PLAN10010 Introduction to City Planning

Academic Year 2023/2024

With the rise in environmental concerns and the concepts of sustainable development in public policy at both European Union and national level, interest in regional and urban planning currently enjoys an unprecedented high profile. This module introduces key concepts related to regional and urban planning theory and practice. It presents a series of key topics in regional and urban planning, including: sustainable urban growth; rural development; built and natural heritage, information and communication technology and public participation in planning. It explores the evolution of modern planning practice and the emergence of modern planning systems and their associated policies, including the Irish political and administrative framework and planning system. The other national systems and international practices are also noted, with European context and spatial planning providing the most relevant reference. Various planning policies and their implementation in practice are also explored and evaluated in the areas of housing, transport, urban design, environment, and community development.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Over the course of the semester the students will:

- Develop an awareness of contemporary urban, rural and environmental challenges and the rationale for regional and urban planning;
- Understand the social, economic, political, environmental and community context for planning practice;
- Learn about the evolution of planning practice and theory;
- Gain insights into the political and administrative frameworks and their relationships to the planning systems in Ireland, European nations and beyond;
- Become familiar with the planning process and policies and examples of how they are implemented in practice.

On the successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

• Demonstrate an understanding of the economic, political, environmental and community context for planning practice;
• Describe and explain the rationale for spatial planning policy and practice;
• Demonstrate an understanding of the key elements underpinning the planning process;
• Outline key planning areas and relevant policies.

Indicative Module Content:

The module has 4 Learning Units, with each unit comprising lectures (in-class) along with supplementary videos and key readings. The 4 Learning Units are:

Learning Unit 1: Nature & Purpose of Planning
This Learning Unit will provide students with an introduction to the module – module aims and learning outcomes, before going on to outline the nature and purpose of planning. This will examine historic and contemporary urbanisation and will trace the emergence of urban and regional planning in the face of increasingly complex urban challenges. Themes covered include: the rise of urbanisation; the emergence of regional and urban planning in Europe; European traditions of planning; rationale for planning intervention – economic, democratic, and ecological perspectives; what do planners do?

Learning Unit 2: The evolution of spatial planning
In this unit, we will examine major trends in planning theory and practice in the 20th Century and the different role of the ‘planning expert’ and the public in shaping the future of cities and regions. We will examine 2 key foundations in planning theory:
1. Planning as Physical Design: Planning as a solution to societal problems; the rise of the planning expert; Town Planning as physical planning and design; urban blueprints or ‘master plans’; urban utopias; criticisms of the ‘blueprint approach’
2. Comprehensive planning: The systems approach to urban management; rationality and the ‘planning process’; the breakdown of the rational comprehensive approach – urban protest, the ‘revolt of the client’, the limitations of comprehensive urban modelling
We will then examine how these planning approaches were reshaped by urban politics and protest leading to a much greater emphasis on planning and public participation and planning as collaboration. We will examine some examines of how to engage with the public in urban planning.

Learning Unit 3: Introduction to the Irish Planning System
This unit will provide an introductory overview of the Irish planning system, outlining the framework of plans and the management of development. The key themes addressed include: the key agencies in the Irish Planning system; the role of central and local government; objectives of the Planning system; key planning instruments – development plans and development control.

Learning Unit 4: Topics in Spatial Planning
This learning unit will provide an introduction into key planning topics, which you will study in more detail in modules as you progress through your degree programme. The topics will include: planning and sustainable development; climate change and planning; planning for the society; planning in an international context, and heritage in planning.

Approaches to Teaching and Learning
The module is delivered through a blended learning approach comprising in-class lectures, short videos, and structured reading. There will be opportunities for discussion, questions, and peer learning.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning




Seminar (or Webinar)


Online Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The module is delivered through a blended learning approach comprising in-class lectures, online lectures, short videos and structured reading. There will be opportunities for discussion, questions and peer learning.

Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
PEP30120 - Topics in Urban & Reg Planning

Intro to Spatial Planning (PEP10020)

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: Individual assignment Week 12 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Individual assignment at the end of module Feedback will be provided in writing post assessment

Name Role
Reza Tavangar Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: Weeks 2-12 Tues 14:00 - 15:50