History and Theory of Planning and Design (PLAN9068)


This unit is in two overlapping modules, each of which is assessed.
Module one enables students to understand how the main concepts and practices of urban planning and development have evolved; appreciate different perspectives about the roles and purposes of planning; undertake basic historical research about Australian urban planning and development issues, and prepare basic stories and arguments about practical planning issues and current theories. There is a strong emphasis on enriching the ability of students to better appreciate urban form, structure and planning practice generally by analysing such form, structure and process through the lens of history (as 'snapshots' in time), and the understanding planning drivers that shape and express such urban change. Interpreting planning practice and what this means and reflects (such as underlying values, norms attitudes, public interest, etc) is a key element of this module.
Concurrent with module one, module two familiarises students with the main ideas and methods that have influenced urban design practice from the late nineteenth century to the present. It covers the dominant urban design theories, principles, conceptual and physical models, analytical methods and drawings from key contributing authors over the period, and explores critically how and why these arose, their interrelationships, spheres of influence, and continuing validity. In this module, key urban design 'classics' are discussed critically as history, design sources and tools.
Students will be able to: critically review and interpret key planning and urban design texts, construct and present basic arguments, orally and in documents; access and engage with key literature and other sources of knowledge; and use basic conceptual frameworks about planning arguments and stories for both the overlapping fields of urban planning and urban design.
This is an introductory core unit for both the Urban Planning and Urban Design degrees.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


Lecture 2 hrs/wk


Assignment 1 short questions (35%); group work local area analysis (30%); analytical essay (25%); attendance and class participation (10%). Peer review may apply to group work.

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules


PLAN9031 or ARCH9062 or ARCH9031 or MARC4201

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.