Rough Theory

Theory In The Rough

Planning History and Theory: Course Renewal

As I’ve mentioned previously on this blog, I taught an undergraduate History and Theory of Planning course last term – my own (somewhat rushed) design. This term, I’m teaching into the postgraduate version of the history and theory course, which now therefore shares many of the same readings and some of the organisational elements of the undergraduate version. As it happens, the postgraduate version is also due for “renewal”, and I’ve been offered a postgraduate student’s dream job: being paid to read, so that I can refresh the reading list and reconceptualise the organisation of concepts presented in the course. While I’m at it, I’ll also rethink the reading list for the undergraduate version, if only to make my life easier if I happen to be the one who teaches that course next time around…

Course readings are intended to be refreshed every few years but, in this case, the course renewal process is also driven by the introduction of a new postgraduate planning history course – the hope being that the history course can provide basic factual knowledge that will enable the theory course to delve into more complex territory when exploring the relationship between planning theory and the broader historical context.

If anyone has any suggestions, please feel free to post them here. For reference, I’ve posted the undergraduate Course Guide and PowerPoints below the fold. (The postgrad syllabus and lectures aren’t “mine”, so I won’t reproduce those here.) My temptation is to use the historical structure of the undergraduate course in rethinking the postgraduate one – with perhaps a bit more “hard” philosophy at the outset to give a firmer understanding of core concepts – romanticism, liberalism, Enlightenment, capitalism, etc. – that can then be traced through the course.

Note that most of the PowerPoints spend a lot of time on course mechanics, and are thus more than a bit dull… If you want actual content, you’ll often need to scroll quite a ways… Some weeks do not have PowerPoint notes, either due to holidays or class activities.

Undergraduate History and Theory of Planning Course Guide

Week 2: Introduction

Week 3: Liberalism Core Concepts

Week 5: Theories of Planning

Week 6: Foundational Figures

Week 7: Early 20th Century Social and Economic Trends Overview

Week 8: Golden Era Planning

Week 9: Early Critiques of Postwar Planning

Week 10: the “Crisis”

Week 11: Planning Beyond the State

Week 12: Contemporary Discussions

Week 13: Evaluation and Reflection

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