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TCP8939 : Planning, Power and People

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Andrew Donaldson
  • Owning School: Architecture, Planning & Landscape
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


This module introduces students to key ideas, debates and shifts in planning theory through addressing the idea of power in the planning process. It considers the ways in which different theories of planning (and policies based on them) engage (or not) with ideas of power and ascribe different roles to planning professionals and citizens alike.

The module asks students to ‘think through’ theory and will help generate (especially when taken in conjunction with other modules on SAPL’s masters programmes) a reflexive understanding of the ideas that underpin planning systems and planning practice. It will also engender a theoretical and practical understanding of the need to engage with power inequalities in and through the planning process.

Outline Of Syllabus

Introduction – planning theory
Power in planning
Rationality and planning
Challenging the power of planning
Publics and participation
Stakeholders and collaboration
Government and policy
Post political planning and global urbanisms

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture21:002:00Module talk, module introduction and conclusion, present in person
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials81:008:00Weekly online content. Pre-recorded lectures.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading128:0028:00Suggested general reading list
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading82:0016:00Recommended weekly readings
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops11:001:00Workshop, present in person
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00Workshop, present in person
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00Present in person
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery11:001:00Surgery, In Person, to follow directly from second module talk
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Weekly structured online content, consisting of pre-recorded lectures and recommended readings, introduces a critical framework about planning theory and power as an analytical perspective that will run through other content. It then provides information on key theories, concepts and the contexts in which they have emerged. This includes engaging the arguments of key texts with critical/reflexive questions each week, which helps students build towards the final assignment.

In-person module talks frame the module as introduction and conclusion (with a focus in both on the assignment and its relationship to the taught material). In-person workshops combine small group tasks and whole group discussions to develop critical analytical skills at key points in the module. In person surgery sessions provide for more focussed discussion of individual assignments, but with group participation and collective learning encouraged.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M1002,500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment is an essay in which the students will be asked to design a future planning scenario in which power inequality is a significant feature and to develop a response based on the theories and concepts in the module. Asking students to design their own scenarios encourages creative thought and use of theories and theory building, and leads to better engagement with the themes of the module.

Reading Lists