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Course content

The MSc Eco Cities course addresses how cities can be planned and built to promote low carbon lifestyles. You will explore how ecological development can mitigate climate change and promote more sustainable ways of living.

The course addresses the serious and complex questions of how cities can be planned and managed in a more resource efficient way. These include:

• What is a low carbon and ecological (sustainable) city?
• How can city and regional planning effectively guide sustainable development?
• Can cities be planned and built to promote low carbon lifestyles and foster ecological development that can mitigate climate change?
• How can urban areas adapt to climate change?

You will gain a critical understanding of the forms of development that badge themselves as sustainable or low carbon and will develop the skills to take forward innovative environmentally friendly urban developments that are sensitive to the needs of sustainable spaces.

Distinctive features:

• You will travel to a global city and work in depth on a ‘live’ planning project and/or governance issue. Previous destinations have included Xiamen and Jakarta.

• The course is recognised by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) as a 'specialist' masters, allowing those who have completed a three year RTPI recognised undergraduate spatial planning degree to complete the RTPI's educational requirements for membership.


The programme is offered full time (12 months) consisting of 180 credits. It is fully modularised.

You will take core options to the value of 60 credits, optional modules to the value of 60 credits, and then undertake a piece of independent research (Dissertation) also worth 60 credits.

The programme is divided into two parts:

Part one comprises a teaching programme of core and option modules over two semesters. Options are available in the School of Geography and Planning, the School of Engineering and the School of Architecture.

Part two comprises an individual dissertation on a topic selected in consultation with members of staff. Whilst there are few constraints on the choice of topic, it must address at least one of the core course themes of the Eco-Cities programme.

Core modules:

Debates in Eco-City Planning and Development
Governance of the Eco-city Development Process
Live Project for Eco-city Development
Researching Eco-cities

Optional modules:

Environmental Management
Environmental Policy and Climate Change
Planning and Real Estate
Transport and the City
Planning for Sustainability
Transport Analysis
Sustainable Transport Policies
Food Security and Justice
Renewable Energy Development and Planning


The programme will be delivered through a mix of lectures, seminars and field study visits/empirical data collection.

The formative learning experience is particularly fruitful when you undertake the Live Project as staff will be alongside you in the field, and in your dissertations when you will have regular meetings with your supervisors on the progress of your research.

A particularly notable feature of the course is the Live Project in which you will have the opportunity to visit an ongoing eco-city development. This is a core module and provides an opportunity for you to undertake an overseas field study visit and work in-depth on a ‘live’ planning and/or governance issue in an eco-city.

You will work in groups and work closely with a partner organisation and will deploy skills in problem-definition; draw upon, and develop, knowledge of the planning, political and cultural context of the development; and appreciate the operational context within which a report will be delivered to the partner organisation.


Formative assessment takes place in modules on an ongoing basis and will take a variety of forms including essays, group reports, individual reports, presentations and multiple choice tests.

Career prospects

It is estimated that there are about 170 eco-cities (towns) under development in Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Africa, and the Pacific Area. In China alone, more than 90% of cities have expressed their interest in developing a new eco-city or to apply the principles of eco-city to their existing urban area.

The scale of current and future eco-city development and its global reach means that the programme will appeal and offer value to:

• Those who are currently engaged in eco-developments and wish to develop their professional expertise and academic knowledge in a School of Geography and Planning.

• Those who wish to pursue a career in eco-development and wish to learn about best practice and leading edge academic thinking.


You will travel to a global city and work in depth on a ‘live’ planning project and/or governance issue. Previous destinations have included Xiamen and Jakarta.

Visit the Eco-Cities MSc page on the Cardiff University website for more details!






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