Back to: Urban Planning major Urban Planning major

The Urban Design and Planning major focuses on the interaction between planning, geography and environmental design.

Urban Design and Planning is founded on the social, environmental, political, aesthetic and economic importance of design and planning in the public realm. The major allows you to explore urban design (the shaping of urban space) and urban planning (the strategic and regulatory mediation of urban change), while also taking subjects in urban geography.

If you want to learn about the design of urban futures, this major allows you to explore two strongly related fields of environmental practice: urban design as the shaping of urban space and urban planning as the strategic and regulatory mediation of urban change.

Careers

This major can lead to further study in the Master of Urban Design or the Master of Urban Planning at Melbourne.

Urban Design graduates may work for urban design, architecture and planning practices as well as state and local government, where they are instrumental in developing and communicating strategic design frameworks and processes that deliver successful public spaces.

The Master of Urban Planning leads to professional accreditation with the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA).

Urban Planning graduates may work in government departments and agencies or for local councils in cities and regions. The private sector offers employment opportunities in urban planning and design consultancies, environmental agencies, major developers, corporations and utility companies.

Subjects you could take in this major

  • This subject provides an introduction to how people identify needs and wants and devise ways of satisfying them through built or engineered manipulation of the environment. Students will consider the antecedents, processes, actors and consequences of designing constructed and engineered environments, systems and artefacts. Issues of movement and perception, environmental behaviour and the responsible use of physical environmental systems will be explored. The subject will address:

    • Design processes and methods, including problem-solving and design proposal perspectives, methods of framing and analysis of design tasks, creative thinking, and methods of synthesis and
      representation of design outcomes
    • Case studies of various scales and times to examine designed outcomes with regard to social, cultural, economic, resource, production and actor relationships
    • Design professions: their history in the production of environments, systems and artefacts, and their differing educations, organisation and practices
  • To understand why cities have become the most common living environment today, this subject will be built around three questions: what is ‘the urban' and why have cities formed and expanded?; how do we analyse the environments of contemporary cities?; and how might we create better urban futures? Looking to the past, special attention will be paid to cities of different times and places (the early Middle East, Industrial Revolution Europe and North America, rapidly urbanising contemporary China, for example). We will consider the cities' design, political and economic reasons for their development and form, and their dependence on local physical environments and resources. Analytically, approaches to city morphology, socio-economic differentiation and environmental auditing will be investigated and evaluated, linking these matters to contemporary globalisation. Student experience of different local urban environments within Melbourne will form the basis of some tutorial and assessment tasks, raising questions about how better urban outcomes could be planned for the future.

  • This subject was formerly called Architecture Design Studio 1.

    The core of the undergraduate design sequence is the development of both design thinking and dexterity with tools. The focus of this design subject will be generating design ideas, translating them into architectural form/space/materials/programme, refining the architecture through consideration of arrival, circulation, light, views etc and communicating the architectural proposition through 2D and 3D visual media and oral presentations. Linking these investigations will be the theme of earth, which will be explored conceptually, metaphorically, structurally and technologically – e.g. a grounding in considerations of site, topography, context, material investigations, compositional methods, foundational ideas.

  • This subject was formerly called Architecture Design Studio 2.

    The core of the undergraduate design sequence is the development of both design thinking and dexterity with tools. As an extension of 702-239 (ABPL20027) Architecture Design Studio 1: Earth, the focus of this second design subject will be the generation and articulation of design possibilities through a series of studio projects. Linking these investigations will be the theme of water, which may be explored conceptually, metaphorically, structurally, or technologically – e.g. waterproofing, rain screens, hygiene, perspiration, sports centres, hydraulics, humidity, marine or riverine environments, pools.

  • Why do governments plan for cities and regions? What kinds of issues are they responding to? Why do planning decisions get some people so angry? This subject will move from the very local scale (planning issues on my street), to the metropolitan (planning issues in my city-region) and international (planning issues in a global context) scales, in order to examine central issues and processes affecting planning systems in Australia and around the world. The subject is designed to provide an introductory understanding of current social, economic, environmental, and cultural concerns and their relation to planning policies and practices.

  • What is the future of the polis? Exploration of past and present conditions of urban ordering and development inform understanding of 21st century challenges for cities and urban societies. This subject critically examines imagined city futures from historical and contemporary perspectives, incorporating concepts and approaches from utopian literature, critical urban theory, and philosophy to explore how the ‘city’ is understood as a physical realm, a social realm, and an imagined realm. In addition, the subject also critically investigates how imagined and real cities are influenced by popular media and technology, as well as cultural, environmental, economic, social, and political contexts. Students will be able to speculate upon the future of the polis, and their place in shaping or being shaped by the urban condition.

