Spatial Planning Strategies URBAN5046

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The concept and practice of spatial planning is both challenging and messy. It requires practitioners who are equipped with the necessary skills, are able to think critically, and can engage with planning thought. To this end, Spatial Planning Strategies (SPS) is a hands-on course that takes you through contemporary planning thoughts and practices, thereby equipping you to function effectively in the messy and contentious world of professional planning practice. SPS consciously integrates critical elements of planning theory and essential skills in spatial planning. This link between skills, critical thinking and planning theory runs throughout the course and is emphasised through lectures, workshops, group work and seminars. To give it a real-life feel, SPS is assessed through a group project comprising a challenging integrated spatial planning framework (75%) and a presentation (25%). The course is taught by a large number of experts from academia and practice, in the private and public sector, who work at a national, regional and local level. In this course, you get their hands dirty and take charge of the learning process through independently organised meetings to prepare for workshops and the group project. In the same vein, after the initial field study tour, project groups organise their own subsequent visits to the fieldwork site.


The course will be delivered in 3 hourly blocks, once per week, over 9 consecutive weeks.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements:


Excluded Courses






This course will be assessed through the submission of a strategic planning strategy for an area of a city including written commentary (maximum 12,000 words and representing 75% of total course mark) and appropriate illustrative matter, and 15-minute presentation (25% of total course mark). Both submissions will be team based tasks.

Course Aims

The aim of this course is to enable students to generate visionary and imaginative responses to spatial planning challenges, which are realistic and derive from substantial investigation and analysis of relevant data and other evidence.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course, participants should be able to:

■ articulate the concept and practice of spatial planning, its difference from land use planning, and its application at a range of spatial scales;

■ state the case for and against spatial planning, and particular forms of spatial planning;

■ assess and evaluate contemporary debates in planning theory and practice;

■ debate the relationship between built form and patterns of movement;

■ prepare coherent and integrated strategies that take account of relevant institutional frameworks and combine creative direction for the future with credible means of implementation;

■ apply a variety of techniques that aid spatial analysis and help develop spatial strategies;

■ demonstrate that planning and development decisions have differing impacts on different people, and develop the capacity to identify and explain these impacts so that they can be properly taken into account in decision-making;

■ examine and assess the linkages between the use, management and development of built and natural environment, and understand the implications of climate change;

■ evaluate the nature and roles of different organisations and institutions, both in framing and implementing spatial strategies;

■ coherently articulate a spatial planning strategy using a range of media including graphic representation;

■ explain and critically appraisal spatial planning policies employed to protect the natural environment, conserve historical buildings and facilitate place-making, and promote sustainable development;

■ critically evaluate environmental sustainability as a concept, with particular relevance to the demands and pressures cities place on the natural environment in different regions, and

■ work effectively on individual and group-based tasks.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.


Minimum requirement for award of credit for students on MSc City Planning and MSc City Planning & Real Estate Development is D3 or above.


University standard regulations apply for students on all other qualifications.