City Challenges and Policy Responses

This module applies the knowledge and skills from the Urban Policy Design and Planning Analysis through surveying specific planning challenges and opportunities in cities, using Birmingham and the West Midlands as a ‘living laboratory’ and case study. The following issues are explored: evaluating the spatial and non-spatial contexts underpinning planning interventions; the kind of social, economic and environmental challenges relating to the local scale; and how local planning responses can guide different stakeholders as to what sorts of policies and action are required. 

The module will be assessed through one semester-end portfolio, equivalent to 5,000 words. This involves producing a professionally-produced neighbourhood strategy that provides the sense of direction needed to guide investment and development decisions at a neighbourhood scale. The strategy should identify and address a full range of social, economic and environmental issues and opportunities of the area in the context of an understanding of the wider policy framework. It should give a clear indication to residents, potential developers and investors, and other key interests, as to what sorts of implementation are needed, where, when and why. 

Students will attend a combination of lectures, small-group computer workshops. The workshops focus on developing practical skills in statistics, GIS, and other data presentation/visualisation techniques for policy design. Students will use these sessions to develop knowledge and skills relating to mapping urban form, stakeholder analysis, exploring the spatial and non-spatial context, and identifying sites and opportunities for development

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • Assess official area measurements of deprivation using computer and non-computer-based techniques, policy designs, and place-based interventions.
  • Evaluate different perspectives and the consequences for the spatial analysis of urban policy.
  • Appraise the advantages and limitations of data analysis and visualisation techniques in policy design and planning studies.
  • Develop analytical skills in GIS for planning and development for policies on social cohesion, economic development, urban infrastructure, and environmental sustainability.