BSc Planning and Real Estate / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

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
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

Students will be able to:


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

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

Week 3.              Walking tour:     Neighbourhood regeneration: Hulme (group 1)

Week 4.              Walking tour:     Neighbourhood regeneration: Hulme (group 2)

Week 5.              Workshop:         City centre housing: boom to bust and back?

              This workshop will complement the material covered in the class walking tour in week 3.

Week 7.              Lecture:              Revitalising post-industrial cities

Week 8.              Lecture:              Regions, city-regions, soft spaces

Week 9.              Workshop:         Delimiting regions for planning and economic development

Week 10.            Lecture:              Regional inequality and the levelling-up agenda

Week 11.            Lecture:              Development corridors and polycentric regions

Lectures = 7 x 2 hours (14 hours)

Core content is provided through seven lecture sessions which explore different themes on urban and regional policy. Learning is supported by additional e-learning material available through Blackboard including videos and virtual field visits.

Workshops – 2 x 2 hours (4 hours)

In addition to lectures, students engage in two interactive workshops that provide the opportunity to debate contested areas of policy. These sessions require students to engage in preliminary research to maximise the opportunity for informed debate.

Field Visit = 1 x 2 hour (2 hours)

A field visit allows students to engage directly with the content of the course and apply their knowledge in practice. An e-learning version of the field visit is made available on Blackboard to support student’s learning.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Explain the principal social and economic challenges confronting cities and regions in England
  • Identify key features and impacts of recent spatial policies for cities and regions in England

Intellectual skills

  • Evaluate the relationship between policies for cities and regions and changing economic, social and political circumstances.

Practical skills

  • Interpret and critique policy and other arguments made around cities and regions
  • Recognise the gaps that can occur between policy design and implementation

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Develop written arguments in relation to urban and regional policy.
  • Assess whether policymaking and policy implementation are inclusive or exclusive.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Essay Plan, 500 words

Essay, 2000 words (100% Weighting)


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 2
Lectures 14
Practical classes & workshops 4
Independent study hours
Independent study 180

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Iain Deas Unit coordinator

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