  • This subject explores designed vegetation in urban landscapes. The content includes an introduction to plant types and morphology, planting design, information sources for plants, landscape design themes and plant use, recognition and identification of representative plants; plant selection methodologies and case studies of designed landscape and plant use.

  • This subject covers key elements of building services and sustainability at a residential and commercial scale. The subject aims to teach the basic terminology and concepts behind providing comfortable and effectively functioning buildings in terms of sun, envelope, services (water, waste, gas, electricity, data, fire protection), heating and cooling, air quality, acoustics and vertical transport. Using the sustainability tools being used in the industry (FirstRate5, NABERS and Green Star) students will be given a framework in which to understand how buildings perform and their impact on the environment. They will also be introduced to modelling software that will enable them to carry out performance analysis of initial designs.

  • This subject explores a range of contemporary environmental problems in Australia and internationally. It uses case studies to understand the following: the history and emergence of the issues; the key actors who engage with and manage these issues; and the political dynamics and strategies for governance. The subject examines the multiple dimensions (scientific, socio-cultural, economic, political) of environmental issues and the forms of knowledge and types of power that construct and mediate people’s relationships with the environment. Students should become familiar with the factors that lead to environmental conflicts and the mechanisms used to contain or resolve them, and be able to interpret them in the context of broader questions relating to environmental governance and sustainability.

  • This subject introduces fundamental approaches for thinking about and exploration of landscape architecture. This studio explores ideas of presentation, design processes, and key theoretical concepts relating to contemporary landscape architectural design.

  • This subject will survey the history of architecture and urbanism from the beginnings of shelter to the end of the 17th century in the context of social, technical and environmental settings. It will include the architecture and design traditions of early civilisations in the Middle East, Europe, South Asia, East Asia, South America and the Pacific. It will analyse the values reflected in vernacular buildings (housing), religious institutions (churches, temples), and the power of ruling institutions (state, city, palace and empire).

  • A critical examination of the historical development of landscape architectural design, including the events, social influences and personalities involved, and the philosophies and theories that were developed. The formative evolutionary influences of natural and cultural factors as they shaped the contemporary landscape, and the development of public and private landscape architecture today are addressed.

  • This subject examines how the spaces inside cities, the qualities and resources of their built environments, and the features of their neighbourhoods and communities, enhance or limit the opportunities of different groups of city dwellers. Starting from conceptual positions that foreground inequality, difference and encounter, we ask who benefits and who loses from particular socio-spatial arrangements. Issues investigated will include: the growth of gated communities for the wealthy; homelessness; the privatisation of urban public services; cities as the spaces of identified social groups (women, youth, those of particular ethnicities) and the urban activisms associated with such 'differences'; interactions in public space and in the micro-public places of the multicultural city. Cases and examples will be drawn from cities around the world, primarily from developed countries. Students will explore the socio-spaces of Melbourne in research for their major essay.

  • The subject introduces students to introductory skills relevant to the study and practice of urban design and planning. Building upon the broad understandings developed in the perquisite subjects that relate to the ways that urban designers and planners might successfully intervene in urban places, the subject is oriented to student’s taking steps towards becoming practically able to develop plans, policies and designs to improve urban places, seeking multiple objectives.
    Key skills for writing, drawing, urban analysis, design, and working at the scales relevant to urban design and planning will be developed in a mixed suite of lectures, workshops, field trips, tutorials and studios. Students will work on a key project for the semester that allows to develop key skills, culminating in the production of a design for an urban place. Students will develop abilities in presenting using a variety of media and in a range of settings.

  • This subject was formerly called Site Planning and Design (Landscape Studio 2).

    This design studio is concerned with the art and science of planning and designing landscapes. The emphasis is on systematically analysing biophysical, social and cultural attributes of sites and their contextual settings and based on this information arranging circulation systems, open spaces, areas of vegetation, buildings and other structures within the context of various landscape settings, from urban to natural, and at different scales. Students will learn how to develop design solutions for sites in ways that harmoniously and responsibly respond to the landscape.

