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TCP8003 : Engaging with information source in planning - environmental planning issues and ‘hot topics’

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Mr Clive Davies
  • Lecturer: Dr Diego Garcia Mejuto, Dr Alexander Wilson
  • Teaching Assistant: Ms Lotte Dijkstra
  • Owning School: Architecture, Planning & Landscape
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


1.       To develop a critical awareness of the processes of environmental knowledge production
2.       To understand the range of sources of information available to both professionals and the public in relation to environmental planning
3.       To develop reflective tools by which to source evidence for professional work in relation to environmental planning.

A critical awareness of the processes of environmental knowledge production is developed through an examination of various sources of information. Information about environmental issues often comes from varied and contradictory sources, and this module aims to develop in students the skills to be able to reflect upon and evaluate them in an increasingly sophisticated way. Students will critically engage with issues of environmental planning presented in a range of media (newpapers, films, TV, government, social, scientific research papers, etc.). Thus, the focus of this module will be on theoretical, methodological, and practical issues pertaining to media language within the field of environmental planning. A cross-cultural focus is consistent throughout the module reflecting the discipline areas within the School; in addition to foundational texts, students will also be required to scan a range of media plus design and develop their own interactive diary to record their evaluation of the sources gleaned from a variety of media and discuss the relevance and impact of the source information.

Outline Of Syllabus

•       Module objectives; introduction to the sourcing of environmental information and evidence through a variety of media; introduction to media analysis; definitions; coursework briefing/setting up your interactive diary.
•       Developing critical awareness of source material
•       Understanding the framing of environmental information and debates presented in a variety of media.
•       Collating and using evidence for the environmental planning professional
•       Production of evidence on environmental planning by professionals for policy-makers

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion132:0032:00Writing up of written exercise
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture102:0020:00Staff led and student led.
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities401:0040:00Students will work one to one or in small groups with staff
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching21:002:00Briefing and feedback sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time32:006:00Online assessment, feedback sessions on interactive diary
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Seminar sessions will provide students with an overview of theoretical concepts, previous research, and the development of the field. Specialist input will provide a variety of views on the subject.
Workshops will encourage students to contribute through in-class discussions and presentations; participation will focus on an on-going survey of sources, and include students’ own consumption and production of knowledge through an interactive diary (blog). Participation is essential in this module since a range of theories, methodologies, and contexts will be explored, it is important that students engage with the sources and in discussions in order to critically assess these issues

The aim is to promote a discursive and dialogic type of learning environment in which learners exchange ideas and experiences under the guidance of tutors. Small group assignments throughout the semester will provide the basis for discussions and students will lead workshop sessions under the guidance of tutors.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Reflective log2M100The final summary paper of 3000 words should reflect the ongoing interactive diary which will be monitored at set points by tutor(s)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Computer assessment2M2 monitoring and feedback points. Formative feedback will be provided digitally
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The written coursework assignment is a reflection (a reflective essay) of how the student conducted the research, how the blogging worked and how they presented their research in the performance. This enables the students experiential learning to be evaluated at four stages (Kolb, 1984):
•       Concrete experience (DO)
•       Observation or reflection (REFLECT)
•       Abstract conception (THINK)
•       Experimentation (PLAN)

And also, cyclically (after Schon (1994), Thompson and Pascal (2012) namely:
•       Reflection-in-action
•       Reflection-on-action
•       Reflection-for-action

At its heart is the process of discovering and deepening the learning gained through experience.
Hence students are encouraged to adopt a more informal style than a traditional essay, write personally with explicit permission to use the ‘I’ hence recognizing emotions, link to theory and literature and seek out learning points to inform studies/work. Key questions are posed to get the students started: -
•       What did I do?
•       Why did I do that?
•       What happened?
•       What did I think/feel?
•       Why did that happen?
•       What influenced it?
•       Who thought that?
•       Why did they think that?
•       What would improve it?
•       Why did that work well?

Reading Lists