The Bartlett Development Planning Unit



How the MSc Urban Development Planning is structured.

Core and Optional Modules

The course consists of lectures, seminars, workshops, case study analysis  and field work in London and abroad. Students are expected to play an active part in their learning through reading, participation in class activities and individual and group work. An important emphasis is placed on group work as a key aspect of a relational planning practice. 

The course is structured so that 75 per cent of the taught components of the course (90 credits) are devoted to the core subjects of Urban Development Planning and 25 per cent (30 credits) to an option from a range of modules on offer.

The core modules provide the theoretical and methodological components of the course while the optional module allows students to examine different approaches and problems in accordance with their particular interests. Teaching takes place in the first two terms of the academic year (September to March) with the exception of the Practice in Urban Development Planning module which spans three terms (September to June).

A module is finalised once work is completed in all its elements of performance assessment, i.e. course work, essays, project reports and, where required, written exams.

London-based field trip

The course strives to embrace both theory and practice, with one of the three core modules being specifically practice-oriented. Students engage in a practical exercise in London equipping students with the knowledge, techniques and skills required on the ground from practitioners. The skills learnt are directly transferable to the overseas field trip which takes place later in the year.

During the first term (November) students also attend an intensive three-day residential workshop at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor with the rest of the DPU student body. This is a unique experience to work on a specific case study with experts from the field and in collaboration with students from across the DPU.

Overseas field trip

In the third term (May) students travel abroad to a city in the Global South to conduct a two-week field trip in groups. The purpose of the trip is to give hands-on experience of processes of urban change, community-led initiatives and policy challenges in the urban context of the Global South.

Students are asked to explore a given urban issue through teamwork and, after meeting with the stakeholders involved, produce recommendations for the institutions and communities present in the area of interest. Recent field trips have taken place in Cairo (Egypt), Accra (Ghana), Mumbai (India), Istanbul (Turkey), Bangkok (Thailand), and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania).

Dissertation Report

Students are required to write a report (60 credits) on a topic selected by themselves, bringing together debates and concerns in urban development planning. Examples of former reports include:

  • The informal city, spaces of negotiation and citizenship in Southeast Asian cities. Requalifying slum upgrading at scale, the cases of Kampung Improvement Programme and Baan Mankong
  • The progression of governance in Medellin, Colombia
  • Exploring the difference in place-making.  The case of bad buildings and regeneration in the inner city of Johannesburg, South Africa
  • The Right to the City: Spaces of Insurgent Citizenship among Pavement Dwellers in Mumbai, India