Module details

  • Urban and Planning Theory (Semester 1)

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    (15 credits)

    This module aims to provide a thorough grounding in how planning works in theory. You will be introduced to the theories that are used to explain and guide the processes and practices of urban planning across the world. Differences between theories of and theories for planning; and between normative and explanatory theory are discussed. Some of the ethical dilemmas facing planners working in the public and private sector are identified, and mechanisms for dealing with these dilemmas explored.

  • Presenting Design Research (Semester 1)

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    (15 credits)

    The aims of this module relate to the skills and techniques needed to undertake the three elements required to make a seminar paper presentation and a conference poster presentation. You will develop techniques used in writing a paper abstract that convey ideas clearly and concisely; discuss how to present research information and ideas clearly to an audience using the spoken word and relevant technology and develop techniques to present research information and ideas clearly in the form of a conference poster.

  • Property Development 1: Valuation Methods and Investment Appraisal* (Semester 1)

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    (15 credits)

    You will be introduced to a range of valuation methods covering fundamental aspects of commercial and residential property valuation, to help you understand the principal methods of valuing assets in the built environment. Working with the Director of the programme in London and sessional teachers from industry, you will develop an understanding of both the determinants of value in the built environment, both in theory and practice.

  • Digital Design and Simulation Technologies* (Semester 1)

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    (15 credits)

    This module seeks to raise your awareness and skills in the realm of digital design, visualisation and simulation. You will examine and participate in digital design workflows, from ideation to final presentation, with particular emphasis on hardware and software that can support low-fidelity and/or high-fidelity modelling, whether on-screen or in immersive environments.

  • User-centred Research and Design* (Semester 1)

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    (15 credits)

    Through this module, the main philosophies and advantages of usercentred design thinking and decision making will be introduced. You will be guided through the pivotal process of researching and eliciting user needs, formulating user requirements, and creatively translating requirements into design proposals. Practical exercises will be set, which may include but not be limited to: ethnographic research, user testing and observation, and participatory design.

  • Urban Planning Practice (Semester 2)

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    (15 credits)

    Drawing on international examples, this module explores how urban planning happens in practice – how cities are changing, and how planners are developing and implementing strategies to adapt to and mitigate those changes. Topical issues including migration, climate change and economic restructuring are used to frame discussions around planning practice, both in terms of plan-making and development management. The links between urban and planning theory, covered in Semester 1, and practice are also covered.

  • Research Methodology (Semester 2)

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    (15 credits)

    This module examines key skills needed to prepare a written dissertation in architecture. It consists of a series of lectures, seminars and exercises, and presentations about your own research and dissertation preparation and methods, with the overall aim of assisting you to select, define and launch your dissertation projects.

  • Property Development 2: From Design to Delivery* (Semester 1)

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    (15 credits)

    You will be introduced to the latest thinking on project management and its relationship to the related issues of design and valuation, to help you understand the process through which the built environment is produced. Working with the Director of the programme in London and sessional teachers from industry, you will develop an understanding of how property development is delivered in practice.

  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship* (Semester 2)

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    (15 credits)

    Through this module, links between design as ideation and design as a commercial and market necessity will be explored. You will develop understanding of critical differences between routine design and innovation, alongside the role of trends, forecasting and scenario building. A practical entrepreneurial activity will be set, based around design intervention for an identified need or opportunity.

  • Thesis (Semester 2)

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    (60 credits)

    A primary aim of this module is to offer the opportunity to submit a conventional written dissertation or to submit a design thesis with supporting documentation on an approved topic or brief of your choice. The second of these alternatives responds to current research agendas in the field of architecture, and in particular the idea of Design as Research. It is expected that the majority of students will work individually but, with the prior agreement of the Programme Director, students undertaking a Design or Research by Design Thesis may be permitted in pairs where the project is of sufficient complexity.

    Thesis projects may be in one of three forms, a Design Thesis, a written dissertation or Research by Design.

  • International Planning Studies* (Semester 1 & 2)

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    (30 credits)

    This module is motivated by transnational policy learning and the diffusion of approaches and ideas. Thus it aims to understand more about one’s own assumption and context, through comparison with “how things work” in another national context. This module considers the international dimensions of planning, including the purposes of comparative planning study, issues surrounding processes of “learning from other countries”, the European context for spatial planning, planning in other global regions, and approaches adopted in relation to key planning challenges in different places. This module accounting for 30 credits spans two semesters. In semester 2, a field class visit to another EU country complements students understanding of how the culture, history, legal and administrative structures of different countries shape spatial planning practices.

  • Urban Design and Place Making * (Semester 1)

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    (15 credits)

    This module discusses a broad range of urban design and place making issues to equip students with a critical understanding of the theory and practice of urban design. Students will examine past and current approaches to urban design and place making and explore their application in real places.

  • Urban Design Studio * (Semester 2)

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    (15 credits)

    This module builds on the previous urban design module to provide a more hands on experience of project work; it investigates the factors that shape places and focuses on the interventions needed to create a better quality built environment. Students will work at different urban scales to re-imagine complex areas and formulate spatial proposals for their future development.

*Optional module

The modules within MSc Urban Planning are regularly reviewed to ensure a distinctive and challenging programme
of study so, are therefore, subject to change.