Postgraduate taught 

Urban Studies PgCert

Sustainable Housing Development URBAN5049

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

Housing development is vital for meeting housing needs and demands but it carries high risks for environmental, economic and social sustainability. This course examines what sustainability means in relation to housing development, and provides a critical examination of current policy and practice within a broad institutional framework, including affordable housing developers and private housebuilders. The course includes fieldwork to live development sites and encourages students to develop their own evaluation of sustainable housing development practice.


Classes to run in Semester 2 and delivered in 3 hourly blocks, once per week, over 9 consecutive weeks.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements:


Excluded Courses

Sustainable Housing Development (URBAN5097)





This course will be assessed by two written assignments. The first (1,200 words; 30% of credits) will be designed to allow students to demonstrate application of the key concepts of sustainability. The second (2,800 words; 70%) will enable them to complete a case study of a recent housing development or to explore a specialist topic related to sustainable housing development.

Course Aims

The aim of this course is to evaluate what is meant by sustainable housing development and explore the process by which it is most likely to be delivered. The course therefore seeks to integrate consideration of a range of housing design, development and management issues, with an equal emphasis given to private and social housing.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

On completing the course, participants will be able to:

■ evaluate what sustainability means from an environmental, economic and socio-cultural perspective and critically analyse the role of sustainability in policy for housing development;

■ explain the policy context for housing development, including: housing policy, urban policy and planning and urban design policy, and analyse the impact of land availability, urban containment and compact cities, greenfield/brownfield development and affordability;

■ discuss the key stages of the housing development process and assess the role of key actors and institutions in the housing development process;

■ identify the key risks involved in housing development in the public and private spheres and the methods available for managing risk;

■ explain the process of sustainable housing design and evaluate current issues in housing design, including: accessibility, energy use and environmental sustainability;

■ evaluate the contribution of sustainable housing development to the processes of neighbourhood and urban change and understand the importance of sustainable neighbourhood design in meeting human and societal needs;

■ understand and compare international sustainable housing policies and practices;

■ critically evaluate the success of housing development policies and projects in meeting their own objectives and the needs of society;

■ participate in a group problem solving exercise and be involved in group learning; and

■ write a well presented assignment in report format.

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 Real Estate is D3 or above.


University standard regulations apply to students on other qualifications.