MSc Global Urban Development and Planning

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Land and Development

Course unit fact file
Unit code PLAN60102
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Planning and Environmental Management
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


In this course unit, we will study the process of development, from project inception, site assessment and initial design through to planning, implementation and scheme disposal.  We will critically consider the interrelationship of the property market, the built form and planning and environmental regulation as different land uses compete with each other for the available supply of resources, to meet the need for both built estate and green space in urban areas.  There is a strong focus on financial appraisal and the importance of financial risk management and viability.  Topics include:

• An overview of the development process
• Actors and motivation
• Site acquisition and assessment
• Property market and demand for development
• Environmental and ecological considerations
• Legal and regulatory constraints
• Options appraisal
• Development design, quality & mix; designing for sustainability
• Development financial appraisal, sensitivity analysis and other risk assessment tools
• Finance & sales and marketing 


The course unit aims to:

  • provide a thorough understanding of the issues that need to be considered as part of the process of developing land, with particular emphasis on the assessment of site potential and meeting commercial expectations
  • develop understanding of land use policies and making the best use of land resources through the redevelopment and reuse of previously developed or “brownfield” sites
  • foster practical experience and understanding of the development process through preparation of individual development proposals for real potential development sites
  • develop competence in financial appraisal and understanding of the concepts of risk and viability in the context of development schemes

Teaching and learning methods

The course will involve a series of structured lectures, workshops and seminars over ten weeks.  Workshops will provide you with an opportunity to work through set problems and obtain feedback.  On-line workshop material will be available to help with the financial appraisal element.  Seminars are student-led discussions where you are expected to have prepared material as directed and actively contribute to the debate. 

Assessment is on an individual basis but you will be allocated to a specific study group for the duration of the course.   You will work in these groups for certain workshops and seminars.  As students bring different knowledge and skills to this course, the workshops in week two are designed to ensure that all students have the necessary level of skills in these areas to undertake the exercises and assessment.

Course materials are available online through Blackboard, including course guide and assessment brief, lecture powerpoint slides, workshop material, links to suggested reference and readings plus some video clips.  The majority of lectures will be recorded and available as podcasts through Blackboard.  Remember that podcasting only captures the voice and powerpoint slides and not any explanations and diagrams provided on whiteboards.


Knowledge and understanding

Demonstrate comprehensive understanding and knowledge of the development process, actors, drivers and constraints.

Intellectual skills

Demonstrate sound capacity for critical thinking and ability to present well-justified arguments, recognising the interconnected nature of development practice

Practical skills

Demonstrate numeracy skills through appreciation of issues around selection, accuracy, uncertainty and approximation with numbers

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Communicate ideas effectively through preparation of professional reports

Assessment methods

Development proposal including financial appraisal, (3500 words plus relevant appendices), 100%

Feedback methods

As you progress through the course unit, formative feedback will be given through Q&A, discussion and interactive activities within lectures, workshops and seminars. The Blackboard system will also provide continuous feedback through the use of an FAQ section and discussion boards. 
Verbal feedback is available on coursework discussed during tutorial hours. Individual written feedback will be provided through Blackboard in respect of the coursework.

Recommended reading

General Property Development – students are recommended to read one of these
Adams, D. and Tiesdell, S. (2012) Shaping Places: Urban Planning, Design and Development.  Abingdon: Routledge
Havard, T. (2008) Contemporary Property Development 2nd ed.  London: RIBA Publishing
Isaac, D., O’Leary, J. and Daley, M. (2010) Property Development 2nd ed.  Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Ratcliffe, J., Stubbs, M. and Keeping, M. (2009) Urban Planning and Real Estate Development. 3rd ed. Abingdon: Routledge
Reed, R. and Sims, S. (2015) Property Development 6th ed. Abingdon: Routledge
Syms, P. (2010) Land, Development and Design 2nd ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell

Additional texts
Byrne, P. (1996) Risk, uncertainty and decision-making in property development 2nd ed  London: E & FN Spon
Dubben, N. and Williams, B. (2009) Partnerships in Urban Property Development.  Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell
English Partnerships (2006) The Brownfield Guide: a practitioner’s guide to land reuse in England. London: English Partnerships
Guy, C. (1994). The Retail Development Process: location, property and planning. London: Routledge
Guy, S. and Henneberry, J. (Eds) (2002) Development & Developers - perspectives on property. Oxford: Blackwell
Jowsey, E. (2011) Real Estate Economics. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Tiesdell, S and Adams, D (2011) Urban Design in the Real Estate Development Process. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell
Yudelson, J. and Meyer, U. (2013) The World’s Greenest Buildings. Abingdon: Routledge


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
eAssessment 28
Lectures 20
Project supervision 2
Seminars 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 90

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Eero Valtonen Unit coordinator

Additional notes

eAssessment denotes time for directed reading and online exercises (28 hours)

Project supervision denotes assignment surgeries (2 hours)


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