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Estate Management Dissertation Topics

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Example estate management dissertation topic 1:

Woodland management in an urban setting.

This dissertation seeks first to assess the state of woodland and tree management within the Unitary Authority of Derby with especial reference to Markeaton Park, bequeathed to the people of the town in 1929. In thereafter suggesting that there is a moral obligation upon the council as the Park's guardians to ensure that the woodland heritage of the site is preserved and bettered for future generations, this dissertation proposes a 20 year cycle of planting and trimming out so that by 2050 a new generation of broadleaf trees are reaching maturity. This is a dissertation that deliberately places the demands of estate management into an urban setting so that additional issues can be addressed such as public engagement and education, and the need to remind the public that such 'green open spaces' do not just merely look after themselves but require sustained management and planning.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Alexander, K.N.A. (1995). 'Historic parks and pasture-woodlands: The National Trust resource and its conservation'. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, vol. 56(s1), pp. 155-175.
  • O'Brien, E.A. (2005). 'The public and woodlands in England: Well-being, local identity, social learning, conflict and management'. Forestry, vol. 78(4), pp. 321-336.
  • Derby City Council (2012). Markeaton Park. (Including Heritage Lottery Fund applications and site management plans). Derby: Derby City Council.

Example estate management dissertation topic 2:

Rural building conversions: A rejoinder.

The government's proposed changes to planning regulations and the perceived 'watering' down of the green belt provides the legislative and political background to this dissertation. Focusing upon those areas of the country that will be directly affected by the development of the HS2, this dissertation looks at the conflicting demands of smallholders, existing rural dwellers, and would-be commuters to the issues of agricultural building conversion (more commonly known as barn conversions) as well as the reassignment of land use. This is a dissertation which will alter and grow as the research is undertaken and is, as a consequence, a dynamic research area fusing together theoretical concerns as well as practical business and political issues.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Prag, P. and Gibbard, R. (2003). 'Private investment in the countryside'. Planning, vol. 14, 3-29.
  • Ravenscroft, N. (1990). 'The nature and extent of diversification on rural estates in Britain'. Land Development Studies, vol. 7(2), pp. 83-95.
  • van der Vaart, J.H. (2005). 'Towards a new rural landscape: Consequences of non-agricultural re-use of redundant farm buildings in Friesland'. Landscape and Urban Planning, vol. 70(1), pp. 143-152.

Example estate management dissertation topic 3:

'Gathering dust for the nation': A critical appraisal of the changing role of the National Trust.

This dissertation questions the direction of the present governance of the National Trust. In so doing, it queries whether this 'guardian of the nation's countryside' has become too overtly political over the last decade and whether its present policies (including for instance the buying of the former terrace house of Sir Paul McCartney, as well as back-to-backs in Birmingham) is appropriate. Advancing the hypothesis that the National Trust should be concentrating on the management, maintenance and enrichment of the nation's great historic houses, this is a dissertation that criticises aspects of the prevailing orthodoxy of the Trust and advances a 'back to basics' policy for its future direction.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Desmond, B. (2010). 'National Trust nurtures talent: Developing internal consulting capability to support strategy'. Strategic Direction, vol. 26(11), pp. 8-11.
  • Lithgow, K., Staniforth, S. and Etheridge, P. (2008). 'Prioritizing access in the conservation of National Trust collections'. Studies in Conservation, vol. 53(1), pp. 178-185.
  • Milbourne, P. (2003). 'Hunting ruralities: Nature, society and culture in 'hunt countries' of England and Wales'. Journal of Rural Studies, vol. 19(2), pp. 157-171.

Example estate management dissertation topic 4:

No longer fit for purpose? An evaluation of the estate management process deployed by the Church of England.

