MPlan Planning with Professional Placement

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Rural Planning

Course unit fact file
Unit code PLAN10362
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The countryside is often seen as a haven of bucolic peace and tranquillity, inhabited by genuine communities set amidst attractive landscapes. These feelings have inspired those who can afford rural houses to relocate there in increasing numbers. All too often, however, this does little to maintain the local economy and society in rural areas. At the same time, agriculture, the traditional mainstay of the rural economy, not only now contributes only a very small proportion of rural employment, but has been criticised for its increasing effects on traditional landscapes and conservation value. Growing recreational usage has added further pressures. Much of this change has been outside the control of statutory planning measures, and increasing resort has been made to informal approaches, such as countryside strategies and management schemes. The recent foot and mouth crisis, and pressure from central government to promote diversification, will have a dramatic effect on all aspects of rural life, but especially within agriculture. The effectiveness of designated areas, whether in remote upland areas or the urban fringe, is also an important consideration, and will be taken up again in the third year.


  • To review critically the inter-relationships between rural environments and the forms of planning intervention that take place within them.
  • To evaluate the institutional arrangements for sustainable long-term rural planning and environmental management
  • To explore the provision and management of recreational opportunities in rural areas






-       The changing nature of rural areas: the main agencies

Involved and competing views of the countryside

-       Planning for rural employment: agencies and issues


-       Approaches to rural housing provision:  a history

-       The exceptions policy initiative in rural housing


-       Service provision for rural settlements

-       Maintaining the rural community: the localism debate


-       Planning for rural transport: social and environmental consequences

-       Approaches to recreational transport: The economic potential of public transport and community rail


-       Field Visit


-       Change in the agricultural industry: the legacy of the Scott report

-       The growth of conflicts between farming and the environment


-       Policy for forests and woodlands

-       Planning for water provision and management


Study Week


-       Minerals and resource usage.

-       Energy provision


Teaching and learning methods

There will be one 2 hour lecture per week. There will also be a day fieldtrip to the Peak District.

Knowledge and understanding

Understand the planning and management issues affecting rural communities and landscapes.

Intellectual skills

  • Assess the appropriateness of planning intervention which aims to improve the quality of life for British rural communities.
  • Make critical assessments of current recreational, conservation and management policies in rural areas

Practical skills

  • Develop own perspective on possible futures for rural areas, from environmental, social and economic perspectives

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Assessment of academic literature
  • Developing arguments through written work

Assessment methods






1.    Exam

1.5 hours


Marks will be provided within 15 days of the assessment and further feedback can be given verbally on request.


Recommended reading

Curry N & Moseley M (eds) (2011) A quarter century of change in rural Britain and Europe. Gloucester: Countryside and Community Press


Gallent, N. Juntti, M. Kidd, S. & Shaw, D (2008) Introduction to rural planning. London: Routledge. 2nd edition 2015

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Demonstration 20
Fieldwork 8
Lectures 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 50

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Philip Bell Unit coordinator

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