MSc Global Urban Development and Planning

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Neighbourhood Planning Project

Course unit fact file
Unit code PLAN60812
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Planning and Environmental Management
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


In this module students will learn the underlying methods, techniques and approaches to neighbourhood planning, they will be able to take a critical approach in understanding policy change in the field of planning, and understand the tensions and contesting ideas and values that different objectives can have in developing a spatial strategy in an applied context.

The module incorporates a strong practical element which is aimed at developing subject specific skills, such as the identification and use of appropriate data sources, as well as the preparation and presentation of an evidence base which remains a statutory requirement in local plan making. To ground the theoretical concepts introduced at the start of the module, examples of neighbourhood planning will be discussed in the lectures as well as the practical workshops.


  • To introduce you to the complexity of developing strategic spatial strategies at local and neighbourhood scales.
  • To develop planning and regeneration skills in socio-economic, environmental and policy analysis, and subsequently strategic site planning.
  • To develop the approaches and techniques of wide-area spatial analysis, and to the presentation of issues and options for decision making.
  • To explore imaginative approaches to problem solving in a neighbourhood context.
  • To critically examine policy change in relation to spatial planning at the local level.

Teaching and learning methods

Most of the teaching will take place in workshops and in the computer lab.  You will be expect to contribute a lot of your own time in learning the appropriate computer skills, e.g. in GIS mapping and improving your data analysis skills in Excel.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate an awareness of the current context for local strategic planning.
  • Be able to express an understanding of planning issues at various scales.
  • Be able to critically examine policy change and imperatives in relation to spatial planning and the different competing imperatives that influence neighbourhood planning.

Intellectual skills

  • Be able to express visions for strategic site assessment and development.
  • Be able to develop coherent and realistic visioning strategies that are integrative in their scope and capable of imaginative and successful delivery.


Practical skills

  • Be able to identify appropriate data sources to support local strategic planning.
  • Be able to use small-area data to build neighbourhood socio-economic, environmental and demographic profiles
  • To analyse spatially referenced information.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Attain good competence in visual and spatial analysis techniques, demonstrate confidence in drafting reports, presenting complex information coherently and succinctly, develop critical skills in terms of understanding policy and practice.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Report 50%
Project output (not diss/n) 50%

Feedback methods

As you progress through the module you will receive verbal feedback at the weekly sessions on specific aspects of the work you undertake.  The Blackboard system will also provide feedback through the use of an FAQ section and joint learning by using the collaborative chat room and discussion forum.  Substantive feedback on your assignments will be provided via TurnItIn.

Recommended reading

Brownill, S.  & Bradley Q. (2017) ‘Localism and Neighbourhood Planning – Power to the people?’, Bristol: Policy Press (available as ebook in the university library)

DCLG (2017) Make a neighbourhood plan Accessed on 06/8/18.

Gallent, N., & Robinson, S. (2012) Neighbourhood Planning: Communities, Networks and Governance. Bristol: Policy Press.

Vigar, G., L. Brookes & Z. Gunn (2012) The innovative potential of neighbourhood plan¿making. Town & Country Planning. 81: 7/8, 317¿319.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 9
Practical classes & workshops 32
Independent study hours
Independent study 109

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Andreas Schulze Baing Unit coordinator

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