Urban Infrastructure and Strategic Planning

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Philipp Rode FAW 8.01I and Prof Antony Travers CON6.06


This course is available on the Executive MSc in Cities. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

Urban infrastructure and strategic planning is a workshop based course providing practical insights on infrastructure development and strategic planning for cities. The course combines a series of lectures with studio-based group work on a case study city. Students are introduced to all key components of urban infrastructure, cutting across transport, energy, water, waste and digital network systems. A particular focus of this course is the interrelationship of transport infrastructure and urban form. This relationship forms the basis for an inquiry into strategic planning approaches and practical applications in cities around the world. Furthermore, the course covers important aspects of infrastructure governance, finance and regulation and examines implications for large-scale physical infrastructure as well as digital, smart city technologies.

Infrastructure and strategic planning aims to provide the students with a praxis-oriented understanding of urban infrastructure development and strategic planning. The workshop-based nature of the course facilitates learning and skills development in relation to strategic development planning.

Topics include: urban infrastructure, transport, energy, water, waste, digital networks, strategic planning, smart cities, finance, privatisation, municipalisation, public private partnerships, design life, lock-in, phasing


The course will be taught via a combination of asynchronous sessions and live sessions, the latter of which can be attended in-person or remotely. A minimum of 10 hours of asynchronous learning materials sessions will be provided ahead of live teaching, which will consist of videos, readings and interactive activities. Approximately 20 hours of live teaching will be provided, consisting of lecture-based discussions, seminars and workshops. The majority of these will be delivered during Module 5. In addition to these activities, students will undertake supervised collaboration sessions on a remote basis during a two-week period in the lead up to Module 5.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the ST.

Prepare a 500 word brief for your project indicating key deliverables

Indicative reading

  • Albrechts, Luis (2004): Strategic (spatial) planning re-examined. Pion Ltd.
  • Belaieff, Antoine, Gloria Moy and Jack Rosebro (2007). Planning for a Sustainable Nexus of Urban Land Use, Transport and Energy, Blekinge Institute of Technology.
  • Bulkeley, Harriet, Vanesa Castán Broto and Anne Maassen (2014). "Low-carbon transitions and the reconfiguration of urban infrastructure." Urban Studies 51(7): 1471-1486.
  • Cervero, Robert and Jin Murakami (2009): Rail and Property Development in Hong Kong: Experiences and Extensions.
  • Collier, Paul and Anthony J Venables (2016). "Urban infrastructure for development." Oxford Review of Economic Policy 32(3): 391-409.
  • Delmon, Jeffrey (2011): Public-Private Partnership Projects in Infrastructure: An Essential Guide for Policy Makers. Cambridge University Press.
  • Dimitriou, Harry T, E John Ward and Philip G Wright (2013). "Mega transport projects—Beyond the ‘iron triangle’: Findings from the OMEGA research programme." Progress in planning 86: 1-43.
  • Dimitriou, Harry T. and Ralph Gakenheimer (2011): Urban Transport in the Developing World: A Handbook of Policy and Practice. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.
  • Ehtisham Ahmad, Dan Dowling , Denise Chan, Sarah Colenbrander , Nick Godfrey (2019). Scaling Up Investment for Sustainable Urban Infrastructure: A Guide to National and Subnational Reform, Coalition for Urban Transitions.
  • Estache, Antonio and Marianne Fay (2009). Current debates on infrastructure policy. Commission on Growth and Development, The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and The World Bank.
  • Graham, Stephen and Colin McFarlane (2014): Infrastructural Lives: Urban Infrastructure in Context. Taylor & Francis.
  • Gordon, Ian Richard and Tony Travers (2010). "London: planning the ungovernable city." City, Culture and Society 1(2): 49-55.
  • Guy, Simon, Simon Marvin, Will Medd and Timothy Moss (2012): Shaping Urban Infrastructures: Intermediaries and the Governance of Socio-Technical Networks. Taylor & Francis.
  • Hajer, Maarten and Hiddo Huitzing (2012). Energetic society Urban Age Electric City Conference. R. Burdett and P. Rode. London, LSE Cities. London School of Economics.
  • Lall, Somik Vinay, J Vernon Henderson and Anthony J Venables (2017). Africa's cities: Opening doors to the world, The World Bank.
  • Leipziger, Danny, Marianne Fay, Quentin T Wodon and Tito Yepes (2003). "Achieving the millennium development goals: the role of infrastructure."
  • Magdahl, J. E. (2012). From privatisation to corporatisation: exploring the strategic shift in neoliberal policy on urban water services. FIVAS-Association for International Water Studies.
  • Murthy, Sharmila L (2013). "The human right (s) to water and sanitation: history, meaning, and the controversy over-privatization." Berkeley J. Int'l L. 31: 89.
  • Peterson, George (2009): Unlocking Land Values to Finance Urban Infrastructure. World Bank.
  • Rode, Philipp (2018). Ethiopia's Railway Revolution. Urban Age Developing Urban Futures. London, LSE Cities.
  • Rode, Philipp (2019). "Infrastructural Ideals." LSE Cities Briefing Papers, London School of Economics and Political Science.
  • Stead, Dominic and Evert Meijers (2009): Spatial Planning and Policy Integration: Concepts, Facilitators and Inhibitors. Routledge.
  • Townsend, Anthony M. (2013): Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia. W. W. Norton.
  • Travers, Tony (2009). "Transport infrastructure in London." Oxford Review of Economic Policy 25(3): 451-468.
  • UN Habitat (2009). Planning Sustainable Cities - Global Report on Human Settlements 2009. Nairobi.
  • Vasconcellos, Eduardo (2001): Urban transport, environment, and equity: the case for developing countries. Earthscan Publications.


Coursework (80%, 5000 words) and presentation (20%) in the ST.

A group project report not exceeding 5,000 words, which will count for 80% of the final grade. 

Additionally, each group member must write a personal reflection on their contribution in no more than 600 words, and should include specific details of the student's contributions to the project. 

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.

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: School of Public Policy

Total students 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Controlled access 2020/21: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills