Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Code ENVS411
Coordinator Professor TB Fischer
Geography and Planning
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2021-22 Level 7 FHEQ First Semester 15


This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the conflicts facing planners in trying to deliver sustainable development. It is a module which looks at policy issues and responses at a variety of different spatial scales. Five main objectives are identified:

One. To introduce students to the range of social and economic issues that face contemporary society in relation to accessing basic needs including, housing, employment and transport;

Two. To introduce students to the need for planning to protect our natural resources from development pressures (including landscape, biodiversity, water, energy, waste, etc.);

Three. To introduce the concept of sustainable development with the need to balance social, economic and environmental concerns;

Four. To develop the idea that contemporary problems are often rooted in past decisions;

Five. To introduce students to the range of planning policy responses designed to address these competing interes ts.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) 1. demonstrate an understanding of the many faceted competing uses and demands placed on planners trying to deliver sustainable development;

(LO2) 2. demonstrate the way that different issues concern different groups in different spatial locations;

(LO3) 3. demonstrate the different planning interventions designed to improve people's quality of life.

(S1) Problem solving skills

(S2) Communication skills

(S3) Adaptability

(S4) Organisational skills



In this module the focus will be on introducing the range of planning dilemmas in urban and rural areas and introducing the planning responses at a variety of different scales. The aim is to equip students with an appreciation of the dilemmas, combined with the skills to research further issues in greater depth. The concept of sustainable development is a golden thread which runs through the module, and the sessions are structured around three key themes:

I: Introducing 'Spatial' Planning and it's role in delivering sustainable development

What is different about 'spatial planning? What is sustainable development and how from a spatial planning perspective is it being promoted/applied at all levels of governance, international, European, national, regional, local and neighborhood? What are the consequent challenges with these concepts and approaches? What are the two greatest challenges facing spatial planning for sustainable devel opment in the 21st century- a focus on understanding how climate change and demographic change affect how we plan and what planning can do to prepare for such challenges.

II: Meeting social and economic needs of the community

Population dynamics and the implications for the quality of place, demographic change, household formation, ageing and fertility levels, census and other population data sources for planning. The session will use international examples to analyse implications of growing and shrinking populations.

Spatial Strategies and Planning for housing. Where should new housing go and why? How does the planning system manage the need and demand for housing at a variety of different spatial scales. Housing dilemmas and policy responses are analysed and critically considered, including controlling Greenfield development and promoting Brownfield use. Issues of affordability, quality and viability are considered. The session wil l look to international case studies of new large-scale housing-led mixed use developments to understand how planning can meet demands in a sustainable way.

Planning for sustainable transport- how does transport infrastructure affect the location, form and density of development and patterns of mobility? The session will look at urban form, movement strategies, accessibility, and connecting people and places by multiple modes of transport. A historical perspective will be outlined, along with the issues of planning for an increased demand for mobility.  Consequences of increased use of motorised transport will be framed in relation to problems of congestion, air quality, and health. Planning for sustainable mobility/active transport will be introduced as a planning solution and the challenges this poses will be assessed.

Planning for economic development key growth sectors in the economy. Key agencies for promoting economic development at the European, regional and local scales. Economic development policies and programmes inaction.

III: Managing resources  and protecting natural and cultural heritage

Reconciling regeneration and conservation interests will be assessed in the context of sustainable development. The role and importance of built and natural heritage to both people and place will be critically considered.

Planning for green infrastructure. Understanding the positive role green infrastructure can play in sustainable development and appreciating the need to protect biodiversity. Mechanisms, tools and agencies designed to protect important flora and fauna,international and European designations, and the implications for planning. The role of statutory agencies in helping to protect biodiversity.

Planning and managing change in the countryside. The factors and forces shaping the quality of our landscapes and the growing demand for urban consu mption of the countryside. Policy responses at a variety of different scales.

Shaping the future form of urban development in a way that is energy conscious, seeks to reduce / reuse/ recycle waste and generally manages environmental resources in a way which is sustainable.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching Method 1 - e-Lectures
Description: pre-recorded lectures will be released for asynchronous delivery (not timetabled).

Teaching Method 2 - Online discussions
Description: There will be 4 1hr timetabled discussion sessions where students can raise queitions for discussion tro help consolidate their learning on the module.

Teaching Method 3 - Student-led presentation sessions

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours           20


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 124


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Individual recorded presentations (15 minutes), to be shared with all other students  15 minutes    50       
Course Essay There is a resit opportunity. Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is an anonymous assessment. Assessment Schedule (When) :week 12  2000 words    50       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.