  • This is the first core property subject for the Bachelor of Environments Property Major. It introduces students to the basic principles and business concepts of Property, through examination of the underlying drivers of commercial Property Development and Property Investment, the underlying systems and relationships – social, commercial, political, economic and environmental - which govern the operation of property markets with particular reference to urban property in Australia. More specifically, the subject examines the nature of property, property and site analysis, the statutory planning process to obtain a planning permit, property market research, and relevance of these processes to development of financial modeling and examination of property productivity, profitability and financial performance. In addition, there is an examination of the participants in the property industry, their roles and how they interact. Topics include:

    • the character of property and property interests;
    • the nature of markets and exchange;
    • property markets and their evolution;
    • stakeholders;
    • markets and sub-market characteristics;
    • highest and best use/most probable useand property potential analysis;
    • value and worth in the property context; property classes – residential, industrial, retail, commercial, other public and private sector interests;
    • market maturity;
    • property development process;
    • property investment;
    • site analysis;
    • underlying concepts associated with planning, planning policy and the statutory planning process;
    • market analysis and marketability analysis;
    • market analysis techniques;
    • the underlying sources of information that lead to the development of financial feasibility for investment property and property development;
    • how research and decisions related to assessments of site analysis, statutory planning and market research relate to the development of financial feasibility models, measurement of a property’s potential productivity, profitability and financial performance;
    • relevance of risk assessment, mitigation and management throughout feasibility process;
    • examination of data sources, collection, analysis, synthesis and review;
    • indicators of market movements.
  • This subject introduces landscape as a three-dimensional space. Aspects of site grading and earthwork manipulation will be explored, including their experiential and functional implications. The Importance of landform modelling to the design vocabulary of landscape architecture will be introduced, alongside principles of technical and representational techniques.

  • This subject aims to think critically and rigorously about the relationship between social and natural worlds. Its primary purpose is to question the idea that the environment exists outside of, and independent from, the realms of science, culture, politics and economy. Students will be introduced to different conceptual frameworks for understanding the environment as a social entity; to the processes by which capitalism and science structures social and environmental relations; and to alternative modes of living in, and thinking about, the environment. These broad themes will be addressed through engaging examples from Australia and beyond. Particular attention will be given to the concept of 'wilderness'; the postcolonial nature of the zoo; ecotourism; the politics of visualising nature (e.g. through wildlife documentary); the 'new natures' of genetic modification; and ideas about 'environmental justice' and ‘climate crisis’.

  • Urban design is defined as the shaping of public space, distinguished from urban planning by its focus on urban form, from landscape architecture by its focus on built form and from architecture by its focus on public space. This subject will introduce and critically analyse a broad range of concepts, ideas and theories that frame practices of urban design in a contemporary global context.

    Project types will include:

    • new precincts and linkages
    • retrofitting and revitalization
    • new waterfronts
    • transport-oriented design
    • greenfield and brownfield developments
    • informal settlements.

    Studies of urban design process will include:

    • staging and displacement
    • community process
    • design regulation

    Critiques will include:

    • aesthetic
    • social
    • economic and environmental sustainability
    • urban intensity
    • livability and safety
    • politics of imagery
    • access and equity
  • Metropolitan areas have changed substantially through history. This subject examines the ideas, values and forces which influenced the physical growth and development of urban areas in the developed world. Using examples in Melbourne where possible and focusing on specific features and concepts of space and community, the subject considers social, economic, political and environmental processes of urban change. it provides opportunities for students to speculate on the future of our cities in the twenty-first century and to consider the role of the planner, the citizen, governing bodies, and other forces on the shape and changing role of the city.

  • The core of the undergraduate design sequence is the development of both design thinking and dexterity with tools. Students will undertake a series of studio-based exercises in design demanding greater synthesis of diverse requirements and leading to increasingly resolved designs.

    Emphases include:

    • three-dimensional spatial ordering;
    • the development of an architectural language that can be responsive to different conditions;
    • representation and composition
    • an examination of interior and exterior spaces.

    A variety of exploratory and analytic thinking methods, from concept mapping such as charting, will be introduced alongside a range of three-dimensional media, from digital modelling to physical modelling. Linking these investigations will be the theme of air, which may be explored conceptually, metaphorically, structurally, or technologically – e.g. atmosphere, acoustics (auditoria), music, inflatables, air flow and air quality, ventilation and cooling, wind turbines and wind forces.

  • The subject is the capstone subject for the Architecture major in the Bachelor of Environments. It is intended that the subject will integrate previous coursework in the major. The core of the undergraduate design sequence is the development of both design thinking and dexterity with tools. The focus of the investigations of this subject will be architecture in an urban context, which will be explored by students designing a particular building type, e.g. a theatre, a motel, a car park, a television studio, a school, etc. The project will engage with historical, theoretical, structural, and environmental ideas relevant to the specific project through the lectures and various set design exercises.

  • This subject introduces students to contemporary landscape architectural practice through the medium of its projects, relating these to the domain of landscape and landscape architectural theory using the case study method.

  • Australia is one of the most urbanised countries in an increasingly urbanised world. This subject will introduce students to urban ecology and landscape ecology concepts and illustrate how they can be applied to plan and design more ecologically sustainable human landscapes. Topics include the concept of scale in ecology, land transformation and habitat fragmentation, the structure and components of landscapes, patterns and processes along urban-rural gradients, the impacts of urbanisation on biodiversity and strategies to mitigate them.

