PLAN3003W Local Area Develop. Planning

Academic Year 2024/2025

Spatial plans have a key role in managing physical and environmental change. The preparation of spatial plans is a core activity of professional planners at different spatial scales. This module aims to provide students with the key principles, practices and skills involved in the preparation of a local plan at the neighbourhood, village or small town scale through a practical planning exercise. This will involve a seminar-based module designed to develop planning practice, spatial analysis, graphic communication and team-working skills. The module will explore the key stages in the preparation of a local development plan, from analysis through to development proposals. Firstly, this will involve a scoping exercise of the local context through a series of desk studies of the policy context and key literature. Secondly, the study will include the physical analysis of a locality, applying principles of urban analysis of the physical urban form, townscape analysis and land-use and urban character surveys. Thirdly, the students will prepare a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of the study area, a diagnosis and a vision for future development. The students will generate proposals for the future development of the study area, by developing a series of strategic objectives for the area. Finally, students will develop site-specific proposals and priorities for the future development of the study area. There will be an emphasis on developing effective group-working skills, but individual components will also be included. There will be regular group presentations and seminars throughout the study, and the students will have the opportunity to develop presentation skills.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of the module, students should be able to:
1. Describe and evaluate the policy context for local planning;
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the inter-related aspects of planning
3. Develop key skills in planning analysis, goal formulation and site development;
4. Gain an appreciation of the importance of critical reflection for professionalism as a result of tutor and peer feedback at different stages of the work programme;
5. Enhance their teamwork capacity and oral, written, diagram-making and presentational skills.

Indicative Module Content:

A summary description of the project stages is outlined below. Please note that a detailed project brief will be provided to students at the beginning of each new project stage outlining in detail the specific objectives of each stage, assessment, and key deliverables.

1. Project Inception and Gathering the Evidence

Students will be introduced to the project brief and the study area. They will be introduced to some of the issues relating to townscape analysis, historic analysis and demographic analysis.
Students will then be divided into small groups to undertake a desk study of the planning and policy context for the study area. This will primarily involve a review of policy documents, that provide the wider strategic context for our study, and secondary data, which will provide an evidence base to inform both our analysis and future development options.

2. Physical and Spatial Analysis – town/neighbourhood/village survey

This stage involves a fieldtrip to the study area to undertake a survey of the urban structure and physical planning context. The focus will be placed on townscape analysis and town surveys.
Students will complete the analysis of the information collected in surveys and prepare material for a visual presentation of their findings.

3. Visioning and Future Development Options

A SWOT analysis provides a summary of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats facing the study area. The SWOT analysis is based on the analysis undertaken in previous stages of the project, and provides a basis for ‘brainstorming’ issues and synthesising findings to date. The students will be divided into groups and each group will be asked to give a presentation in class on their analysis and to submit a brief report.
Following the SWOT analysis, the entire class will work towards developing a vision statement and a set of future development goals for the study town. The specific objectives will be informed by the analysis undertaken in the above stages.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Seminar (or Webinar)




Field Trip/External Visits


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module blends a number of different teaching and learning approaches, including:
- Seminars and presentations.
- Workshops to develop graphic and spatial analysis skills.
- Problem-based learning
- Online learning
- Field trip to study town/neighbourhood (if travel is permitted), to undertake land use and other surveys, including observational analysis.
- Student presentations. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Exclusions:

This module is delivered overseas and is not available to students based at the UCD Belfield or UCD Blackrock campuses.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Group Work Assignment: Group ArcGIS StoryMaps incorporating ArcGIS WebMaps, graphical analyses, and other tasks Week 6 Graded Yes


Group Work Assignment: Final Group Analysis: Vision and Future Development Week 12 Graded Yes



Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
In-Module Resit Prior to relevant Programme Exam Board
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Peer review activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Name Role
Dr Ozge Yenigun Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Ms Angela Hayles Tutor