AAR5210 - Theories in Urban Ecological Planning


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Aggregate score
Grade: Letter grades

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
Individual assignment 40/100
Group assignment 60/100

Course content

The aim of the course is to provide the fieldwork-based project (AAR4525) with a theoretical context and at the same time enable a critical understanding of theory in relation to realities in the cities being explored in the fieldwork.

The course introduces and critically examines theories, concepts and understandings relating to current challenges in urban planning and development. The course focuses on the complex interdependence between people, institutions, and the built environment in pursuit of equity, efficiency, and sustainability. Different concepts related to urban ecological planning and development, such as informality, poverty, social inclusion, governance, sustainability, resilience, new urban planning et al, together with case studies from both the developing and developed countries will be introduced and discussed throughout the course.

Learning outcome

Knowledge: The candidate will have an overview of current urban challenges and relevant debates in theories of social and urban development, poverty, role of the civil society, governance and strategic action.

Skills: The candidate will develop the ability to examine theoretical formulations in real life contexts and to contribute to further development of these concepts based on grounded arguments. In general, the candidates will learn to understand and process theoretical ideas originating in different fields through interaction and debate.

General competency: The candidates will strengthen their theoretical grounding in the field of Urban Ecological Planning as a base for professional practice.

Learning methods and activities

The course is taught in parallel to a fieldwork in a low- or medium-income country.

The course leader will inform the students if the fieldwork in low/middle income country is obligatory or optional at the start of the semester. Obligatory fieldwork will be free of cost for all students. Students who participate in optional fieldwork must expect to pay a small share of the expenses. For students who do not participate in optional fieldwork, an alternative will be offered in Trondheim.

Keynote lectures are given in the introductory weeks in Trondheim. In the fieldwork, sessions are organized as colloquia which enable students to relate their observations and experiences in the field to the theory and give room for critical reflection.

Further on evaluation

Assessment in the course will be based on individual and group assignments which will demonstrate the critical understanding of the literature discussed in the class with respect to the cases the groups have been working on in the field. This will be done through weekly journals written individually and a theory paper written collaboratively by each group confronting theories learned with the issues and conditions experienced in the field. The paper should not exceed 15-20 pages and may include illustrations, diagrams and images.

Students must pass both parts of the assessment to pass the course. Students who fail one part do only have to re-take the part she/he failed.

If a student would like to re-take an exam in order to improve the grade, she/he can choose to re-take both parts or only one part.

Postponed examinations are usually scheduled for the next regular exam period.

Specific conditions

Admission to a programme of study is required:
Architecture (MAAR)
Architecture (MAAR2)
Urban Ecological Planning (MSA1)

Required previous knowledge

Completed three years basic bachelor courses in a relevant field. The course has to be taken together with AAR4525 Urban Ecological Planning - Project course and AAR4820 Methods for participatory planning, co-design and localizing SDGs.

Course materials

Indicative readings include:

Altrock, U. (2012) Conceptualising Informality: Some Thoughts on the Way towards Generalisation.

Brown, A (2015): Topic Guide - Planning for Sustainable Cities in the Global South, DOI:

McGranahan, G. And Satterthwaite, D. (2003) Environmental health or ecological sustainability? Reconciling the brown and green agendas in urban development.

Rakodi, C. and Lloyd-Jones, T (Eds.) Urban Livelihoods: A People-centred Approach to Reducing Poverty.

More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Second degree level


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  AUTUMN 2023

Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Urban Design and Planning
  • Africa Studies
  • Geography
Contact information


Examination arrangement: Aggregate score

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Autumn ORD Individual assignment 40/100 INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
Autumn ORD Group assignment 60/100
Room Building Number of candidates
Spring ORD Individual assignment 40/100 INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
Spring ORD Group assignment 60/100
Room Building Number of candidates
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

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