BSc Planning and Real Estate

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Policy for Cities and Regions

Course unit fact file
Unit code PLAN20381
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The course unit explores spatial policy and governance for cities and regions, focusing in particular on England. It looks at the rationale for

Organising policy and governance on a spatial basis. The course also considers the changing objectives or urban and regional policies, and some of the debates about the purpose of policy intervention. Using examples of specific policy initiatives, the course considers the impact and effectiveness of spatial policy and governance.


The aims of the course unit are to:

  • provide an introductory overview of the evolution of policy and governance arrangements for cities and regions, with particular emphasis on experience in England;
  • stimulate thinking about the formulation, implementation and resultant impacts of public policy initiatives targeted at cities or regions;
  • begin to consider the role of political and institutional change in shaping the nature and form of urban and regional policies; and
  •  explore current issues surrounding contemporary policies which impinge upon cities and regions.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course unit, students should be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the principal social and economic challenges confronting cities and regions in England;
  • show core knowledge of the key features and impacts of recent spatial policies for cities and regions in England; and
  • demonstrate a preliminary understanding of the relationship between policies for cities and regions and changing economic, social and political circumstances. 


Week 1      Lecture: Introduction: the changing political-economic, social and demographic basis for spatial policy (Iain Deas)

                  Workshop: Why spatial policy?

Week 2     Lecture: The changing focus of urban policy in British cities

                Workshop: What should spatial policy do?

Week 3     Lecture: Managing population growth and decline

                 Workshop: Shrinking cities?

Week 4  Walking tour, group A: The ‘housing offer’ in the agglomerative economy: Hulme, Castlefield and the city centre ringes

Week 5   Walking tour, group B: The ‘housing offer’ in the agglomerative economy: Hulme, Castlefield and the city centre ringes

Week 6   Workshop: City centre housing: boom to bust and back? This workshop will complement the material covered in the class walking tour in weeks 3 and 4. It will extend over the full two hours.

Week 7   Lecture: Urban agglomerative growth: revitalising post-industrial cities

Teaching and learning methods

The module ,comprising a mix of lectures (online if covid restrictions still apply) and weekly in-person content.  The unit will comprise two main elements:

  • weekly online introductions to each of the topics covered in the course unit workshops. 
  • These online sessions will be complemented by weekly classes held on campus, The workshops will comprise a mix of lecture-based material and class discussion, linked to the specific topic for the week. 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

The module will help to give students an understanding of the environmental, social and economic challenges confronting a functional region that comprises a major urban area, its peri-urban surrounds and a large rural hinterland. In doing so, it will help to develop skills in synthesising a range of academic and policy-related information, applying critical analysis in light of wider temporal and spatial concerns. It will also help in terms of generic transferrable skills like team working and presentation, linked to the residential field trip.

Assessment methods

Assessment is in two parts.

PART 1: Essay plan (20%).

PART 2: 2,000 Essay (80%).

Feedback methods

As you progress through the module you will receive verbal feedback on request, either at formally timetabled sessions or if you see the course tutor during consultation hours (or at other times).


Recommended reading

Edwards, C. and Imrie, R. (2015) The Short Guide to Urban Policy, Bristol: The Policy Press

Jones, P. and Evans, J. (2013) Urban Regeneration in the UK: Boom, Bust and Recovery, second edition, London: Sage

Roberts, P., Sykes, H. and Granger, R. (2017) Urban Regeneration, second edition, London: Sage

Tallon, A. (2020) Urban Regeneration in the UK, third edition, London: Routledge

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Fieldwork 3
Lectures 16
Practical classes & workshops 2
Independent study hours
Independent study 179

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Iain Deas Unit coordinator

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