CP0312 - Planning Theory and Practice

SchoolCardiff School of Planning and Geography
Department CodeCPLAN0
Module CodeCP0312
External Subject CodeK400
Number of Credits20
Language of DeliveryEnglish
Module Leader Dr Alun Thomas
SemesterAutumn Semester
Academic Year2013/4

Outline Description of Module

The module examines the relationship between theory and practice. It will suggest that a useful way to organise your thinking about this matter is by examining some contrasting models of how planners understand and work in the world. Particular attention will be given to the idea of the planner as technician, and the idea of the reflective practitioner.


On completion of the module a student should be able to

1.    Set out and evaluate major approaches (in planning theory) to questions about the nature, purpose and methods of spatial planning.

2.    Use concepts and approaches from planning theory to analyse debates and innovation in contemporary spatial planning practice.

3.    Discuss some competing approaches to understanding planning practice

4.    Undertake independent critical reading in an unfamiliar subject area within planning

5.    Reflect on their own professional development and learning in a structured way

How the module will be delivered

The module will be taught through:

Skills that will be practised and developed

Deep reading of academic texts

Communicating and contributing constructively to  group discussions

Writing  for academic audiences

How the module will be assessed

Type of assessment





(if applicable)

Approx. date of Assessment

Short essay


Assignment 1



Reflective narrative


Reading log






1.5 hours



Assessment Breakdown

Type % Title Duration(hrs) Period Week
Examination - Autumn Semester 50
Planning Theory And Practice
1.5 1 N/A
Written Assessment 25
Short Essay - Assignment 1 (1250 Words)
N/A 1 N/A
Written Assessment 25
Reflective Narrative - Reading Log (1000 Words)
N/A 1 N/A

Syllabus content

Syllabus content

The module’s scope extends beyond models of planning; but these models can provide starting points for thinking about many topics. So, for example, the technical model of planning (and its rivals) provide different ways of understanding and answering :

Essential Reading and Resource List

Allmendinger, P  (2009) Planning Theory  2nd ed London, Palgrave

Brooks, Michael P(2002)  Planning Theory for Practitioners  Chicago, Planners Press

Campbell, S and Fainstein, S eds (2011) Readings in Planning Theory  3rd ed Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell

Friedmann, J (1987) Planning in the Public Domain Princeton, Princeton University Press

Sandercock, L (1998 )Towards Cosmopolis  Chichester, John Wiley

Schön, D (1991) The Reflective Practitioner p/b editionAldershot, Ashgate

Taylor, N  (1998) Urban Planning Theory since 1945 London, Sage

Thomas, H and Healey, P eds (1991) Dilemmas of Planning Practice Aldershot, Ashgate


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