Course Title: Governance and Planning

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Governance and Planning

Credit Points: 12


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016,
Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019

Course Coordinator: Assoc Professor Joe Hurley

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 9016

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 8.7.13

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

The study of urban governance helps to explain how cities work. This course takes a multi-level governance approach and investigates the roles, responsibilities, and resources of different levels of government (with an emphasis on local government), and inter-governmental relations. You will also gain an understanding of the role of the government, private sector, and civil society in managing cities including the delivery and financing of services and infrastructure. The governance context of each place significantly influences the substance and process of planning and decision-making. This course will focus on Melbourne and Victoria, as well as international comparative case studies. Ultimately, this course is about examining the complexities of governance and planning and the actors involved with a focus on the local-scale. 

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe the historical evolution of local government in an Australian context
  • Understand the constitutional roles and relationships of the different levels of government in an Australian context
  • Analyse and evaluate the ways in which local governments have responded to the financial and political constraints they operate under
  • Understand the role of government, the private sector, and civil society in governing urban regions
  • Undertake and develop different communication practices

Program Learning Outcomes

In this course you will develop the following program learning outcomes:

  • Demonstrate creativity, critical thinking and innovation when identifying and solving urban and regional problems in diverse contexts and assessing implications of decisions and actions.
  • Initiate positive contributions to the wider community through professional planning practice, establishing empathy, equity and shared understanding across diverse interest groups


Overview of Learning Activities

You will be actively engaged in learning that involves a range of face to face and online activities such as lectures, guest lectures, tutorials, workshops, field trips, group activities and individual research.

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems.

A list of recommended learning resources will be provided by your lecturer, including books, journal articles and web resources. You will also be expected to seek further resources relevant to the focus of your own learning.

The University Library has extensive resources for planning students. The Library has produced a subject guide that includes quality online and print resources for your studies [].

The Library provides guides on academic referencing: and subject specialist help via your Liaison Librarian.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program learning outcomes. Assessment tasks may include a group research project, reflective observational reports on local government activities, an analysis of a local government plan, a research essay, and class participation.

Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.

If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.

Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online: