MSc Environmental Impact Assessment & Management

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Infrastructure Planning

Course unit fact file
Unit code PLAN60872
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


• The Spatial Implications of Infrastructure Development
• Infrastructure Planning Policy in England
• The Governance and Finance of Infrastructure Planning
• Planning for Mega Projects and Sustainable Development
• Localism and Local Infrastructure Delivery
• Planning for Future Infrastructure
• Airport Planning and Development
• Transport Planning and Rail-oriented development
• Northern Powerhouse and Infrastructure Planning
• National Infrastructure Assessment


1. To conceptualise the relationship between spatial planning, spatial forms and infrastructure provision and how it is shaped by the changing socio-economic and political contexts.
2. To learn the process, actors, resources and governance of planning for major infrastructure, and to highlight the tension between achieving economic competitiveness, sustainable development and spatial equity.
3. To develop a critical understanding of the approaches, drivers, delivery and outcomes of planning for infrastructure projects via examples from Asia, America and Europe.
4. To develop the critical understanding of the current policy frameworks and financing mechanisms for major infrastructure and local infrastructure in England.

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, Seminars, and Special guest lecturers from policymakers and practitioners

Knowledge and understanding

Be familiar with the actors, drivers, process, resources, delivery, governance and outcomes of major infrastructure planning and mega projects; Be able to critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of the current policy framework for major and local infrastructure planning in England; 

Intellectual skills

Have a critical understanding of the relationship between spatial forms and the provision of infrastructure in spatial planning; Have an international and critical perspective to understand the tensions and dilemmas faced by planners with infrastructure planning.

Practical skills

Have an understanding of how infrastructure is funded; Have an understanding of the governmental policies that impact infrastructure outcomes in England; Be aware of how infrastructure influences society and how infrastructure decisions are made; Understand the interconnected nature of infrastructure planning policies.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Be able to orally summarise and present information; Improve group work and work load management skills; Be able to critically assess policy and the implications of policy on people and places; Be able to relate theoretical concepts to practical outcomes; Be able to summarise and critically discuss complex policy issues and outcomes in written form.

Assessment methods

  • A group presentation on English infrastructure planning policy on the airport sector (15 minutes)  (25%)
  • An individual essay (3,000 words) (75%)

Feedback methods

Presentation: Orally immediately after presentation and via formal written feedback

Individual essay: Formal written feedback and face-to-face drop-in sessions 

Oral feedback to the class and the individual groups; general comments and feedback via Blackboard; and written assignment feedback. Informal feedback can be ascertained in drop-in sessions.

Recommended reading

National Infrastructure Planning website:
National Infrastructure Commission website:

Flyvbjerg, B (2005) Policy and Planning for Large Infrastructure Projects: Problems, Causes, Cures, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 3781.

Hall, P. (1980) Great Planning Disasters, Penguin Books, Harmonsworth.

Marshall, T. (2013) Planning Major Infrastructure: A Critical Analysis, Routledge, London

Town Planning Review 2014 Special Issue on: Planning for Infrastructure: transitional pathways for lagging regions, edited by M Baker, B Webb and C Wong. (There are 7 relevant papers)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 24
Seminars 6
Independent study hours
Independent study 120

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Yin Wong Unit coordinator

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