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ENVS 1015 Planning History and Thought


Using the UK as a principal case study, this module charts the development of planning over 150 years from the Industrial Revolution to the present day. It examines how planningís evolution has been shaped by social thinking and the priorities of the day, and by an overall shift from state-led legal activity in the mid 20th century to an enabling activity concerned with economic growth, environmental concern and social justice.

Teaching and Learning Methods

Weekly lectures and two half day field trips.


This module introduces students to the theories and practice of twentieth century town and country planning, by using Britain ñ the first country in the world to industrialise ñ as a case study. It covers the historical development of planning practice in the UK and elsewhere, its theoretical basis, the political and regulatory justification for planning, and the institutional and policy frameworks.

  • To provide a broad perspective on the main principles that have shaped planning since the late nineteenth century, and the social-economic and political contexts within which these ideas have evolved.
  • To give an overall view of the main planning outcomes of the 20th century.
  • To set current urban and environmental policy issues in historical perspective.
  • To provide planning students with an appreciation of the essential basis of their degree programme.
  • To give an overall view of the great planning achievements of this century (and the failures)
  • To give students an essential basis of understanding for the rest of their courses
  • To provide an overview of the history and development of town planning theory and practice.

Learning Outcomes

All students will be able to appreciate the stages through which the British planning system, in particular, has evolved and how it has achieved its present-day spirit and purpose.


  1. Introduction:  Module outline and key themes, origins and purpose of planning, key events, individuals and themes
  2. Nineteenth century precedents and experiments.
  3. The invention of modern town planning
  4. Field Trip: Hampstead Garden Suburb
  5. Depression, War, Reconstruction
  6. Peace and prosperity: planning  in the post-war boom years (1946-1960)
  7. Economic insecurity and the rise of protest movements (1961 -1979)
  8. Neoliberalism, deindustrialisation and globalisation (1980 ñ 1997)
  9. Field Trip: Greenwich Peninsula and Canary Wharf
  10. Planning in the 21st  Century: contemporary challenges in historical perspective; Module overview and key themes


Dr Iqbal Hamiduddin (coordinator)
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Prof Michael Hebbert
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Description of assessment(s)

Coursework: 50%  Examination: 50%

Criteria for assessment(s)

Logical development of argument drawing on case study examples and literature, with personal viewpoints fully justified

Deadlines and mode of submission

The essay is to be submitted via Moodle, by Monday 20th January 2014 at 5pm
The exam will take place in term 3.

Feedback (formative and summative)

Students are welcome to discuss an essay plan with the module coordinator (Iqbal Hamiduddin) by prior arrangement via email.

Marked essays with detailed comments will be available on Moodle by Term 2, week 6
(i.e. 4 weeks after submission).

Indicative Reading

Core texts are as follows

  • Hall, P. (2002) Cities of Tomorrow. Blackwell, Oxford. (NB. A new edition will be appearing shortly)
  • Hall, P and Tewdwr-Jones, M. (2011) Urban and Regional Planning, 5th edition, Routledge, London
  • Ward, S (2002) Planning the Twentieth Century City, Wiley, Chichester

For planning students these are useful texts for your degree programme generally.