GY448      Half Unit
Urban Planning: Society, Market and Sustainability

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Alan Mace STC315a


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Regional And Urban Planning Studies and MSc in Urban Policy (LSE and Sciences Po). This course is available on the MSc in City Design and Social Science, MSc in Geographic Data Science and MSc in Human Geography and Urban Studies (Research). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

The number of students that can be accommodated is limited. If the course is over-subscribed, places will be allocated at the Department’s discretion and a waiting list may be created. For further details, please contact your relevant Programme Coordinator.

Course content

The course seeks to bring into conversation with one another the theory and practice of urban planning. While we draw primarily on our experience of, and ideas generated in the global north we also draw on practice in and perspectives from the global south. You will look at key planning ideas such as; the neighbourhood, community, the region and regional planning, networked planning and partnerships, and sustainability as a rationale for contemporary urban planning. A number of themes run through the course including; social justice and the relationship between planning, state and markets. Our analysis of planning practice provides a critique of past and present practice that provides the basis for considering future urban planning practice.


In the Department of Geography and Environment, teaching will be delivered through a combination of classes/seminars, pre-recorded lectures, live online lectures and other supplementary interactive live activities.


This course is delivered through a combination of seminars and lectures across Michaelmas Term.


This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Michaelmas Term.

Formative coursework

Students will submit a 1,500 word assignment.

Indicative reading

  • Friedmann, J., 2011. Insurgencies: Essays in Planning Theory, Routledge.
  • Joss, S. 2015. Sustainable Cities; Governing for Urban Innovation. Palgrave.
  • Sanyal, B., Lawrence, J.V and Rosan C.D.R. 2012. Planning Ideas That Matter. MIT Press.

Once on the course, all key readings are available online being either journal articles or electronic book chapters.


Essay (100%, 4500 words) in the LT.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Student performance results

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 38.9
Merit 45.2
Pass 14.3
Fail 1.6

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2020/21: 45

Average class size 2020/21: 15

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication