Course Title: Planning Theory

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Planning Theory

Credit Points: 12


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


330H Social Science & Planning


Sem 1 2006


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 2 2016,
Sem 2 2017,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 2 2019


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 1 2009

Course Coordinator: Wendy Steele

Course Coordinator Phone: 32505

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 8.11

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This course introduces you to theories and concepts related to the nature, purpose and policy practices of planning. It is a course designed to bring together theory and practice in what is generally termed praxis. Ideally, theory should underpin planning practice at all levels, in all types of plan- and policy-making. In turn, practice should inform theory. Theory, therefore, helps planning and environmental practitioners to understand the environments (social, economic and environmental) in which they work and how they work. The course will not provide you with recipes or templates for ‘how to do’ planning and environmental policy-making and implementation. Instead, it will raise questions and issues, which enhance our capacity to think about planning practice and the ‘practical judgments’ that have to be made.

Please note that if you take this course for a bachelor honours program, your overall mark in this course will be one of the course marks that will be used to calculate the weighted average mark (WAM) that will determine your award level. (This applies to students who commence enrolment in a bachelor honours program from 1 January 2016 onwards. See the  WAM information web page  for more information.)

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Upon successful completion of this course you will be able to achieve the following:

-Critically review the main traditions of thought, key authors and their work in fields relating to planning theory and practice

-Analyse relationships between planning theories, governance and policies

-Relate theoretical concepts and debates about planning processes to case examples in policy and practice.

This course delivers the following outcomes:

  • Critically analyse, synthesise and reflect on complex theories and recent developments in urban planning, policy and management, both local and international, to extend and challenge knowledge and your scholarly and professional practice
  • Critically analyse and reflect on the interplay of economic, political, social, cultural and ecological factors in urban planning and apply to your scholarly and professional practice
  • Effectively argue and advocate for a preferred set of policy outcomes to help address urban and environmental planning, policy and management challenges

Overview of Learning Activities

Learning activities include lectures (face to face or available online) and structured discussions. Structured discussions are based on your readings of key texts, in which you will explore some specific aspects of theories, answering questions and relating the theories and concepts to planning and environmental policy practices, referring to your own experiences as appropriate.

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 may include short essays, group presentation and tutorial paper, and peer assessment.

Assessment will cover both theoretical and practical aspects of your learning.

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: