planning and Management, together with activities carried out in both local and regional administration bodies and in the world of consulting. In line with these activities the Master's Degree tailors the content of the subjects delivered to the needs of specialised training:
- For Geographic Information Management and Applications, the Master's Degree offers two training modules: a) Data Handling and Analysis and b) Spatial Databases and Web Mapping
- For Spatial Planning, the specialist subject, Integrated Coastal Zone Management, is included
- For Environmental Management (and Urban Planning), the study programme provides specific training with Environmental Assessment of Urban Planning
- Territorial Development is provided for in Management of Territorial Development
The Master's Degree is primarily intended for graduates in Geography and Territorial Management and related degrees. However, due to the transversal and multidisciplinary nature of territorial management, and the concurrence of other professionals in the making of territorial decisions, it is a qualification which is open to graduates from a wide range of disciplines: Environmental Sciences, Biology, Architecture, Economics, Law, Political Studies, Humanities, History, Social Anthropology, Sociology, Geodesy and Cartography, and other degrees and engineering qualifications related to territorial management.
It is a Master's Degree that is open to transversality and multidisciplinarity, and that is enriched by the experience brought to it by the professionals and researchers who come from other disciplines, even if its closest curricular relationship is with the Degree in Geography and Spatial Planning / Territorial Management as a source, and with the Doctoral Programme in Geography as a logical continuation of the research carried out.
The successful completion of the University Master's Degree in Territorial Management: Operational Instruments and Techniques allows access to the Doctoral Excellence Programme in Geography at the University of Seville.