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URP4002 Urban and Regional Planning Theory

Semester 1, 2021 Online
Short Description: Urban & Regnl Plan Theory
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Student contribution band : Band 2
ASCED code : 040103 - Urban Design and Regional Plan
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 14 April 2021


Examiner: Paula Grant


Pre-requisite: URP1001 or URP3201 or Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: GDST or MSPT or GCNS or GDNS or MENS or GCBU or MPPM


The evolution of planning theory from physical and spatial planning to a form of rational and communicative action has enormous impact on the profession of planning and the types of activities in which planners are involved. Planners need to have an understanding of how the philosophies behind planning drives policy agendas and planning activities and where urban and regional planning theory fits within broader aspects of urban theory.


This course covers the ideological approaches to broader urban theory and specific urban and regional planning theory that shape the humanistic and epistemological premises of planning and how we understand urban and regional experiences. It will examine the impact of various planning theories on the role of the planner and the implications for planning practice and urban development policy in the context of modernity, globalisation, inequality, difference and intersections within cities.


On completion of this course, student should be able to:

  1. Apply the relationship between urban theory and modernity to global planning scenarios.
  2. Explain the evolution of urban theory and the main theorists who have shaped its development.
  3. Evaluate physical planning theory, rational, systems and procedural planning theories and apply to global planning scenarios.
  4. Distinguish between and explain advocacy, incremental, radical, participatory and communicative planning theories.
  5. Apply planning theories to epistemological and humanistic premises of planning and urban policy.
  6. Evaluate the challenges of urban theory and strengths and weaknesses of differing urban theories in a globalised, interconnected and urbanised world
  7. Demonstrate appropriate written and graphical communication skills and ability to learn from experience by reflecting on assessment tasks.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction to urban theory and planning theory 10.00
2. Evolution of urban theory and theorists 10.00
3. Early post-war planning theory 10.00
4. Planning theory in the 1960s 10.00
5. Planning theory from the 1970s to the 1990s 10.00
6. Challenges and criticisms of urban theory 10.00
7. Impacts of Globalisation 10.00
8. Urban renaissance – Urban growth machine and urban regime theory 10.00
9. Cities as actors 10.00
10. Spatial expressions of inequality and differences 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Harding, A., & Blokland, T 2014, Urban Theory, Sage, London.
Taylor, N 1998, Urban Planning Theory Since 1945, Sage.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
Fainstein, S. S., & Campbell, S 2016, Readings in planning theory, 4th edn, Oxford Blackwell.
Freestone, R 2010, Urban Nation: Australia’s Planning Heritage, CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood.
Hall. P 2014, The Cities of Tomorrow: An Intellectual History of Urban Planning and Design since 1880, Wiley Blackwell, London.
Sassen, S 2005, The City: Localizations of the Global, Juxtapositions.
(36. pp. 73-77.)

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 40.00
Directed Study 52.00
Examinations 2.00
Private Study 61.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
Assignment 1 250 25 23 Mar 2021
Assignment 2 350 35 25 May 2021
Open Examination - Take Home 400 40 End S1 (see note 1)

  1. This will be a take home exam. Students will be provided further instruction regarding the exam by their examiner via StudyDesk. The examination date will be available via UConnect when the Alternate Assessment Schedule has been released.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks available.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2021 are:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

    Requirements after S1 2021:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course (i.e. the Primary Hurdle), and have satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), i.e. the end of semester examination by achieving at least 40% of the weighted marks available for that assessment item.

    Supplementary assessment may be offered where a student has undertaken all of the required summative assessment items and has passed the Primary Hurdle but failed to satisfy the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), or has satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised) but failed to achieve a passing Final Grade by 5% or less of the total weighted Marks.

    To be awarded a passing grade for a supplementary assessment item (if applicable), a student must achieve at least 50% of the available marks for the supplementary assessment item as per the Assessment Procedure (point 4.4.2).

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2021 are:
    An Open Examination is one in which candidates may have access to any printed or written material and a calculator during the examination.

    Requirements after S1 2021:
    In a Closed Examination, candidates are allowed to bring only writing and drawing instruments into the examination.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Normally Deferred and Supplementary Examinations are held in the next Examination period. In S1 2021 selected courses will pilot an early Deferred and Supplementary Examination period held within 30 business days of results release. The list of courses involved can be found at

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. APA 6th edition is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use APA 6th edition style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA 6th edition style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide.

Evaluation and benchmarking

In meeting the University’s aims to establish quality learning and teaching for all programs, this course monitors and ensures quality assurance and improvements in at least two ways. This course:
1. conforms to the USQ Policy on Evaluation of Teaching, Courses and Programs to ensure ongoing monitoring and systematic improvement.
2. forms part of the Bachelor of Spatial Science (Honours) and Bachelor of Spatial Science Technology programs and is benchmarked against the internal USQ accreditation/reaccreditation processes which include (i) stringent standards in the independent accreditation of its academic programs,
(ii) close integration between business and academic planning, and
(iii) regular and rigorous review.

Date printed 14 April 2021