Using the Diocese of Durham as a case study, this dissertation evaluates the state of the Church's estates within the north of England. Noting declining congregations, increasing numbers of church closures, a failure to stem the tides of vandalism and lead theft, and the failure of the Diocese to conform to issues of best practice with regard to listed building planning consents, this dissertation questions whether the time has come for 'redundant' churches and 'redundant' vicarages to be removed from the care of the Church. In so doing, it argues that a new agency needs to be appointed to direct and control the future uses of such buildings for they are part of the nation's cultural heritage.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Behrens, J. (2005). Practical church management. Leominster: Gracewing Publishing.
  • Keucher, G.W. (2006). Remember the future: Financial leadership and asset management for congregations. New York: Church Publishing Incorporated.
  • Mansfield, J.R. (2008). 'A critique of the evolving funding process for the care of Anglican medieval cathedrals in England'. Structural Survey, vol. 26(3), pp. 199-209.

Example estate management dissertation topic 5:

The right to buy and issues of tenancy in 'landed' estates - an evaluation.

This dissertation has two primary research aims. The first is to evaluate the extent to which tenants, nationally, living upon 'landed estates' have either exercised a right to buy their property over the last twenty years or been offered the opportunity so to do. The second aim is to evaluate the effects that such 'privatisation' would have upon the future working and viabilities of such estates. Arguing that the maintenance of the integrity of estates must come first, this is a dissertation that both theory and practice and would benefit from the undertaking of primary research with both tenants and landlords alike.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Ilbery, B., Maye, D., Watts, D. and Holloway, L. (2010). 'Property, ownership and landlord-tenant relationships in English agriculture'. In, Winchell, D.G., Ramsey, D., Koster, R. and Robinson, G.M. (eds), Geographical Perspectives on Sustainable Rural Change. Brandon: Brandon University Press, pp. 41-60.
  • Bryden, J. and Geisler, C. (2007). 'Community-based land reform: Lessons from Scotland'. Land Use Policy, vol. 24(1), pp. 24-34.
  • Munton, R. (2009). 'Rural land ownership in the United Kingdom: Changing patterns and future possibilities for land use'. Land Use Policy, vol. 26, pp. S54-S61.

Example estate management dissertation topic 6:

Estate diversification - from stag hunting to stag parties.

Tracing the diversification of country estates over the last twenty years, this dissertation not only evaluates the success of such schemes as 'corporate clay pigeon shooting' and 'wine and dine' weekends, but also seeks to ask what future plans does the industry hold. Mindful of the need to achieve a balance between the private needs of the family and those of securing the financial viabilities of a number of estates, this dissertation provides a 'snap shot' of business practices presently used upon three estates within Gloucestershire and seeks to proffer a series of suggestions as to how the present models can be further diversified.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Leask, A., Fyall, A. and Garrod, B. (2002). 'Heritage visitor attractions: Managing revenue in the new millennium'. International Journal of Heritage Studies, vol. 8(3), pp. 247-265.
  • Wightman, A. and Higgins, P. (2000). 'Sporting estates and the recreational economy in the Highlands and islands of Scotland'. Scottish Affairs, vol. 31, pp. 18-36.
  • Williams, B.C. and Bradlaw, C.S. (2001). 'An economy of country houses'. International Journal of Heritage Studies, vol. 7(3), pp. 273-293.

Example estate management dissertation topic 7:

An investigation into inheritance tax and the rural estate.

Though mindful of the parlous state of the nation's economy, this dissertation advances the proposition that inheritance tax should be removed from rural estates regardless of size and/or income. In advancing this controversial policy, this dissertation suggests that the longer-term viability of the rural economy and in particular the livelihood of dairy farmers is of greater importance than the 'drop in the ocean' that such revenues provide the Treasury. Using both qualitative and quantitative data this dissertation will firstly contextualise the present day problems with reference to both the amounts of inheritance taxed raised over the last decade and the effect that this has had on estate splitting. Thereafter, the second part of the dissertation will use primary data in the form of interviews to present the views of estate owners and their families to illustrate the need for a change in existing government policy.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Gale, W.G. and Slemrod, J.B. (2001). 'Policy watch: Death watch for the estate tax?' Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 15(1), pp. 205-218.
  • Gasson, R., Crow, G., Errington, A., Hutson, J., Marsden, T. and Winter, D.M. (2008). 'The farm as a family business: A review'. Journal of Agricultural Economics, vol. 39(1), pp. 1-41.
  • Mumford, A. (2007). 'Inheritance in socio-political context: The case for reviving the sociological discourse of inheritance tax law'. Journal of Law and Society, vol. 34(4), pp. 567-593.

