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Urban Design and Planning MA


Engage with complex issues

This course focuses on urban design as part of town planning, equipping you with a comprehensive understanding of urban design, planning and development issues.

It provides an inter-disciplinary approach, helping students to develop to engage with the complex issues facing our cities and increase their employability in the expanding profession of urban design and in the related fields of planning and development.

Students will be engaged in project work on sites where there are current urban design and planning issues, and will debate these issues with staff and external guests; the programme also includes a compulsory one week residential European field study visit. In recent years, students have visited Barcelona, Turin, Venice or Dortmund. The study visit costs are included in the tuition fee.

Why Urban Design and Planning at LSBU?

Taught by staff with track records of academic research, professional practice and consultancy, who have strong links to public, private and voluntary sector employers.
The course includes a field trip to a European country at no additional charge to you.
The course is fully accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) as a ‘combined degree’. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) will also consider the accreditation of this programme at the next Partnership Board.
Guest speakers from the built environment profession provide valuable input through lectures, tutorials and project visits.
The course provides an inter-disciplinary approach to urban design, focusing on the relationship between urban design, planning and property development.
Live project working integrates projects and site visits with theoretical debates, inspiring you to think about the characteristics of good places and equipping you to make a critical contribution to shaping those places.


Key course information - ordered by mode
Mode Duration Start date Location
1 year
Start Date
Southwark Campus
2 years
Start Date
Southwark Campus


  • Planning History and Theory This module examines the history of planning and the evolution of the theories and ideas that have underpinned the various attempts to intervene in the natural and built environment through the institution of state-led planning systems.  Planning theory is presented as a means of thinking through the problems and solutions to complex social and planning challenges.
  • The Making of Place This module focuses on the future of an area of London that has undergone radical change in recent years and is the subject of complex and intense pressures for development. The module will ask students to analyse the area and then to prepare, visualise and justify their ideas for the future of this area.  The underlying theme to the module is the belief that planners must be able to visualise possible futures for sites in such a way that is positive and imaginative and can guide and stimulate the ideas of others who might implement them. The module will incorporate the teaching of some relevant computer-aided design skills.
  • Key Ideas in Urban Design and Planning The fields of urban design, planning and development have substantial associated literatures. Through this module students will be introduced to the complexity of ideas underpinning past and current practice approaches and will be encouraged to critically reflect on key topics.  Students will discuss key themes in small-group seminar settings and this will provide them with an opportunity to critique ideas and approaches and to explore the linkages between fields.
  • Urban Design: People and Places The literature dealing with planning and urban design is rich in statements about the importance of ‘the user’ and the part spatial planning and urban design play in delivering better places for people, and there is a growing awareness that people are at the core of successful urban places. This module introduces key theoretical standpoints on the relevance of people’s use of street and city spaces and offers students the opportunity to develop a people-centred perspective on urban design.
  • Designing Sustainable Places This module focuses on sustainability issues, allowing students to reflect on the various aspects of sustainability and the challenges faced by places, and encouraging them to reflect on and design possible solutions for more sustainable cities. The module addresses challenges and responses from spatial planning and urban design and from the variety of agencies involved in place-making in the context of a European field study visit; the visit is central to the module and it is mandatory; it will give students the opportunity to gain insight from experts engaged in key sectors for sustainability, such as planning, urban design and property development.
  • Urban Design Project This project based module provides students with the opportunity to extend and develop their urban design skills in a practical context in relation to the planning and development process and the urban context for design.  It also reviews theories and approaches to urban design and explores and tests them against real places.  It develops approaches from earlier parts of the students’ course and leads to design proposals which are expected to be of a professional standard. This is supported by the teaching of relevant computer-aided design skills.
  • Design and Property Development This module explores the role of ‘good design’ within the property development process. In so doing, it looks at the different design aspects and dimensions entailed throughout the development process, from inception of a scheme to its disposal. Accordingly, issues from the definition of property boundaries, to design particularities of different use categories and their impact on valuation, to long term management issues, will be considered in the module. Case study visits are also included as part of the learning experience.
  • Dissertation The dissertation is the final module of the MA, undertaken by students across all postgraduate programmes within the Division of Urban Environment and Leisure Studies.  It is offered as an option instead of the Major Project. Through a substantial piece of independent research students are required to demonstrate an understanding of the themes related to their specialism. This module considers the design and implementation of research. It frames research within a social science methodology, covering theoretical and practical issues through a series of lectures and seminars which focus on critically assessing methods and selecting appropriate methods for particular research problems.
  • Major project This module is offered as an option instead of the Dissertation module to students enrolled on the MA Urban Design and Planning.  The module will give students the possibility to apply their knowledge and understanding of urban design theories and key topics to a project.  Students will be able to investigate an urban design issue in depth and develop a proposal for change which is informed by research. Support will be provided through supervisory guidance and a series of lectures and seminars which focus on critically assessing methods and selecting appropriate methods for particular research problems.


