PLAN3004W Comparative Planning

Academic Year 2024/2025

Planning systems and practices vary considerably internationally. Differences in history, culture, ideology, law, economy and society mean that there are significant differences in planning policies, planning law and, ultimately, in the outcomes of planning systems. The module aims to introduce students to the comparative study of different approaches to planning in different national contexts. It will provide a framework for the comparative analysis of planning systems and practices worldwide. Students are encouraged to reflect on the context-specific nature of planning and the legal, social, political, economic and/or environmental conditions underpinning planning practice in different national contexts. Students are also invited to consider the issues and challenges associated with the international mobility of planning and urban policy knowledge and practices.

The key module aims are:

1. To provide an overview of the purposes, principles and methods of comparative planning study and the potential and challenges of cross-national comparison and learning.

2. To foster an awareness of the ‘context-dependent’ nature of planning as an activity embedded in different national, cultural, political and spatial settings.

3. To consider the different planning traditions in Europe and compare these with the planning approaches worldwide.

4. To elucidate the context of ‘planning for Europe’ as regards the competence of the EU to influence matters relating to spatial planning and territorial development and the impact of European programmes and initiatives on spatial planning in EU member states.

5. To provide an insight into various planning cultures across the world.

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completing this module, students will be able to:

1. Understand the importance of different contexts in determining planning outcomes in different countries.

2. Critically appreciate the context-specific nature of planning and the legal, social, political, economic and/or environmental conditions underpinning planning systems, cultures, policies and practices in the different contexts examined.

3. Demonstrate an understanding of the value and challenges of cross-national and cross-cultural comparative studies.

4. Engage with the professional and academic debates regarding the global circulation of planning ideas, models and practices and critically reflected on their transferability / the potential for cross-national lesson drawing from abroad.

5. Understand the growing importance of spatial planning at the level of the European Union.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The module is delivered through a mix of lecturer-led seminars, group work (comprising case-based learning), and class 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
Assignment(Including Essay): A 1000-word group essay (discussed in class) Week 3 Graded No


Group Work Assignment: Presentation: An 8-min group presentation (presented in-class) Week 6 Graded No


Exam (In-person): A 60-min written exam (blended MCQ type: 20 multiple-choice questions + 2 narrative questions) End of trimester
1 hr(s)
Graded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer Yes - 2 Hour
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
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.