Example estate management dissertation topic 8:

Health and safety within forestry management.

This dissertation evaluates present day health and safety practices within forestry management. Through so doing it seeks first to argue that the introduction of measures such as chain-saw licencing for tree surgeons, and a greater acceptance of the professionalism of health and safety, have, despite popular perceptions, benefitted the profession with regard to declining number of incidences over recent years. Thereafter the dissertation seeks the views of present day health and safety officials so that it may make reasoned suggestions through which to further enhance their standing within the wider estate management community.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Cabeças, J.M. (2007). 'An approach to health and safety in EU forestry operations: Hazards and preventive measures'. Enterprise and Work Innovation Studies, IET, vol. 3, pp. 13-34.
  • Solomon, C. (2002). 'Accidental injuries in agriculture in the UK'. Occupational Medicine, vol. 52(8), pp. 461-466.
  • Thelin, A. (2002). 'Fatal accidents in Swedish farming and forestry, 1988-1997'. Safety Science, vol. 40(6), pp. 501-517.

Example estate management dissertation topic 9:

Optimal ways of feeding pheasants - A review of present practices.

Game birds are an important part of a diversified country estate, and the production of game birds such as pheasants should be maximised to reap the benefits for the estate. Food supply can be a limiting factor in breeding, particularly as cereal crops may not be in neighbouring fields. This dissertation explores a study of three trials of pheasant feeding on a large estate in the north of England. The three areas are each comprised of mixed woodland with fields and shelterbelts, separated by at least 500 metres. The three different methods of feeding are: hand feeding (ground); clusters of small hoppers feeding with the use of a spiral feeder; and large wooden tapered feeders.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Game Conservancy Trust (2003). Woodland conservation and pheasants. Fordingbridge: The Game Conservancy Trust Ltd.
  • Robertson, P.A. and Dowell, S. (1990). 'The effects of hand-rearing on wild gamebird populations'. In, Lumeij, J.T. and Hoogeveen, Y.R., (eds) The future of wild Galliformes in the Netherlands. Amersfoort: Organisatiecommissie Nederlandse Wilde Hoenders, pp. 158-171.
  • Wise, D.R. (1994). 'Weight, carcase composition and reproductive performance of pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) fed restricted or unrestricted diets'. Research in Veterinary Science, vol. 57, pp. 119-124.

Example estate management dissertation topic 10:

The nature of open spaces in urban developments: Is private ownership of such spaces acceptable?

Public priority investment has enabled local authorities to provide amenities and open spaces in conjunction with urban developments on a scale that may not have been possible otherwise. Granary Square, in King's Cross, London, is an example of such a development, where private ownership of parkland and other public amenities means that access can be restricted or denied. Although this is a return to how much of London's open spaces were originally created, this diminution of public access is causing concern in many quarters. This dissertation evaluates whether these development 'deals' are good value for the public, or whether the public has been the victim of a stealthy campaign to ensure fresh air only for the privileged.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Carmona, M. (2008). Public space: The management dimension. London: Routledge.
  • Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (2006). Paying for parks: Eight models for funding urban green space. London: CABE.
  • De Magalhães, C. and Carmona, M. (2006). 'Innovations in the management of public space: Reshaping and refocusing governance'. Planning Theory & Practice, vol. 7(3), pp. 289-303.

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