The course will provide students with specialist expertise in urban design, allowing them to study this discipline within the broader frameworks of town planning and property development. They will develop a broad range of skills, essential for urban design, planning and property development employers. Architectural practices dealing with master planning, government organisations and research institutions are other possible employers.

Employability Service

We are University of the Year for Graduate Employment for the second year in a row - The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018, 2019.

At LSBU, we want to set you up for a successful career. During your studies – and for two years after you graduate – you’ll have access to our Employability Service, which includes:

  • An online board where you can see a wide range of placements: part-time, full-time or voluntary. You can also drop in to see our Job Shop advisers, who are always available to help you take the next step in your search.
  • Our Careers Gym offering group workshops on CVs, interview techniques and finding work experience, as well as regular presentations from employers across a range of sectors.

Our Student Enterprise team can also help you start your own business and develop valuable entrepreneurial skills.



Dr Bob Jarvis

School/Division: Law and Social Sciences / Urban, Environment and Leisure Studies
Job title: Hourly Paid Lecturer - Urban Design

Dr Jarvis is a town planner with an extensive experience in urban design teaching and research; he also has a postgraduate degree in Creative Writing and practical experience of contemporary dance.

Dr Michael Leary-Owhin

School/Division: Law and Social Sciences / Urban, Environment and Leisure Studies
Job title: Course Director - MA Planning, Policy and Practice

Dr Leary-Owhin's interest is in the production of urban public space and he has studied Manchester's 'regeneration' since the 1970s as well as international urban regeneration focusing on Lowell MA and Vancouver. His recent publications include: Exploring the production of urban space: Differential space in three post-industrial cities and The Routledge Companion to Urban Regeneration.

Dr Antonia Noussia

School/Division: Law and Social Sciences / Urban, Environment and Leisure Studies
Job title: Associate Professor; Course Director, MA Urban Design Planning

Combining her training in architecture, conservation and cultural geography, Antonia adopts an inter-disciplinary approach to understanding the spatial expression of cultures on the landscape - primarily the interaction of heritage, tourism and migration. She teaches at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, including PhD supervision.  Her main areas of teaching are destination planning and management, tourism development in less developed countries, urban design, and planning practice.

Dr Philip Pinch

School/Division: Law and Social Sciences / Urban, Environment and Leisure Studies
Job title: Associate Professor: Human Geography

Phil is an Associate Professor in Human Geography within the Division of Urban, Environment and Leisure Studies. His research interests include moto-mobilities, the politics of sustainable design, and European spatial planning.


Teaching and learning

All students have a named personal tutor who will stay with them for the duration of their degree. The Division also has an employability coordinator.

As well as LSBU resources, students enrolled on the MA Urban Design and Planning will benefit from the facilities of the Division of Urban Environment and Leisure Studies. These include: our newly refurbished Urban Design Studio; our Resources Room (a meeting space and facility for our students and staff) and our Spatial Analysis and Informatics Laboratory.

Entry requirements

In order to be considered for entry to the course MA Urban Design and Planning, applicants will be required to have a minimum of a lower second (2:2) Bachelor’s Degree or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

International students additionally require an English Language qualification, with an IELTS score of 6.5, or equivalent.

