CPT884: Debates in Eco-City Planning and Development

School Cardiff School of Geography and Planning
Department Code GEOPL
Module Code CPT884
External Subject Code K490
Number of Credits 20
Level L7
Language of Delivery English
Module Leader Dr Li Yu
Semester Autumn Semester
Academic Year 2017/8

How the module will be assessed


70% contribution

Comparitive analysis of eco-city developments

3,000 words


Group presentation

30% contribution

Group presentation and debate

30 minutes


Students are permitted to be reassessed (usually once) in a module which they have failed, in line with course regulations. The reassessment will usually take place during the summer

How the module will be delivered

The module will be delivered by a combination of:

  • Lectures
  • seminars
  • Directed reading

Lectures and seminars are supplemented by Powerpoint presentations (slides are copied and made available) and handouts. Additional readings that are used in teaching sessions will be available in Learning Central before the session in which they are to be discussed. During seminars you may be required to lead or contribute to a debate/discussion.

Outline Description of Module

This module will provide an in-depth analysis of the different forms of eco-city development (from new build, to retrofitting, to informal development) and it will analyse by which processes eco-cities emerge. Debates will include understanding the terms that are used as alternatives or synonyms to the term ‘eco-cities’ including low carbon city, smart city, or transition city to distil the distinctiveness of eco-cities.

Other topics addressed in this module include a critical appreciation of the role of master planning, the role of stakeholders in the development process and how stakeholders are engaged (or marginalised) in the development process, and the role of technologies and novelty in new and retrofit developments. In addition the module will examine current thinking and practice on how sustainable urban spaces are used by those who live and work in them. The module will make use of an extensive range of case studies to illustrate the extent to which eco-cities differ from conventional developments.

On completion of the module a student should be able to

  1. Elaborate and critically discuss the range and variety of different eco-city development based on theoretical concepts and in depth study of case examples
  2. Distinguish how “meanings of eco-city” differ in a range of geographical settings
  3. Offer a critical evaluation of the achievements of eco-developments

Skills that will be practised and developed

Academic/subject-specific skills

Students will be expected to demonstrate skills of critical analysis through an ability to:

  • identify key stakeholders and the relationships between them;
  • critically evaluate a variety of approaches to eco-development
  • appreciate the relationship between market and state in the planning of eco-cities

Transferable/employability skills

Students will practice and develop the following:

  • Written communication
  • Presentation
  • Group work

Assessment Breakdown

Type % Title Duration(hrs) Period Week
Presentation 30 Group Presentation N/A 1 N/A
Written Assessment 70 Essay N/A 1 N/A

Essential Reading and Resource List

Beatley, T. (eds.) (2012) Green cities of Europe : global lessons on green urbanism, Washington, DC : Island Press Satterthwaite, D. (1999), The Earthscan reader in sustainable cities, London: Earthscan

Dessler, A. & Parson, E. A., 2010. The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change. A Guide to the Debate. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Dunn, N., Cureton, P. & Pollastri, S., 2014. Future cities: a visual history of the future. [Online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/357790/14-814-future-cities-visual-history.pdf [Accessed 01 10 2014].

Roseland, M. (1997), “Dimensions of the eco-city”, CITIES, 14( 4), 197-202, Steffen , L. (2012), The Principles of Green Urbanism: transforming the city for sustainability, London : Earthscan; Washington, DC : Earthscan

Stephen, W.  (2nd eds). (2013) , Planning for sustainability: creating liveable, equitable, and ecological communities, London: Routledge,

Wong, T. and Yuen, B.  (eds.) (2011) Eco-city planning : policies, practice and design, Dordrecht ; London : Springer

UNHABITAT (United Nations Human Settlements Programme) (2009), Planning Sustainable Cities: Global Report on Human Settlements 2009, London, Washington: Earthscan

UNHABITAT (United Nations Human Settlements Programme) (2011) Cities and Climate Change- Global Report on Human Settlements 2011, London, Washington: Earthscan

Yu, L. (2014), “Low Carbon Eco-city: New Approach for Chinese Urbanisation”, Habitat International  44, 102-110

Yu, L. (2014), Chinese City and Regional Planning Systems, London: Ashgate

Flynn, A., Yu, L., Feind, P. and Chen, C. 2016, “Eco-cities, governance and sustainable lifestyles: The case of the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City”, Habitat International 53:78-86

Background Reading and Resource List

Syllabus content

The module will begin by assessing how eco-development differs from conventional development. It will then evaluate the contribution that different forms of eco-development can make to more sustainable living. This will then lead into an analysis of who promotes key terms such as ‘low carbon, ‘intelligent development’, ‘smart cities’ and ‘transition towns’ and the development logics that they imply. The module also brings out the way in which professional groups (e.g. planners, engineers), economic interests and citizens play a greater or lesser role in eco-developments. The role of formal (top-down) planning systems is drawn out through a critical appreciation that the role of master planning can play in development and contrasted with more bottom-up informal development (such as to be found in parts of Africa and Latin America). Throughout the module key themes will be drawn out through the use of extended case studies of eco-developments (such as the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City, Freiburg in Germany and Copenhagen in Denmark).

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