The Geography and Urban and Regional Planning BSc explores some of the big issues facing today’s and tomorrow’s societies, including key issues such as urban regeneration, climate change, sustainable development, property development, community involvement and transport infrastructure.

This programme particularly suits those geography students with a keen interest in human geography.

Although preparing academically is important, the most vital skill a Geography and Urban and Regional Planning student can have is a passion for the subject. The resources listed below will help develop your geographic curiosity before arriving at university: 

Lab Practical

Intro to Google Earth as GIS tool, Uni Campus on Google earth, Surface water runoff, Mapping bomb sites in Birmingham with an overlay and Mapping UK wide housing price data Lecture

Interested in learning more about how planning works?

The 50 shades of planning podcast discusses the mechanics of the English planning system and includes interviews with people that have different planning perspectives.  This should provide a helpful overview of English planning and how it operates.

How can we make stronger, more resilient towns and cities?

You might be interested in learning more about how planning can “make better places”.  If so, take a look at the Strong Towns podcast.  This sets out ways to strengthen cities, towns and neighbourhoods and, in the process, make them better places to live, work and socialise.  Similarly, the Bottom Line, Planning and Development presents arguments on the kind of things planners and developers are doing to solve the housing shortage? 

What about planning for the future?

 If you have an interest in exploring how plans can shape the future, then the Urbanist podcast contains a guide to making better cities, be it new technology, state-of-the-art subways or compact apartments. Episodes include cities in quarantine, heritage and more, culture and the city and waterside cities.

The American Association of Planning  covers a range of discussions on issues around affordable housing, urban design, disaster recovery, economic development and autonomous vehicles.  Also, Cities of the Future explores ideas or innovation that will transform cities.  

Lastly, Reasons to be Cheerful is a podcast about ideas hosted by Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd, which covers a range of present and near-future topics not limited to planning.  Or perhaps try Thinking Allowed, Laurie Taylor’s podcast which explores a range of planning topics from the future of council estates, housing for health, and smart cities.

Is planning covered in other media?

There is a useful online list on Google Drive which provides information on planning debates captured in film. Thankfully, this is open access and frequently updated:

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) also produce a series of Practice Advice series – a range of reports and advice notes written for planners. They cover topics on biodiversity, housing, planning for climate change, women in planning and other relevant areas.

The UK Government’s Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has recently published a Statement on Planning for the Future which discusses possible ways to deliver well-designed, affordable and sustainable housing.

Finally, the Policy Exchange sets out recent proposals to reform the planning system.

Where can I find books and other sources of information?

Here, for example, is a “top twenty” of key texts that have shaped the discipline and profession of urban and regional planning.  It may be worth taking some time to acquire some, if not all, of these!  Mercifully, second-hand copies are relatively cheap and easy to come by!

There are also some really good, generalist texts that may also be worth exploring, including:

Burke, A. (1971) Towns in the Making, London: Edward Arnold

Benevolo, L. (1985) The Origins of Modern Town Planning, Massachusetts: MIT Press

Cherry, G. E. (1988). Cities and Plans, London, Edward Arnold

Hall, P. and Tewdwr Jones M. (2011) Urban and Regional Planning, London, Routledge (Fifth  Edition)

Hall, P. (2014) Cities of Tomorrow, Oxford: Wiley Blackwell (Fourth Edition)

Rydin (2013) The Future of Planning: Beyond Growth Dependence, Bristol: The Policy Press

Other University Resources


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Get a first-hand view of what it's really like at Birmingham. Our students and staff can't wait to chat and share their thoughts on our courses, gorgeous campus and incredible city!

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 Birmingham City

Cadbury’s chocolate, The Bullring, Peaky Blinders, the Balti – all things synonymous with our city. Yet Birmingham has so much more to offer than this. As one of the original pioneering cities Birmingham has developed into a melting pot for shopping, food and drink, nightlife, sport, culture, and industry.