How to apply

International students

International (non Home/EU) applicants should follow our international how to apply guide.

Instructions for Home/EU applicants
Mode Duration Start date Application code Application method
1 year
Start date
Application code
Application method
2 years
Start date
Application code
Application method

Postgraduate students and research students should apply through our dedicated application system. Full details of how to do this are supplied on our How to apply section for postgraduate students and our How to apply section for research students.

See our admissions policy (PDF File 298 KB) and complaints policy (PDF File 448 KB).


Students should apply for accommodation at London South Bank University (LSBU) as soon as possible, once we have made an offer of a place on one of our academic courses. Read more about applying for accommodation at LSBU.


It's a good idea to think about how you'll pay university tuition and maintenance costs while you're still applying for a place to study. Remember – you don't need to wait for a confirmed place on a course to start applying for student finance. Read how to pay your fees as a postgraduate student.

Postgraduate Application Service

Book a session with one of our specialist Postgraduate Advisors. Over a one on one Advice Session they'll advise you on postgraduate degrees at LSBU that match your interests and experience. Book an Advice Session.

Fees and funding

Fees are shown for new entrants to courses, for each individual year of a course, together with the total fee for all the years of a course. Continuing LSBU students should refer to the Finance section of our student portal, MyLSBU. Queries regarding fees should be directed to the Fees and Bursaries Team on: +44 (0)20 7815 6181.

The fee shown is for entry 2019/20.
UK/EU fee: £7875International fee: £13780
AOS/LSBU code: 5030Session code: 1FS00
The fee shown is for entry 2019/20.
UK/EU fee: £3500International fee: £6124.44
AOS/LSBU code: 5031Session code: 1PS00
Total course fee:
UK/EU £7875
International £13780

For more information, including how and when to pay, see our fees and funding section for postgraduate students.

See our Tuition Fees Regulations (PDF File 146 KB) and Refund Policy (PDF File 102 KB).

Possible fee changes

The University reserves the right to increase its fees in line with changes to legislation, regulation and any government guidance or decisions.

The fees for international students are reviewed annually and the University reserves the right to increase the tuition fees in line with the RPIX measure of inflation up to 4 per cent.

Postgraduate loan (PGL) for Masters study

If you are starting a Masters course, studying either full- or part-time, you may be entitled to apply for a postgraduate study loan. Find out more at our postgraduate fees and funding section.


We offer several types of fee reduction through our scholarships and bursaries. Find the full list and other useful information on funding your studies on the scholarships and fee discounts page.

Fee status

Please check your fee status and whether you are considered a Home, EU or International student for fee-paying purposes and for our regulatory returns, by reading the UKCISA regulations.


Select a story and read about practical project work, students' placement experiences, research projects, alumni career achievements and what it’s really like to study here from the student perspective.

Prepare to start

We help our students prepare for university even before the semester starts. To find out when you should apply for your LSBU accommodation or student finance read the How to apply tab for this course.

Welcome Week

Before you start your course we’ll send you information on what you’ll need to do before you arrive and during your first few days on campus. You can read about the process on our Welcome Week pages.

Preparatory reading

The best preparation for the MA Urban Design and Planning is to explore and observe the urban environment around you! Travel and interact with different kind of spaces; observe how space is used. Go to museums to find inspiration: the National Gallery, the Tate Modern...they are all free!

You can also do some background reading; as an introduction we suggest:

  • Carmona, M., Tiesdell, S., Heat, T. and Oc, T.(2010) Public Spaces - Urban Places, 2nd Edition, Architectural Press, Oxford
  • Cullingworth, B., Nadine, V., Hart, T., Davoudi, S., Pendlebury, J., Vigar, G., Webb, D. and Townshend, T. (2015) Town and Country Planning in the UK, Routledge, London
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Contact information

Course Enquiries - UK

Tel: 0800 923 8888

Get in touch

Course Enquiries - EU/International

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7815 6189

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