Module Catalogue 2020/21

APL2001 : Alternative Practice: Theories and Practices

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Andrew Law
  • Demonstrator: Professor Katie Lloyd Thomas, Dr Diego Garcia Mejuto, Dr Julia Heslop, Professor Roger Burrows, Dr David Webb
  • Owning School: Architecture, Planning & Landscape
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



To critically explore, and gain knowledge and understanding of, theories underpinning alternative practices in architecture and planning.
To critique mainstream approaches to professional practice in the built environment.
To test theories of alternative practice in relation to ‘real world’ case studies.
To encourage the student to articulate a position in relation to the theoretical contexts of alternative practice in architecture and planning.

Outline Of Syllabus

Review of critical theories pertaining to architecture and planning, to include: Marxist and neo-Marxist approaches (for example, Harvey), Social Constructionist approaches (Bourdieu), Poststructuralist approaches (for example Foucault; Derrida), theories of democracy and their application (for example, participatory design, collaborative planning and community architecture), alternatives to market-centred interventions- mutualism, co-operatives etc.; professionalism and anti-professionalism (for example, Jacobs, Till); and ideas of rights, including rights to the city. Each theme will be illustrated with case study approaches from practice.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

A2 Evaluate arguments for intervention in the built environment and an understanding of processes for change and the role of professionals in achieving it
A4 Demonstrate an understanding of the complexities of issues and problems pertaining to the built environment.
A5 Demonstrate an understanding of theory and make appropriate connections between theory and practice.
A6 Demonstrate a critical understanding of values and ethics in built environment intervention.

Intended Skill Outcomes

B1 Define and analyse problems effectively and appropriately.
B3 Make effective use of evidence and information.
B4 Articulate reasoned arguments.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture202:0040:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1100:00100:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching162:0032:00Seminar
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study128:0028:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures provide the structure for student guided learning through reading and essay preparation to develop a more detailed knowledge and understanding of theories of alternative practice and their application in ‘real world’ case studies. Seminars will give an opportunity for student-led group presentations, developing and reinforcing the lecture material, giving students the chance to critically explore and test issues and ethical questions for themselves.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Examination1M50Group Presentation
Essay1A502000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Designed to test the students’ ability to assemble and synthesise appropriate information to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of alternative practices in architecture and planning. The group presentation component encourages students to critically explore, test and articulate their own ethical position. The group work dossier attached to the group presentation component also tests the students’ abilities to work in groups. In this regard, the assignment is subject to Student Peer Review.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2020/21 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2021/22 entry will be published here in early-April 2021. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.