LUP-23806 Planning for Urban Quality of Life


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Excursion (one day)12
Independent study
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. GJ Carsjens
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. GJ Carsjens
Examiner(s)dr. ir. GJ Carsjens

Language of instruction:



In this course the students will become familiar with theories, concepts and methods of planning for urban quality of life. The course activities include theory lectures and practical group assignments. The theory classes involve a series of lectures on urban planning and design. The group assignments will address different methods and techniques for analysing the spatial organization and building spatial scenarios. The methods and techniques stem from the so-called design-oriented approach of planning. Students gain in-depth knowledge and skills in analysing and designing alternative futures with the help of creative leaps then taking consecutive steps backward in scale and time in order to arrive at practicable policy strategies.
The students will practice the methods and techniques with the help of a case study in the Netherlands. The case study allows exploring the relationships between the urban fabric and the diversity of human activities, based on concepts for the spatial organization of the area. The students will learn to deal with a range of uncertainties that are evident for the complexity of spatial planning for urban quality of life. A study trip to the area will help the student to understand the context of the issues at hand.
The methods and techniques for analysing the spatial organization and building spatial scenarios will be practiced by means of structured group assignments in the context of the case study at the regional to local level, taken from planning practice. In general, the case study will be complex and we do not expect students to develop a comprehensive view of all the problems and developments in the area within the time constraints of this course. The main emphasis is on practicing with some methods and techniques for analysing and designing the spatial organization and building scenarios. The assignments will familiarize students with spatial planning issues at different scale levels and time horizons. The group assignments will be introduced in introduction lectures. The related theory is being introduced in a course manual and selected papers. The practical assignments are presented in four subsequent steps: 1) Analysing the present situation of the area, 2) Identifying critical driving forces and building external scenarios, 3) Designing a desirable vision of the future situation of the area and 4) A SWOT analysis to derive at policy strategies.

Learning outcomes:

At the end of the course the students will be able to:
- recognize some basic concepts of urban planning and design;
- understand the interaction between these concepts and urban sustainability;
- understand the relationship between the urban fabric and human activities, and how to analyse the spatial organisation for these activities and its interaction with the urban environment and sustainability;
- identify and include relevant qualitative as well as quantitative data in urban planning processes in a way that demonstrates an appreciation of the need to communicate issues such as uncertainty and quality;
- apply methods and tools for environmental assessment in the context of urban and environmental planning;
- demonstrate the ability to make sound judgments about the quality of scientific arguments and supporting evidence.


- lectures and guest lectures;
- reading and discussing articles;
- group work, planning and design activities;
- field visits.


The individual grade for the course will be assembled from the scores of:
- written exam (50%). The written exam has multiple choice and open-end questions covering the content of the theory lectures and the selected scientific papers.
- group work (50%). During the different phases of the group work, each group will receive feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of their work. This will allow the group to improve their work toward the final result.
The final result are two A0 size posters per group, that show the overall result of the scenario process. The posters will be assessed and graded during a closing session.
The grade for the posters and the written exam should both be a minimum of 5.5. A pass for the written exam remains valid for one year; a pass for the posters for two years.


Course reader and selected articles/papers (to be announced).

Restricted Optional for: MUEUrban Environmental ManagementMSc2AF
Compulsory for: WUUEMBSc Minor Urban Environmental Management2AF