REMP16-Urban Design and Sustainability

Module Provider: Real Estate and Planning
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn 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 physical 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; and 

  • 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, fieldwork and structured in-class debates 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 6
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 20 20
    Wider reading (directed) 30
    Preparation for seminars 6
    Preparation for performance 4
    Preparation of practical report 50
    Completion of formative assessment tasks 4
    Essay preparation 15 25
Total hours by term 155 45 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 60
Set exercise 40

Summative assessment- Examinations:
Not applicable.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests: 

Relevant week(s) 


% share of the module mark 

Week 16 (Autumn) 

Individual urban analysis (including 2 presentation slides, analytical framework and a 500-word critical reflection on key findings)

Equivalent to a?1,500-word?essay 


Week 23 (Spring) 

Individual?3,000-word?position paper 



Formative assessment methods:

  • Structured in-class group debates 


Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Assessment requirements for a pass:
The pass-mark for this module is 50%.

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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