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TCP3061 : Contemporary Planning Issues

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Mark Shucksmith
  • Lecturer: Dr David Webb, Dr Neil Adrian Powe, Professor Rose Gilroy, Dr Abigail Schoneboom, Dr Raymond Abdulai, Dr Alexander Wilson
  • Owning School: Architecture, Planning & Landscape
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module seeks to provide students with the opportunity to explore contemporary planning issues within the context of contemporary practice. The module explores the current system design of planning practice, its possibilities and its limitations. It reflects on the role of politics (in its broadest sense to include local authority context, partnership working and the community and key stakeholders), the latest techniques (such as negotiating, partnership working) and emerging topics (e.g. levelling up; outsourcing of planning; ageing, planning and housing; rural policy; digital tools).

The assignment includes an individual practice style report reflecting on a particular planning issue, supported by relevant evidence.

Outline Of Syllabus

•Module talk will provide an overview of the module and the assessments
•Lectures, structured reading tasks and workshops will cover the following contemporary planning issues:
-       The current state of planning in England
-       Ageing and housing
-       Ageing and planning
-       Rural policy
-       National parks and planning
-       Digital tools and planning
-       Town centre revival
-       Governance of viability
-       Outsourcing of planning
• Drop-in/surgery sessions allow students to ask questions in preparation for their report on a contemporary planning issue

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture91:009:00Lectures from different contributors each week
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion184:0084:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading92:0018:00A two hour reading task provided by each contributor each week
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops92:0018:00A two hour activity facilitated by contributor, linked to structured guided learning, with questions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery23:006:002 drop-in sessions for students to ask questions linked to second assessment
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study164:0064:00Independent Study and online chat via Canvas
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:001:00Intro to module; how to access and use materials; report writing; assessments
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

A lecture from a different contributing expert each week, alongside rich online content in the form of short recorded video lectures, enable students to build their understanding of a variety of contemporary planning issues. This is supported by a reading task provided by each contributor each week and a two hour workshop facilitated by the contributor, potentially linked to the guided reading, giving students a weekly opportunity to ask questions and develop their capacity for critical reflection. The workshops support understanding of the capacity and capabilities of planning and planners to engage with the contemporary planning issues covered, as well as appreciation of the importance of the political/administrative context. Opportunities are also provided for online chat via Canvas with the module leader and fellow students to build confidence in handling the material and developing arguments and critiques. The drop-in sessions support the students in reflecting in depth on a contemporary issue in planning, as well as supporting their development of skills in writing an evidence-based report.
There are 33 contact hours for this module, of which at least 17 hours are PIP.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M30Essay: Critically reflecting upon UK planning today (1500 words)
Report2M70Critical report on contemporary planning issues (2,500 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

These assessments enable students to reflect critically on a range of policy mechanisms and issues related to the particular contemporary planning issue they seek to explore, and to critically reflect on UK planning today.

The second assignment also seeks to ensure students are confident with report style writing ahead of becoming professionals in whatever field they seek to take up.

Reading Lists