AAR5220 - Urban Contingency Practice and Planning


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Assignment and Report
Grade: Letters

Evaluation form Weighting Duration Examination aids Grade deviation
Approved report 1/2
Assignment 1/2

Course content

Social, environmental, economic and political instabilities have become central concerns for urban governance and planning, which impede the ability of professionals and decision-makers to make projections and predictions that are capable of effectively guiding future urban development. The growing income inequalities and chronic poverty magnify these uncertainties and make urban areas more vulnerable and fragile.

Students enrolled in the course will be introduced to the theories of uncertainty and contingency in urban planning, with a particular focus on housing, physical infrastructure, mobility, environment, livelihoods and social capital. Local and international case studies of cities dealing with climate change impacts, epidemics, financial instabilities, armed conflicts, forced migration and other shocks and stresses will be presented and discussed. Students will also have an opportunity to learn about and practice frameworks and methods of contingency planning with a local case study from Trondheim.

Learning outcome

Knowledge: The candidate will have an advanced understanding of the concept of contingency planning in the contexts of different social, environmental, economic and political instabilities and shocks.

Skills: The candidate will be able to prepare area-based contingency plan proposals for different situations of crises and uncertainties

General Competency: The candidate will be able to recognize different kinds of uncertainties and crises, and analyze their repercussions on urban development and planning.

Learning methods and activities

The course teaching will combine classroom lectures, reading discussion sessions and site visits in Trondheim. Students will engage in two major assignments: 1) group project on contingency planning for a hypothetical crisis situation in selected areas of Trondheim, and 2) individual research paper on a chosen international case study.

Further on evaluation

You can register for a re-scheduled examination in the next exam period

Specific conditions

Admission to a programme of study is required:
Architecture (MAAR)
Architecture (MAAR2)
Miscellaneous Courses (ABDIV)
Physical Planning (MFYSPL)
Sustainable Architecture (MSSUSARC)
Sustainable Urban Transitions (MSSUSURB)
Urban Ecological Planning (MSA1)

Required previous knowledge

Completed three years basic bachelor courses in a relevant field.

Course materials

Indicative readings include:
Abbott, J. (2005). Understanding and managing the unknown: The nature of uncertainty in planning. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 24(3), 237-251.
Adey, P.; Anderson, B. and Grahan, S. (2015). Introduction: Governing Emergencies: Beyond Exceptionality. Theory, Culture and Society, 32(2), 3–17.
Archer, D. & Dodman, D. (2017). Editorial: The urbanization of humanitarian crises. Environment & Urbanization, 29(2), 339-348.
Brun, C. (2016). There is no Future in Humanitarianism: Emergency, Temporality and Protracted Displacement. History and Anthropology, 27(4), 393-410.
Christensen, K. S. (1985). Coping with Uncertainty in Planning. Journal of the American Planning Association, 51(1), 63–73.
Hamdi, N. (2010). The Placemaker's Guide to Building Community. London: Earthscan.
Harvey, D. (2013). Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution. New York: Verso.
Hillier, J. (2013). On relationality and uncertainty. disP-The Planning Review, 49(3), 32-39.
Kaika, M. (2017). ‘Don’t call me resilient again!’: the New Urban Agenda as immunology … or … what happens when communities refuse to be vaccinated with ‘smart cities’ and indicators. Environment & Urbanization, 29(1), 1–14.
Lentzos, F., & Rose, N. (2009). Governing insecurity: contingency planning, protection, resilience. Economy and Society, 38(2), 230-254.
Mohiddin, L., & G. Smith. (2016). A review of needs assessment tools, response analysis frameworks, and targeting guidance for urban humanitarian response. IIED Working paper November 2016.
Muggah, R. (2014). Deconstructing the fragile city: Exploring insecurity, violence and resilience. Environment & Urbanization, 26(2), 345–358.
Rondinelli, D.A., J. Middleton, A.M. Verspoor. (1989). Contingency planning for innovative projects. Designing educational reforms in developing countries. Journal of the American Planning Association, Winter 1989, 45–56.
Sanderson, D., Knox, C.P. and Campbell, L. (2012). Responding to urban disasters: Learning from previous relief and recovery operations. ALNAP lessons paper. London: ALNAP/ODI.
Satterthwaite, D. (2011). Editorial: Why is community action needed for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaption? Environment & Urbanization, 23, 339-349.
Turner, J.F.C. (1976). Housing by People: Towards Autonomy in Building Environments. New York: Pantheon Books.
Zeiderman, A.; Kaker, S.; Silver, J.; Wood, A. and Ramakrishnan, K. (2017). Urban Uncertainty: Governing cities in turbulent times. London: LSE Cities.


Detailed timetable


Examination arrangement: Assignment and Report

Term Statuskode Evaluation form Weighting Examination aids Date Time Room *
Spring ORD Assignment 1/2
Spring ORD Approved report 1/2
  • * 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.