  • This subject will examine the importance of formative ideas in architecture design, culture, technology. practice and history from the Enlightenment to early Modernism.

    The subject will include study of the following themes: enlightenment, the rise of archaeology and neo-classicism; the emerging language of Modernity including the picturesque and revivalism; the industrial revolution and its implications for new modes of engineering and functionalism; the rise of the architecture, landscape and planning professions; designing and documenting the modern metropolis; colonialism and imperialism across the world; visualising the history of architecture.

    Architectural precedents will be considered within their social, cultural, environmental and landscape contexts and analysed through concerns such as spatial organisation, technologies and theories of architecture as expressed in key texts and ideas. International influence and exchange will be examined through comparison to Australian and local significant sites and buildings.

  • The focus of this studio will be on the production of a design for an urban open space. It will introduce a range of precedents, principles, and practices for urban landscape design

  • This subject will consider the development of modern architecture during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It will include: the origins and development of modernism; changing ideas of housing, urbanism and society; functionalism and expression; materiality and spatial organisation; the changing role of the architect; key ideas of seminal thinkers; reactions to and interpretations of modernism; post-modernism and deconstruction. Particular attention will be paid to global migrations of modernist ideas including Asia/Pacific modernities and the postcolonial condition.

  • This subject will introduce the field of urban morphological analysis and a range of techniques for urban mapping. It will include techniques for mapping and analysis of various layers of urban data, for instance: figure/ground, grain size, building and public space typology, infrastructure, functional mix, movement networks, density, streetlife, character, viewsheds and pools of use. The focus will be on an understanding of how various techniques of urban mapping can creatively contribute to different urban design concepts, approaches and outcomes within a global context.

  • This subject examines the impacts of disasters in cities. It will explore why some groups are more vulnerable to particular hazards than others, while considering the role of social capital and adaptation for increasing the resilience of urban communities to disasters.This is important because the trend towards increasing urbanisation and larger cities is a major contributor to the rising toll of disaster losses globally. In addition, climate change predictions indicate that natural hazards such as bushfires, floods, storms and cyclones are likely to increase in intensity and possibly also frequency in many places, including cities. Contemporary cases will be used to highlight key issues and policy debates. Implications for urban planning and disaster planning and management in cities and at the rural-urban interface will be considered.

    Cases and examples will be drawn from around the world, primarily from developed countries. Students will have the opportunity to examine case/s of their own choosing (with approval from the subject coordinator), and will undertake locally based research in preparation of the field report. There will be a local field trip associated with this subject.

  • The focus of this studio is on the development or redevelopment of a precinct-scale site. Students will undertake site investigations and prepare analysis that will lead into developing a vision for the precinct and a related urban design and planning framework. The future imagining of the precinct will be completed with the preparation of concept designs of the precinct.

    This studio will have an emphasis on relating the fields of urban design and urban planning. Studios and presentations are carried out in an environment that simulates real-life projects with an emphasis on group collaboration and presentation/communication skills.

    The future imagining of the precinct will be completed with the preparation of detailed concept designs of the precint. This studio will have an emphasis on relating the fields of urban design and urban planning.

Entry requirements for the Bachelor of Design

Clearly-in Rank 2016
NA Guide only

The Clearly-in Rank is the lowest score at which students were granted entry in 2016. i

The Clearly-in Rank should be used as a guide for entry. It is not set in advance and may vary from year to year. The Clearly-in Rank is determined by the number of places available, the number of applicants listing the course as a preference and the academic achievement of those applicants.

Access Melbourne 2017
78.00 Guaranteed entry

Access Melbourne allows you to be considered below the Clearly-in Rank. Guaranteed entry is available to eligible students from a rural area or disadvantaged financial background. i

Access Melbourne can help you gain a place in a course, even if your ATAR is below the Clearly-in Rank. Eligible students must apply through Access Melbourne and meet prerequisites.

Find out more about Access Melbourne

Minimum ATAR 2017
85.00 Guide only i

You must achieve the minimum ATAR (if indicated) to be considered for entry to this degree. The Clearly-in Rank may be above the Minimum ATAR, depending on the demand for the course and the number of places available.

Prerequisites

A study score of at least 25 in Units 3 and 4 of VCE Mathematical Methods is required for the following majors: Civil Systems, Computing, Construction, Mechanical Systems, Property and Spatial Systems.

A bridging subject will be available for students who have completed VCE Mathematical Methods Units 1 and 2 but not VCE Mathematical Methods Units 3 and 4 or students who have received a study score below 25 in VCE Mathematical Methods Units 3 and 4.

Some double majors are only possible if students have completed specific subjects in VCE or equivalent.