RE3SUD-Sustainability and Urban Design

Module Provider: Real Estate and Planning
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2022/3

Module Convenor: Dr Richard Nunes

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module provides an introductory level overview of basic urban design concepts and sustainability principles.


This module aims to provide students with an introduction to key concepts of, and academic debates and policy challenges surrounding sustainability and sustainable development. In particular, it examines the nature, role and contemporary relevance of sustainable urban design and development. It covers the dimensions and constituents of urban design and planning approaches to the creation and maintenance of good places, with regard to the interests involved and the nature of the urban design and development planning processes. It aims to promote awareness of and sensitivity to urban design, and strategic and local planning issues with implications for more socially and environmentally just development outcomes. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

Upon completion of this module, students should be able to: 

  • identify and debate the evolving concepts and principles of sustainability and urban design, and be able to contrast its different viewpoints or ideological motivations; 

  • debate the substance, motives, roles and relevance of sustainable urban design, as an area of research and practice; 

  • appraise the quality and functionality, or value of places, including the introduction to different forms of visualisation; 

  • list and explain the differences between impact assessment tools available in practice for delivering on sustainable urban design outcomes. 

Additional outcomes:

  • Engage in productive debate over competing standpoints; 

  • Propose and defend evidence-based points of view.

Outline content:

  • Origins of sustainability and urban design theory and practice; 

  • Fundamentals of sustainability and urban design: key debates; 

  • Monitoring and evaluation of sustainable urban design; 

  • Land, Food, Energy, Water and Health as factors in the substance, motives, roles and relevance of sustainable urban design in development planning practices. 

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module is delivered using lectures, tutorials, group presentations, fieldwork and structured in-class group debates. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 5 3 2
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 10 30
    Wider reading (directed) 20 10
    Preparation for seminars 5 5
    Preparation for performance 5
    Preparation of practical report 0 20
    Completion of formative assessment tasks 5
    Revision and preparation 30
    Essay preparation 20 10
Total hours by term 90 78 32
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 60
Set exercise 40

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Two-hour exam during exam period in Summer term.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Individual urban analysis (including 2 presentation slides, analytical framework and a 500-word critical reflection on key findings). Equivalent to a 2,000-word essay. Submission in Week 3 of the Spring term (timetable Week 22).

Formative assessment methods:

  • Structured in-class group debates (See Module Schedule)

Penalties for late submission:

The Support Centres will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:

The pass-mark for the module is 40%. 

Reassessment arrangements:

Reassessment will be by the same method as for the module’s original assessment requirements, subject to variation by the Examination Board where appropriate.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

£5 – Return travel from University of Reading (Whiteknights) to Arborfield Green (Garden Village)

Last updated: 22 September 2022


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