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Professional course

Urban and Sustainable Design Principles

About this course

Course code:
Professional/Short Course
Geography and Environmental Management
Eight weeks
Distance learning
Course director:
Adam Sheppard

Page last updated 14 December 2018


This course is concerned with how we interpret and analyse space and place and then plan respond to it through new interventions and managed change.  It provides a foundation in key principles, concepts and approaches of urban design.

You will study via distance learning and have no required attendance. 

Who is it for?

This course is ideal for anyone working in urban or rural planning, interested in planning, involved in planning (for example Neighbourhood Planning), interacting with the planning system as a professional, or for personal reasons. It is suitable if you have no prior knowledge or if you're looking for a refresher, some background, or more detail concerning the workings of the planning system.  You do not need drawing skills or knowledge of any particular software package to complete this course; the course is focused upon principles and responses conceptually, not technical abilities.

Entry requirements

It is highly recommended that you first study the Urban Planning: Context and Law and Urban Planning: Local Planning short courses before studying this course.

Careers / Further study

By successfully completing the assessment as part of your course studies, you may be able to use this credit towards one of the Awards within the JDLC Urban and Rural Planning programme family, subject to meeting the entry requirements for these programmes.



This course will focus on:

The Importance of Place:
It includes an outline of the key objectives of the aspect of planning and place-making and sustainable urban design.

Analysing Places
This part of the course introduces established techniques for recording and analysing existing built environments and the public realm, ranging from the work of the English urbanist Gordon Cullen, through to that of the American geographer Kevin Lynch. This focuses on graphics-based techniques for analysing built environments that can be undertaken by people with a non-design background and involve the systematic appraisal of an existing  place, using: plans, annotated drawings, notation systems, photographs

Places in the Past
This part of the course provides a historical perspective of the evolution of places. It includes an overview of: the design of settlements in the past, the emergence of city planning, the role of design in the modern town and city

Planning Places
This section provides a review of how place-making has been a central objective of the UK's planning system as it evolved during the twentieth century, as a response to perceived inadequacies in the quality of existing developments. It starts with a review of the evolution of design-based guidance and the objectives that have shaped the role of sustainable urban design within the emerging UK planning system.

Shaping Places
This section identifies agreed and established best practice principles in the making of sustainable places and urban design.

Guiding Places
This part of the course examines a range of urban design strategies, in the form of publications that aim to address the issue of making places at various spatial scales, from the large village, small towns through to city centres, and from site specific Design Briefs to Masterplans.

Study time

We would recommend approximately 150 hours to complete this course. This is only a guideline and will depend highly on your learning abilities.


As part of the course, you will be asked to complete a 15 credit Masters level module in Urban and Rural Planning. To achieve this accreditation you will be required to complete the following:

The assessment is based on a single design portfolio whose aim is to get students to:

  • analyse and critically review the design qualities of an existing urban environment that is familiar to you against identified criteria
  • produce sustainable urban design principles for a site within the chosen study area
  • create a design for the future development of this site
  • reflect upon the application of the design principles in practice

In this way, you get the chance to put into practice both the theory and methods explored in the module and learn through this process of application

What commitment do I have to make?

We would recommend approximately 150 hours to complete this course. This is only a guideline and will depend highly on your learning abilities.

The assessment submission date is set approximately for the end of the course duration, which is eight weeks. Unfortunately, it is not possible to extend this deadline once you have registered for the module. However, if for an unexpected reason you are unable to submit, the University does have an extenuating circumstances policy.

We encourage participants taking the assessment to manage their own reading and are happy to supply a list of recommend texts on request.  You will be provided with all of your required reading and content through an online virtual learning environment, and will be able to interact with your tutors via a discussion portal as well as through more traditional means such as email, Skype and telephone.

Prices and dates

Supplementary fee information

Please see the table below for current fee. All prices are VAT exempt.

Commencement dateFee
22 July 2019£788 (academic year 2018/19)

(includes module assessment)


How to apply

How to apply

Book NowEnquire Now

Extra information

For more information regarding the course content, please contact Adam Sheppard; Senior Lecturer and JDLC Director, or submit the enquiry form above to be kept up-to-date with new course dates and related courses.

For further information

  • Email: Please contact us using the online enquiry form above.
  • Telephone: +44 (0)117 32 86304

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