Skip to main content


TCP8902 : The Reflective Practitioner (MSc version)

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Geoff Vigar
  • Lecturer: Dr Andrew Law
  • Other Staff: Dr Abigail Schoneboom
  • Owning School: Architecture, Planning & Landscape
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


•to critically discuss ethics and their relation to planning practice;
to review ideas about responsibility, professional duty and professionalism, with particular regard to planning;
to critically review the ways in which planners contribute their knowledge, skills and values in different contexts;
to critically review the organizational contexts in which planning is practised.

Outline Of Syllabus

Personal introductions
What is Twenty-First Century Town Planning?
What is reflexive practice and why does it matter?

Just what does a planner do all day and how has this changed?
Public, private and voluntary work settings explored

Who and what are planners working for?

What should planning’s outcomes be?
Consequentialist, deontological and virtue ethics: what schools of thought can help guide planners’ actions?

Power, Corruption and Lies
How prevalent is corruption in planning?
Exploring power differentials in planning and planning’s ‘dark side’

What characterizes contemporary knowledge work?
The Town Hall, the Tenth Floor and the Edge City: what do planners’ places of work look and feel like and why might it matter?

Public servants, ‘gutter fighters’ and Dr Loophole: career paths in planning
‘Exit, voice and loyalty’

Are professions still relevant?
Is planning a profession?
The significance of communities of practice (or the ‘Goalkeepers’ Union’) amid other ‘duties’

Becoming reflexive practitioners

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00PIP Module talk~: Live sessions [intro, practitioner talks, conclusion, plus 8 ‘workshop’
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical12:002:00Could be done online or in person selected by students themselves
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading102:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk71:007:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Structured lecture sessions will use c.20 minute presentations alongside films and other media artefacts to convey knowledge of the field. Real world examples of ethical dilemmas in planning, attendance at a planning committee and contributions from planners will explore the practical application of theories in practice. Asynchronous debates in contemporary planning issues will be seeded and given momentum.
Academic readings support and develop material from the structured sessions

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M1001 x essay (2,500 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The theoretical nature of the material and the need for students to demonstrate discursively the complexities of ethical planning dilemmas makes an essay the obvious and best choice given their need to demonstrate: an understanding of relevant theories; an ability to connect theory and practice; an ability to make insightful, analytical comment; and, that they can construct logical argument

Reading Lists