CP0121 - Places and Plans

SchoolCardiff School of Planning and Geography
Department CodeCPLAN0
Module CodeCP0121
External Subject CodeK400
Number of Credits20
Language of DeliveryEnglish
Module Leader Dr Andrea Frank
SemesterSpring Semester
Academic Year2013/4

Outline Description of Module

The module introduces students to basic planning and plan making concepts through a mix of theory, knowledge and practice orientated teaching. There is a specific focus on concepts related to land use, settlement structure and the built environment. Students have to explore elements of the urban fabric, urban form, patterns of accessibility, land use, physical development and design in existing places as a precursor to producing a conceptual design of a “new neighbourhood.” Students will be introduced to observation techniques and methods for analysing and assessing urban settings in terms of aesthetic and functional qualities (permeability, legibility, etc). They also will be introduced to digital mapping resources (DIGIMAP) and graphic software applications. Problem solving approaches, team working, elementary drawing and various presentation skills are learnt in a series of workshops and activities that includes a mandatory ‘Charette weekend.’

On completion of the module a student should be able to

On completion of the module a student will be able to:


1) describe basic land use planning concepts and models, as well as urban design principles and approaches in order to differentiate and evaluate settlement typologies (e.g. polycentricism/neighbourhoods), typical patterns of land-use and types of development (e.g. out of town retailing /mixed use areas/business parks/high-low density), patterns of accessibility (e.g. walking/cycling friendly, transport oriented development), and townscape character.


2) appreciate the contribution of design and design processes in shaping cities/towns and enhancing the built environment and quality of life and apply concepts and principles identified above selectively to a plan making exercise resulting in the creation of a neighbourhood master(plan) project.


3) analyse and synthesise primary observations on land use, traffic patterns, design quality, and secondary data (census, population demographics, crime rates) relevant to planning and present results in appropriate and attractive graphical, written and oral formats using various graphic or mapping software as well as manual drawing and sketching and layout techniques.


4) apply and structure team working strategies for project work while also having an appreciation of basic time management methods.


5) Critically discuss key planning values to be considered including concerns for social equity, quality of life, spatial equity (accessibility and choice), minimising environmental impacts (environmental sustainability) and good (physical) design for enhancing quality of life and justify the application of particular land use planning concepts during the plan making exercise based on these values.

How the module will be delivered

The module is taught over one semester and is delivered via a mixture of lecture, workshop and laboratory sessions which require students to actively participate and engage with the subject. There is also a field visit and a compulsory weekend charette. Overall the module accrues a minimum of three contact hours per week, often more. The balance between lectures and lab/workshop activities will vary week by week. Some workshop activities will make use of specialist software and the computer facility of CPLAN, others require site visits for visual analysis of the built environment and development sites. Students will be required to explore the environment and document, analyse and assess observations. Students also have to conduct relevant supplementary reading. All work will feed into formatively and summatively assessed work. The weekend charette may be residential or may consist of two consecutive daytrips and is designed to get students started with their group coursework and assignment.

Skills that will be practised and developed

Whilst studying this module students will develop and practise the following



How the module will be assessed


How the module will be assessed


The module will be assessed based on three contributions:
1) site analysis (individual) consisting of analysis results including illustrative diagrams, maps and explanatory text to be submitted in poster format,
2) attendance and contributions to the weekend Charette (individual mark),

3) a group project consisting of a set of deliveries including a group presentation, a model of the design and adequate illustrative plans.


The site analysis coursework will assess students’ ability to apply observational and analytical techniques systematically to describe and evaluate the conditions on and around a future development site in respect to land use, transport networks, history, natural features and service provision. The coursework also assesses students ability to apply the skills / software taught on layout, poster design, drawing, sketching, analysing and synthesizing census, and other planning related data.


The Charette weekend assesses students’ professional attitudes and time management skills, their team building efforts, engagement with tools and techniques introduced, and their response to formative feedback.


The Neighbourhood Masterplan assignment assesses students’ ability to apply land use planning concepts and design principles using skills introduced during workshops, creativity sessions and the weekend retreat. It also assesses students’ ability in time management and effective group working. The group presentation assesses students’ oral presentation skills. Projects will be judged by the quality of graphic/written presentation as well as the reasoning and judgement employed for making land use and spatial arrangement decisions.


Throughout the module there will be many opportunities for students to receive formative feedback during the workshop sessions and the weekend charette when oral presentation, team working and problem-solving and creativity skills are being taught in a non-threatening supportive environment.


Type of assessment





Duration (if applicable)

Approx. date of Assessment



Site Context Analysis (individual)


Spring Semester/ Mid module



Charette Weekend (start of group project)


2.5 days

Mid module

Oral group presentation of project and assessment of deliverables


Neighbourhood Master Plan (group project)

15-20 min plus Q&A

End of Module


Note: Students must achieve a minimum pass mark in both: Site Context Analysis and Neighbourhood Masterplan – as well as an overall average pass mark for the module.

The potential for reassessment in this module

Students are permitted to be reassessed in a module which they have failed, in line with the course regulations. The reassessment will usually take place during the summer.

Assessment Breakdown

Type % Title Duration(hrs) Period Week
Written Assessment 40
Coursework 1 - Site Context Analysis
N/A 1 N/A
Oral/Aural Assessment 50
Oral Group Presentation Of Project - Neighbourhood Master Plan
N/A 1 N/A
Practical-Based Assessment 10
Participation/attendance Of Charette Weekend
N/A 1 N/A

Syllabus content

Essential Reading and Resource List


** required/key readings



Please contact the module leader as early as possible if you require readings in an alternative format.

© Cardiff University