MSc Global Urban Development and Planning

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Best practice case studies in urban development planning in cities in the South

Course unit fact file
Unit code PLAN72072
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
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


  • Introduction to the course:

  • Workshops 1, 2 &3: Planning with communities for the introduction and improvement of basic services and infrastructure

  • Workshop 4: Planning with households for housing improvements in informal settlements

  • Workshop 5: Asset Planning for climate change adaptation and disaster risk management

  • Presentation sessions 


  • Examine urban planning approaches and practices which enable local governments, NGOs, financial institutions and civil society organizations to confront the increasing levels of poverty and inequality, and disaster risk associated with climate change in some cities in the global South
  • Explore the extent to which ex-ante and ex-post  assessments of public interventions are able to address urban residential segregation and inequalities, and the ways in which poverty maps drawn from secondary data (e.g. national census or national household surveys) are employed as planning tools to those ends.
  • Provide knowledge and practical skills for establishing financially inclusive systems for housing improvements and the introduction of infrastructure and basic services in small and medium size cities.
  • Provide practical guidance on mainstreaming climate change asset adaptation into different planning and programmatic interventions and institutional frameworks, in order to build long-term resilience in cities affected by severe and extreme weather.

Teaching and learning methods

Five workshop sessions: each workshop identifies and assesses instances of best practice in specific case studies in a variety of cities. After each workshop, students will prepare a small individual report. Students will be encouraged to develop their own theoretical and practical understanding through guided individual reading and group tutorial interactions.

Knowledge and understanding

Be able to reflect critically on experiences of urban development planning, drawing on case studies to assess best practice with regard to poverty reduction and the creation of more inclusive and equitable cities;

Intellectual skills

Be able to apply key concepts and skills learned from best practice case studies

Practical skills

Engage in team work, negotiate and make decisions drawing on the experience of the workshops

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Have learned to engage in project work both independently and in collaboration with peers

Assessment methods

One group presentation (15 minutes) 30%

Individual final essay (2,500 words) 70%)

Feedback methods

Written and verbal feedback will be given to individuals for written assignment as well as group presentation.
Before group presentations and final essay there will be group and individual tutorials in which general feedback will be provided.

Recommended reading

Blair, H. (2000) ‘Participation and accountability at the periphery: democratic local governance in six countries’, World Development, 28(1), 21-39.
Hamdi, N. (2004) Small change: About the art of practice and the limits of planning in cities. Earthscan: London.
Hamdi, N. and R. Goethert (1996) Action planning for cities: a guide to community practice, Wiley, Chichester.
Kaza, N. (2006) ‘Tyranny of the Median and Costly Consent: A Reflection on the Justification for Participatory Planning Processes’. Planning Theory 5(3) 255-270.
Lombard M (2012) ‘Using auto-photography to understand place: reflections from research in urban informal settlements in Mexico’, Area, DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2012.01115.x.
Stein, A. (2010) Urban Poverty, social exclusion and social housing finance: the case of PRODEL in Nicaragua, Thesis No. 7, HDM, Lund University, Lund.
Stein, A., Moser, C and Vance, I. (2018) Planning for Climate Change Adaptation in Urban Poor Neighbourhoods of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. IDB, NDF, University of Manchester. Manchester.DOI:

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Practical classes & workshops 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 130

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Alfredo Stein Heinemann Unit coordinator

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