Skip to main content


TCP8953 : Urban Policy: Origins and Alternatives

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr David Webb
  • Owning School: Architecture, Planning & Landscape
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System


The 2007 global economic crisis occurred at a time of confidence and clear definition about the purpose of ‘urban regeneration’ and how to do it. But the political economic change brought by the crisis threw old certainties into doubt, leading to a maelstrom of ideas and initiatives which might be brought under the broad term of ‘urban policy’. There is often little clarity about what urban policy is trying to achieve, or stated objectives and rationales appear weak when placed in historical perspective. It generally occurs outside of a local planning framework and the role of places and how they fit together does not feature strongly in regional or national strategies.

The aim of this module is to support students to make sense of the current situation through a critical look at the history of urban policy and its changing nature over time. Whose interests does contemporary urban policy serve and what can planners bring, through an understanding of urban and political theory, to the task of making the best of the opportunities available? To this end the module blends history, theory and case studies (with visits where possible) to support students to make their own, justified sense of the current governance context and how planners might act within it in ways that are cognizant of the huge social, environmental and economic challenges bearing down on us from our future.

Outline Of Syllabus

Coverage may include:
-       Origins of urban policy. Social security and human welfare.
-       “Urban regeneration”
-       Big Society?
-       Levelling Up?
-       The alternatives
-       Contemporary case studies
-       Student-led voices and reflections/ commentary/ discussion

I have a full summary run-down of the COP26 science which I'll update and feed into the content at some point too.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture72:0014:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities22:004:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork22:305:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study177:0077:00Assignment preparation
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module is split into three parts:
-       Part one begins with student discussion to form up a critical view of contemporary regeneration and a sense of the major problems facing society in the next thirty years. It then looks at the historical explanations for contemporary forms of governance and action.
-       Part two explores three recent currents in urban policy activity and places these in theoretical perspective
-       Part three encourages students to reflect on case studies, drawing on what they have learned from the module.
The reflection on the case studies then forms the basis for the assignment.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M1002500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Students will be set a 2,500 word essay, focusing on the political theory underpinning a recent policy initiative affecting urban areas. Exact details of the assignment will be set in week one but the assignment is likely to allow a focus on evaluation and/ or policy development.

Reading Lists