Course Title: Planning Theory

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Planning Theory

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


330H Social Science & Planning

Face-to-Face or Internet

Sem 2 2006


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 2 2022


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies

Face-to-Face or Internet

Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 2 2017,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 2 2020,
Sem 2 2021,
Sem 1 2023

Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Wendy Steele

Course Coordinator Phone: 9925 2302

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 is 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 judgements’ that have to be made.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Program Learning Outcomes 

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

  • Critically analyse, synthesize 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

Course Learning Outcomes 

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

  1. Critically review the main traditions of thought, key authors and their work in fields relating to planning theory and practice
  2. Analyse relationships between planning theories, governance and policies
  3. Relate theoretical concepts and debates about planning processes to case examples in policy and practice.
  4. Identify when different theories are being used, or could be used, to evaluate and design processes in policy and planning practice.

Overview of Learning Activities

Learning activities include lectures and structured discussions in workshops and/or online. 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.

 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 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.            Reflective reading of planning theory 30% (Individual task linked to CLO 1, 2, 3, 4)

2.            Presentation and discussion of key debates 20% (Individual task linked to CLO 1, 2, 3, 4)

3.            Major analysis of theory in practice 50% (Individual task linked to CLO 1, 2, 3, 4)

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 manager 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.