APL230 Planning Theory

Credits (ECTS):10

Course responsible:Andreas Hengstermann

Campus / Online:Taught campus Ås

Teaching language:Engelsk

Limits of class size:


3rd year students at BYREG are prioritized.

Course frequency:Annually.

Nominal workload:The course is setup to in total require about 250 hours (seminars and preparations)

Teaching and exam period:This course starts in Autumn parallel. This course has teaching/evaluation in Autumn parallel.

About this course

The course gives a broad introduction to planning theory and different ways of thinking about planning. It opens up questions of the societal roles of planning, the relations between planning and politics, who planning is thought to be for and what can be considered as ‘good’ planning. These are all questions of relevance for how one can understand the planning profession, the role of planning professionals, the craftsmanship of planning and planning ethics in the light of various theories.

The course covers leading planning thinkers and different schools of thought with a focus on planning ideas shaped in Western democracies. The course follows the trajectory of planning ideas through history with an emphasis on planning ideas and key debates of relevance today as the course attempts to integrate a spectrum of past and contemporary planning theories.

Learning outcome

Knowledge / comprehension

  • An outline of what the field of planning theory entails
  • Recognize central schools of planning theory and their origins
  • Identify of the rationales behind different theories of planning
  • Knowledge of how the planning profession and its challenges can be viewed differently

Application / analysis

  • Assign a role to planning theory in relation to planning practices
  • Become more theoretically aware and reflective of how different norms and values are part of planning
  • Relate the theories to planning challenges of today and different planning contexts

Synthesis / evaluation​

  • Articulate arguments on how and why different theories of planning are relevant and/or problematic for planning practices
  • Evaluate how different theoretical perspectives might relate and/or clash
  • Position yourself in relation to planning theory with regards to what you conclude as contemporary issues of particular importance to planners
  • The learning activities are organized around thematic interactive seminars, held on a weekly basis. As a student you are expected to prepare for each seminar and to take an active role in the seminars. Part of the preparation is to work with texts and keep a reading log. The in-classroom activities are often carried out in groups and include discussions as well as lectures.

    The workload of the course is fairly evenly distributed over the run of the course, to allow for the successive digestion and processing of the content.

  • APL108 (or equivalent), LAA200, APL200
  • Portfolio. Pass/fail.

  • The external censor evaluates the students' portfolios.
  • Weekly obligatory assignments and attendance on the seminars. If you do not attend a seminar, you can be requested to compensated for this with an additional assignment.
  • The course may be experienced as demanding due to the reading load.
  • In classroom seminars app. 35 hours.
  • Minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway (generell studiekompetanse).