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Course content

Government advises that good planning and good design are inseparable; this course focuses on urban design as a part of town planning. Our approach to urban design emphasises the continuing nature of planning responsibilities (as opposed to the contractual nature of most design professions) and focuses on the everyday use of places and spaces.

Site project work

Initial modules contextualise ideas of urban design and its evolution. The core of the course is project work on sites where there are current urban design issues and we have established links with the planning authority or a client. We have worked on the hinterland of Bankside, Great Yarmouth Sea Front, and Central Hackney.

Field trip

The Field Trip module (a compulsory part of the MA and PgDip) prepares you for work in unfamiliar places. Field trips offer our students a unique learning experience. We think of the trips as visits to living laboratories where you'll learn through active, hands-on experience. Beyond your studies, you'll also have the opportunity to develop and enhance their self-confidence and leadership skills. Recent field trips have involved postgraduate planning students visiting Barcelona, Spain; Ruhr Valley, Germany; and Venice, Italy. For all new entrants the field study visit fees are included in the tuition fees.


The dissertation is a research-based urban design project which engages with critical thinking, such as Chris Jones' concept of urban design as 'bringing about change in a man-made world'.


Year 1

Planning history and theory
Urban design- the heart of planning
Urban design project
Sustainable places (with EU field study visit)
Everyday life: place and performance
Planning in London

Part-time mode taught one day per week, with one or two modules being taught in each semester plus the dissertation being completed by the end of January in the third year.


Modules are assessed by a range of coursework, examination, design and practice-based projects, presentations and a dissertation. The project work for the course is closely integrated with current issues and problems and each year a new site is chosen and new contacts made, visits undertaken and visiting speakers address the students.

Recent guest lecturers include:

• Rob Cowan, Urban Design Group;
• Various speakers from CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment);
• Struan Leslie, Choreographer and Movement Director, (RSC, Casanova, Welsh National Opera);
• Beatrice Jarvis, Goldsmiths College.


There is a national shortage of qualified town and environmental planners in the UK so the demand for our postgraduate courses is particularly high.

Qualifications in the planning and housing sectors can lead to a wide range of careers. Many of our past and current students hold key positions in their organisations and professional bodies, often as senior managers and business owners.

Graduates have used urban design on the planning courses at LSBU to focus on the relationship between planning and design and several now hold key posts in urban design in private consultancy or public authorities.

LSBU Employability Services

LSBU is committed to supporting you develop your employability and succeed in getting a job after you have graduated. Your qualification will certainly help, but in a competitive market you also need to work on your employability, and on your career search. Our Employability Service will support you in developing your skills, finding a job, interview techniques, work experience or an internship, and will help you assess what you need to do to get the job you want at the end of your course. LSBU offers a comprehensive Employability Service, with a range of initiatives to complement your studies, including:

• Direct engagement from employers who come in to interview and talk to students
• Job Shop and on-campus recruitment agencies to help your job search
• Mentoring and work shadowing schemes.

Visit the Urban Planning Design - MA page on the London South Bank University website for more details!






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