MSc Urban Design and International Planning / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Masterplan Studio

Course unit fact file
Unit code PLAN60992
Credit rating 30
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 course unit will have the following content:
1. Conceptual masterplanning and analysis
2. Studio Crit 1 Developing the masterplan (week 4)
3. Scenario testing of urban design options/proposal
4. Studio Crit 2 Evaluating the design options (illustrative) (week 7)
5. Detailing the design and using 3D digital modeling
6. Studio Crit 3 finalising the design (technical) (week 10)
7. Delivering and communicating a comprehensive masterplan/urban design project (week 12)


1. Provide advanced practice in urban design
2. Consolidate the work on the interface of urban design and masterplanning scales
3. Develop advanced graphical and presentation skills to deliver urban design projects
4. Develop a critical approach to the urban design process and a strong link between the theory and the practice of urban design

Learning outcomes


Teaching and learning methods

1. Lectures: Lectures will be shorter overviews of analytical and design techniques and process, introducing students to key themes, approaches, terminology, and practice.
2. Studio: Students will work collaboratively with staff and peers to develop individual projects in-class through applied learning. This will take the form of one-on-one times, group working, and engaging with current design soft wares
3. Seminars: Seminars allow students to receive valuable and regular feedback on their individual projects and seek peer guidance and support with particular shared issues or aspects of the design/analysis

E-Learning: Blackboard will be used to engage students outside of the lecture hall with e-lectures and case study materials linking to best practice urban design examples and current global urban developments of interest. The online urban design toolkit also acts as a valuable technical resource for out of class learning and enabling students to continue work on individual design projects during non-contact hours.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Understand the processes of masterplanning and urban design considering issues of scale, form and the spatial elements of urban space
  • Develop awareness of the multi-faceted and multi-disciplinary nature of masterplanning at larger scale

Intellectual skills

  • Consider multiple strategic scenarios and design options in the development of urban design projects
  • Apply masterplanning principles and approaches to deliver a robust design solution

Practical skills

  • Working on a collaborative multi-scale urban analysis to deliver a comprehensive design project
  • Use a variety of design software (including sketch-up, CAD, and advanced Adobe Creative Suite)

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Develop individual professional urban design portfolio
  • Work collaboratively in a busy studio environment
  • Develop advanced skills in design software

Assessment methods

Developing the masterplan (group work), 4 A3 pages, 20%

Delivering a comprehensive masterplan (Individual), 3 A1 Boards, 80%

Feedback methods

Crits provided in weeks 4 and 11– crits offer students opportunity to present work to staff member and receive immediate oral feedback.

Studio and seminar sessions designed to provide students with weekly feedback and critique on their design project

Written feedback provided for both assessment tasks

Recommended reading

  1. Jacoby (2016) Drawing Architecture and the Urban, Wiley
  2. Firley and Gron (2014) The Urban Masterplanning Handbook, Wiley
  3. Meeda et al (2009) Graphics for Urban Design. UDG
  4. Littlefield (2009) Metric Handbook Planning and Design Data, Architectural Press

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