Course Title: Ecological Foundations of Planning

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Ecological Foundations of Planning

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


330H Social Science & Planning


Sem 2 2006


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2016,
Sem 2 2017,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 2 2020,
Sem 2 2021,
Sem 2 2022,
Sem 2 2023

Course Coordinator: Professor Sarah Bekessy

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 1858

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Building 8 Floor 11

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment via email

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

Consistent with a worldwide trend, the size of Australian cities has increased dramatically over the last 100 years, placing significant pressures on the natural resource base and regional infrastructures. Evidence of rapidly changing climates, diminishing surface and groundwater resources, and a catastrophic loss of global biodiversity illustrates the critical need for planners to articulate an ecologically- sound blueprint for urban development. In this course you will engage with a theoretical and methodological framework for incorporating ecological criteria into the urban and rural planning process in response to these substantial challenges. 

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Program Learning Outcomes 

In this course you will develop the following program capabilities: 

Bachelor of Environment and Society BP000

  • Apply a body of theoretical and practical knowledge of principles and practice of natural resource policy, sustainability, globalisation and environmental management to professional practice or further study.
  • Work effectively and productively with others in a range of roles in a variety of professional and social contexts.
  • Assist in the identification of needs, and the design, planning, resourcing and implementation of research and development projects in environmental and social sustainability. 

Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning (Hons) BH108

  • Demonstrate creativity, critical thinking and innovation when identifying and solving urban and regional problems in diverse contexts and assessing implications of decisions and actions.
  • Work with others in a range of roles and contexts, demonstrating cultural and social sensitivity, environmental stewardship and ethical and reflective practice.
  • Critically reflect on the interconnectedness of environmental, social, economic systems both locally and internationally and apply in your professional practice or further study. 

Course Learning Outcomes 

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

  1. Reflect on the ecological foundations of planning decisions that shape the natural environment in Australia;
  2. Understand basic principles of ecology, environmental problems arising from the working of modern urban-industrial societies, environmental research methods, environmental risk assessment and the broad social, economic and regulatory frameworks in which environmental problems are resolved;
  3. Critically engage with a range of skills related to the application of environmental planning tools;
  4. Apply knowledge in problem-based learning exercises;
  5. Undertake research and critical analysis including database searches, critical reading and writing, and developing lines of argument supported by appropriate references; and
  6. Contribute to and facilitate discussions.  

Overview of Learning Activities

You will be actively engaged in learning that involves a range of activities including lectures, workshops, field visits, group discussion, and group 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.

There are services available to support your learning through the University Library. The Library provides guides on academic referencing and subject specialist help as well as a range of study support services. For further information, please visit the Library page on the RMIT University website and the myRMIT student portal. 

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on the above learning outcomes. You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program learning outcomes. Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks. 

Assessment Tasks

  1. Critical analysis of interactions between planning and ecological systems (20%) (Individual Task Linked to CLO 1, 2 and 5)
  2. Engagement with and reflection on key concepts (35%) (Group and Individual Tasks Linked to CLO 3, 4 and 6)
  3. Applied problem-based learning task (45%) (Individual Task Linked to CLO 2, 4 and 5) 

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 manage or Equitable Learning Services if you would like to find out more. 

Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions.