Master of Urban Planning/Master of Urban Design
- CRICOS Code: 105519G
What will I study?
The Master of Urban Planning allows you to develop expertise in an area of specialisation to prepare yourself for a focused career. As well as core courses, electives and a research thesis, you will complete four courses in one of the following areas:
- International Development and Planning
- Social Planning
- Bushfire Planning
- Analytic Methods
Combining this with a Master of Urban Design will allow students to put theory into practice via our suite of studios. Professional and community involvement play an integral role in our studio experiences and the studio projects are approached to develop your practical and creative skills to apply on real-life urban design problems. The collaborative nature of studio classes mirrors the way of working within industry.
“Urban Planning is so broad! There are so many avenues to take within it and it’s perfect for anyone who is interested in lots of different things at the same time, as there are always opportunities for projects that meld together different disciplines.
I greatly enjoyed the Inclusive Cities subject, as it provided a thorough exploration into social planning and the different dimensions of equity within the city. It also included lots of great workshops and guest lectures from professionals with amazing social planning experience. Planning Law and Statutory Planning was incredibly useful as it thoroughly covered the foundations of the Victorian planning system and prepared me well for my first industry job.” Claudia Lombard. Master of Urban Planning student.
Sample course plan
View some sample course plans to help you select subjects that will meet the requirements for this degree.
- Semester 1 50 pts
- Semester 2 50 pts
- Semester 1 50 pts
- Semester 2 50 pts
- Semester 1 50 pts
- Semester 2 50 pts
Explore this course
Explore the subjects you could choose as part of this degree.
- 12.5 pts
This subject covers the legal framework within which urban planning takes place, and the ways in which local provisions (e.g. ‘Planning Schemes' in Victoria) can be used to implement plans by regulating development. It focuses on the legal frameworks and measures used in Australia, with particular emphasis on Victoria, but critically compares these with alternative approaches used in other jurisdictions. The intention is to teach students not just how to ‘operate' the current legal and statutory systems, but also how to change them to produce better outcomes. We begin by considering the role of regulation and laws in the process of urban planning, and the objectives that statutory planning seeks to achieve. We consider the possible tensions and conflicts between these objectives, and the different basic approaches that might be adopted in dealing with these tensions. The course then introduces the framework of planning law and governance in Victoria, comparing it with practice elsewhere in Australia and in selected overseas jurisdictions. The Victorian statutory planning process is covered in detail, addressing the making and amending of planning schemes, scheme administration and appeals. Finally, we consider the relationship between these state systems and other regulatory systems, such as Commonwealth environmental legislation, before turning to the question of possible reform of the Victorian and Australian systems.
- 12.5 pts
This subject explores planning and policy making for productive and competitive urban settlements by investigating the economic drivers, activities, and interrelationships of cities and regions. You will examine how making and moving of goods, services, and jobs shapes the vitality, structure and governance of cities and regions. Complex planning issues, requiring judgements about the competing demands of economic development and social needs, are associated with the growth and decline of sectors and places in their particular urban contexts. Various economic perspectives and examples are used to show and interpret how urban activities and sectors – such as manufacturing, transport, services, recreation, and creative activities – have locational and network impacts within and between cities. Special attention will be paid to comparative analysis and innovation in developing cities and regions, and to the implications of market failures and inequalities produced by economic development activities.
- 25 pts
Students will undertake introductory abstract design exercises in the first half of semester providing the foundation for a major urban design proposition and the development of that proposition for end of semester assessment.
This subject covers an introduction to a broad range of urban design issues and design approaches which may include: the scope, opportunities, complexities and responsibilities of urban design; urban design issues, elements and systems: analytical and design skills for generating and testing alternative approaches to the urban design development of specific sites; the role of urban design within a given spatial, social, economic and political context.
The studio sessions are augmented with lectures and seminars in other subjects devoted to current urban design practice and theory.
- 12.5 pts
Urban design is concerned with the shaping of public space at multiple spatial scales from lanes, streets and squares to the neighbourhoods and districts of the larger metropolis. This subject emphasises the development of urban design knowledge that is of value to urban planners and other related professionals, while critically reflecting on urban design as it is practised. Students will develop understandings of the nature of urban design, and the roles of other professionals in relation to it. The fundamental qualities of urban places are examined from an urban design perspective. These understandings form the basis of skills development in using planning tools to achieve desirable urban design outcomes. An integrated program of lectures, studio workshops, fieldwork, and teamwork provide the basis for developing urban design understandings. Students will undertake hands-on urban design work, while reflecting critically upon the role of urban design, and the manner in which planning and urban design are interconnected.
- 12.5 pts
This subject introduces students to the theories, skills and tools used in strategic planning, from problem identification and site analysis; through demographic, economic, and social background research, including GIS; identification of alternatives and policy development; to creating an implementation, monitoring and evaluation plan.
There is a strong international comparative emphasis to this subject, including a focus on 'the real world' of governance in relation to ongoing debates about inclusive, socially just and environmentally sustainable cities.
This subject involves a site visit (field trip) which will run in place of the lecture and tutorial in week three. The site visit is an assessment hurdle requirement and students will be required to cover the local public transport costs.
- 25 pts
Students will undertake a series of in depth, critical and propositional studio-based design esquisses or exercises leading to a major exploratory urban design proposition. Their design proposition will investigate one or more key urban design issues or approaches in depth.
This subject touches on a range of urban design issues and design approaches including use of urban analytics in the design process, the scope, opportunities, complexities and responsibilities of urban design; urban design issues, elements and systems: analytical and design skills for generating and testing alternative approaches to the urban design development of specific sites; the role of urban design within a given spatial, social, economic and political context.
Students will undertake a series of studio-based design esquisses or exercises leading to a major exploratory urban design proposition. Their design proposition will investigate one or more key urban design issues or approaches in depth.
- 12.5 pts
Current practices of urban and regional planning have emerged as a human response to the range of circumstances surrounding settlements over time. This subject provides students with a grounding in the main theories of planning over the last two centuries as a means of understanding present-day planning practices and debates in an historical context. Accordingly, students will develop understandings of the contexts in which planning emerged as a response to concerns with a range of circumstances over time. These include: public health, technological change, environmental degradation, economic development, social justice, and conceptions of order and aesthetics. An integrated programme of lectures, readings and tutorials provide students with the materials to answer a series of related questions that chart the development over time of planning. The evolving responses to the enduring questions of planning, such as: ‘what is planning; why plan; how to plan; and what or for whom do we plan?’ are charted over time. The Australia response, in an international context, is emphasised to provide a critical lens upon current Australian planning, providing a basis for subsequent subjects in the Masters of Urban Planning Program.
- 12.5 pts
This subject surveys some methodological approaches that are relevant to analysis of urban systems and urban planning processes. Students will be equipped to analyse both primary and secondary data, understand and apply essential principles of both qualitative and quantitative methods, and identify the context for their appropriate use. Students will be trained to critically assess shortcomings of data sources and methods, and consider the impact this has on the conclusions drawn. Overall, the subject facilitates the development of skills and knowledge regarding the use, collection, analysis, and representation of information. This will be utilized in future subjects and practice as planners. It is divided into three parts:
Part 1. Universal Concepts in Research
Part 2. Quantitative Research
Part 3. Qualitative Research
- 12.5 pts
This subject explores contemporary theories and modes of critique relating to the design of the urban public realm. Emphasis is on how urban physical form responds to the economic, cultural, political, social, aesthetic and natural forces of an urbanised area. Assignments and class papers require students to critically engage with a broad range of theoretical positions, and relate them to local conditions.
- 12.5 pts
Urban governance and citizen participation influence both the structure of the planning process (e.g. who participates, and how and when they participate) and the built environment outcomes produced from this process. All practitioners who work in local and regional environments (built, natural, social) need to be aware of the strategies and techniques that can be employed to elicit involvement from the public and private sector, and the modes of governance that shape citizen and stakeholder participation at different scales of government and at different points in the planning process. This subject will impart to students the skills involved in encouraging and managing participation in the overall governance and planning of urban regions.
These skills include:
- Understand the concept of urban governance
- Understanding the influence of different forms of urban governance on processes of citizen participation
- Understand the nexus between the public and private sectors and civil society in planning for and managing cities
- Understand the role of local, State and Commonwealth government, the private sector and civil society in delivering and financing infrastructure and services
- Encouraging and managing citizen engagement using different participatory tools
- Understanding and assessing different characteristics of urban conflict
- Negotiation, mediation, consensus-building between government, the private sector and civil society in complex situations with deep value differences
- Have insight into comparative governance contexts through case studies from other countries
- Evaluation of citizen participatory processes
There will be considerable reliance on hand-on exercises based on case studies from Melbourne and around the world. The subject aims to be relevant to urban and social planners, landscape architects, urban designers, architects, property professionals, community developers, and environmental activities.
This subject replaces ABPL90315 Urban Governance, and was previously known as Participation and Negotiation.
- 12.5 pts
This subject was previously known as Planning Urban Sustainability.
Humans have altered the earth's natural environment to such an extent, that scientists are considering the determination of a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. Climate change is one of many indicators of these significant human driven changes to the environment.
This subject will provide students with an understanding of the key factors contributing to changes to natural and built environments, and their centrality to urban planning activities. Students will critically analyse the complex interrelationship between environmental processes, climate change, urban change, sustainability goals and urban planning policies. Current urban planning issues including: sustainability, climate change, resilience, and vulnerability will be critically analysed and applied to current and future problems. Local and global examples will be drawn upon. This approach will equip students with the capability to propose urban planning solutions to address climate change and facilitate urban sustainability.
Through completion of this subject students will be provided with exposure to cutting edge urban planning approaches to address climate change and sustainability. Students will be well prepared to take elective subjects which focus in detail on environment, resilience and sustainability topics.
- 25 pts
Students will undertake a series of in depth, critical and propositional studio-based design esquisses or exercises leading to a major exploratory urban design proposition scheme. Their design proposition will investigate one or more key urban design issues or approaches in depth, whilst demonstrating a thorough understanding of the broader implications of their proposal.
This subject integrates a range of urban design issues and design approaches including use of urban analytics in the design process; parametric urbanism; complex adaptive systems; Pareto efficiency; the scope, opportunities, complexities and responsibilities of urban design; urban design issues, elements and systems: analytical and design skills for generating and testing alternative approaches to the urban design development of specific sites; exploring the potential the role of urban design within a given spatial, social, economic and political context.
- 12.5 pts
This individual study based subject is a capstone option for the completion of the Master of Urban Planning. Students will be supervised by an academic throughout the research process. Discussions with a supervisor allow the student to obtain advice and guidance for completion of an independent study.
The thesis requires two consecutive semesters of enrolment:
- The focus of the first semester is developing a research question, undertaking a literature review related to that question and proposing methods to answer the research question (which may require ethics clearance).
- The second semester concentrates on the middle to final stages of research from the implementation of a research plan, to effectively interpreting and presenting results.
The MSD Minor Thesis requires two consecutive semesters of enrolment. Students can commence the Minor Thesis ( ABPL90396 MSD Minor Thesis Part 1) in either Semester 1 or 2 and must continue (ABPL90397 MSD Minor Thesis part 2) in the following semester. Upon successful completion of the MSD Minor Thesis, students will receive 25 points credit.
Further information on thesis supervisor availability and selection process is at https://edsc.unimelb.edu.au/graduate/subject-options/msd-studios/mup-studio
- 25 pts
This subject is the culmination of each student's studies in Master of Urban Design. It will consist of a number of autonomous studio groups offering a range of opportunities for students to demonstrate an original approach to design synthesis in urban design, which is based on research and critical thinking. These studios will offer an interdisciplinary experience, and in some cases students may be working alongside others in a parallel design discipline.
Students will be expected to demonstrate mastery of conceptual engagement with the shaping of urban space, design resolution, conceptual engagement and aesthetic expression .
With course coordinator approval, high-achieving students may undertake the Urban Design Thesis as an individually supervised design investigation. Similarly, under exceptional circumstances and with course coordinator approval, the design thesis may be undertaken as a written thesis
- 12.5 pts
The subject is an introduction to the contemporary technical tools and urban models that are required in the practice of urban design. The theoretical focus is on contemporary techniques and models that have been generated by architects, landscape architects and planners.
It emphasises links between eras (continuities and change), between ideas and practice, and between urban design and the wider landscape of ideas: special attention is paid to the influence of culture, the role and techniques of urban morphology, and the graphic representation/interpretation of concepts, models and places.
- 12.5 pts
- 12.5 pts
This subject provides a multi-disciplinary overview of the design of sustainable buildings and considers the design from an architectural, services engineering, facade engineering, environmental engineering and structural engineering, tenants and owners perspective. Topics include: ecological sustainable design, life cycle analysis, planning for sustainable buildings and cities, regulatory environment, barriers to green buildings, green building rating tools, material selection, embodied energy, operating energy, indoor environmental quality (noise, light and air), facade systems, ventilation systems, transportation, water treatment systems, water efficiency, building economics, and staff productivity.
A number of industry based case study examples will be introduced to complement the lectures.
- 12.5 pts
This subject focuses on impacts of digital technologies on professional practice and services. It explores issues such as emerging forms of professional practice, status of professional knowledge and skills, use and value of digital information in design, and digital fabrication and assembly of contemporary buildings. The subject involves guest lectures by practicing designers and case studies of real projects.
- 12.5 pts
Constructed Ecologies engages with the key principles of ecology as a fundamental requirement for landscape architectural practice. Typical topics include biodiversity, soils, changing rural ecologies, wetlands and stormwater design strategies including water flows, environmental history informing design, and performative design. The focus is on ecosystem function. The course emphasises foundations of ecology, suburban design, and designing with water. The course will address case studies from around the world as illustrations of ecological principles informing design.
- 12.5 pts
This subject introduces graphic skills appropriate to design and building. These skills are taught through a series of constructed and freehand drawing assignments essential to the design thinking process. Graphic skills are developed through tutorials and lectures which are held in the studios and outdoors. Emphasis is given to the development of orthographic and perspective drawing, delineation and representation of form and volume.
- 12.5 pts
This subject prepares students for environmental management roles by providing them with the principles of how human impacts on the environment might be detected and managed. The principles will be placed within the legal and social contexts of environmental impact assessment. At the completion of the subject, students should understand three aspects: prediction of the kind of changes that might occur with human activities; the design and implementation of proper monitoring programs that can detect changes; and assessment of those changes. Additionally, a strong emphasis is placed on the practical implementation of principles.
- 12.5 pts
This elective focuses on integration of geospatial data into iterative, procedural, rapid and large-scale design modelling, using a range of emerging tools including GIS, 3D modelling, CIM (Civil Information Modelling) and associated scripts and plugins. In this subject you will develop methods to model and interact with complex built form, difficult terrains and integrate social, environmental, and ecological data into your design decision-making.
This subject offers an opportunity to build upon prior skills and interest in areas such as biomorphic/organic form making, 3D printing, photogrammetry, agent-based simulation, particle systems, material editing, online mapping, GIS analysis, motion graphics and performance-based design. It is recommended for students of urban design, landscape architecture, and architecture.
Subject note: In 2021, this subject will be taught through Blended Synchronous Learning (BSL). Meaning it will be available in both an online and on campus format. Whether learning remotely or in person it is highly recommended you have the following equipment available to you:
A PC (Windows Operating System) desktop/laptop that complies with the MSD recommendations with a webcam, headphone and microphone please refer: https://msd.unimelb.edu.au/current-students/student-experience/it-support
You will predominantly use Autodesk software’s 3ds Max and Civil3D which is available free to students https://www.autodesk.com/education/free-software/featured
Quantum Geographic Information Systems (QGIS) is also free software, and can be downloaded using the following instructions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q61LSk9n3U8&list=PLxhO2rXtBrKEwCHRYXXs8aQ3SswxXOTR8&index=2&t=0s
ArcGIS Pro is available through request for a licence. Please contact IT
Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) can be accessed through MyUniApps or can be purchased on monthly basis.
Most other plugins and scripts are available free though we are also in the process of sourcing / negotiating home licences for others for which the university has licences.
- 12.5 pts
This subject introduces the concepts of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and its application in landscape architecture, urban planning and development. It will:
- introduce the origin and development of GIS respect to landscape architecture, urban planning and development;
- introduce basic GIS concepts, data structure, data format, and data management;
- introduce fundamental GIS operations such as digitising, overlay analysis, spatial analysis, hydrological analysis, 3D analysis, etc.;
- address key issues of applying GIS in planning, design and development, such as landscape capacity and suitability analysis, urban heat island analysis, water sensitive urban design, property management, etc.;
- place how GIS will facilitate site analysis, inform decision making and improve efficiency and productivity in planning, design and development.
The subject will be delivered through lectures/guest lectures, lab tutorials, workshops and practical sessions synthesising dominant themes in this fields of using GIS as tool to achieve sustainable design and ecological landscape planning.
SUBJECT NOTE : In 2020, this subject is taught online. To allow for this the student needs the following:
Software Requirement: ESRI ArcGIS 10.7 will be used. Students can request ArcGIS 10.7 via the online chat service 'Ask a librarian' https://library.unimelb.edu.au/contact_the_library#chat (available during library opening hours). Students will be provided license code and instructions for download and installing the software on their own computer.
Hardware Requirement: ESRI has recommended hardware requirements. Specification of hardware requirements can be found at (https://desktop.arcgis.com/en/system-requirements/10.7/arcgis-desktop-system-requirements.htm)
- 12.5 pts
This subject focusses on computational tools, processes, and theories for architectural design. The topics covered range from basic scripting for design automation and fabrication to the application of optimisation and machine learning techniques for performative design.
This is not an introductory subject to computational design. It builds on previous knowledge of design thinking and computational design tools, processes, and applications.
- 12.5 pts
The majority of sustainable practices are pursued within the ‘mechanistic’ or eco-efficient orientation of sustainability where measurement and reduction is the primary focus. This subject turns the sole focus of ‘doing less harm’ on its head, and proposes a radical new direction for sustainable development – one that is focused on fostering socio-ecological connection and thrive-ability across communities.
The subject will include a series of lectures exploring ideas of Indigenous knowledge systems, biophilia and biomimicry, ecological design, regenerative development, placemaking and contributive design. Students will take part in a series of seminars and site visits (documented through bi-weekly reflections), and have the opportunity to apply their learnings to an existing project in Melbourne
- 12.5 pts
issues are often complex, controversial, and associated with uncertain knowledge. In this context, this subject explores the ‘knowledge challenges’ faced by environmental professionals, and strategies for addressing these challenges. Particular attention is given to collaboration across disciplines and sectors in generating, integrating, communicating and applying knowledge for environmental decision-making and management. Through case studies of knowledge partnerships, we examine the context, forms and functions of knowledge production and use for environmental policy and management questions. Incorporating perspectives from a broad range of environmental professionals and academics, the subject draws on and develops students’ practical skills for engaging and working with different types of environmental expertise.
The subject focuses on the following main questions:
- How are different forms of environmental knowledge produced, applied and evaluated?
- In collaborating across disciplines and sectors, and with communities and stakeholders, what are the challenges in evaluating, framing, integrating, communicating and managing knowledge?
- What skills and strategies can assist environmental professionals in addressing these challenges?
- 12.5 pts
The Robin Boyd Foundation's Walsh Street design studios explore the public role of an architect. They provide an opportunity for students to be better equipped theoretically and practically and to develop critical thinking around architectural design in an urban context and the role of good design for the community.
The design studios are a five day residential program that involve an intensive design studio culminating in design presentations by participants with critique by the studio tutors, invited guests and project stakeholders. The project requires an architectural design response within a strong urban context on a site of high government and city importance.
Participants will be expected to work in groups, share knowledge and participate in discussions and pin-ups - the emphasis is strongly on participation. Professional Architects from Melbourne will be invited to participate in some of the pin-ups and crits.
Participation in the Robin Boyd Foundation's Walsh Street design studios will encourage students to consider and develop their awareness and skills in:
- the public aspects of architecture - the impact of buildings on streetscapes, neighbourhoods and community;
- communicating architecture - the presentation of ideas and concepts in an articulate and accessible manner;
- the collaborative nature of the production of architecture.
Costs: Standard course fees apply for students current enrolled in a university. Other members of the community can enrol via the Community Access Program (CAP) - only available via CAP in “assessed” mode.
In addition, all students will be required to pay an additional accommodation and meals levy to the Robin Boyd Foundation.
- 12.5 pts
GeoDesign is an emerging field in which the analytical rigor and methodological strategies of geospatial sciences are being fused with the forward thinking, creativity, and graphic capabilities of landscape architecture, urban planning and design. This subject explores geodesign models and applications. Specifically, the subject will introduce geodesign methods and their practical consequences in the reconfiguration of vision, knowledge, professional practice and embodied experience in geodesign.
- 12.5 pts
This subject explores the notion of resilience and its application to the planning, design and management of urban settlements at various scales. The notion of resilience is related to the capacity of systems to adapt to disruptions without them changing to entirely different states, which in the case of human settlements often results in catastrophic consequences for the inhabitants. The subject will explore approaches for enhancing existing settlements, as well as creating new ones, to be better prepared to confront future environmental changes, both predicted and unpredicted, as they occur, with a focus on changes associated with climate change, such as increasing intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, as well as more gradual changes, such as rising sea levels. Students will explore ways of decreasing the vulnerability of urban settlements to these types of risks and while at the same time promoting sustainable development through planning and design interventions.
- 12.5 pts
This subject will introduce students to a range of creative research methods. As distinct from traditional ‘quantitative research’ (classical scientific research method involving systematic collection of verifiable data) and ‘qualitative research’ (in-depth inquiry into human perceptions used in social sciences often involving interviews) ‘creative research’ is a relatively new methodology. In this subject we follow de Bono’s definition that creativity involves lateral moves sideways in contrast to the logical, linear thinking inherent to traditional research methods. We follow the Oxford Dictionary’s definition of ‘research’ meaning investigation or inquiry into things. The focus of our creative research will be uncovering new knowledge that can lead to the generation of imagined futures for designed environments.
Note:Students will be required to prepare installations, models, designed assemblages and drawings, as well as written essays during the course. Additional costs should be minimal. Recycling, reusing and scavenging of materials is positively encouraged. And digital presentations are allowed in lieu of costly printing for most presentations.
- 12.5 pts
This subject provides a coverage of the different systems significant in the design of buildings, which are described in terms of 3 interlocking systems: human, mechanical and natural systems.
- Concepts of environmental comfort: heat, light and sound
- Occupational Health, Safety and Environment
- Post-Occupancy Evaluation
- energy efficiency, alternative energy sources and energy management
- active solar heating and cooling systems;
- electrical, telecommunications, transportation and building management systems;
- air-conditioning system designs; refrigeration, heating and air handling plants;
- façade design, natural ventilation and mixed mode systems;
- displacement ventilation, evaporative cooling and radiant cooling systems;
- special servicing conditions
- acoustical design and noise control
- passive design techniques for buildings
- waste and water treatment techniques, WSUD (water sensitive urban design)
- green infrastructure and ecological services
- integrated greenery – green roofs and vertical greenery
Sustainable building standards like Green Star and NABERS will also be introduced and used in the discourse of the lectures.
- 12.5 pts
Urban Informatics is the study of cities using digital data, information, knowledge and models to understand trends, complexities and inform the formulation and evaluation of sustainable urban futures.
This subject aims to arm the student with the necessary fundamental concepts and practical understanding of the rise of the Smart City and how urban informatics can assist in evidenced-based and collaborative decision-making.
The new science of cities (Batty, 2013) is driven by the deluge of data that enables the mapping of the Smart City and new geographies that can be explored, analysed and synthesized. Planners, geographers, urban designers, landscape architects, spatial scientists and other disciplines interest in the urban settlements require a deeper knowledge of digital data and how to access, interrogate, visualize and synthesis such data to realise the vision of the smart and sustainable city.
This subject utilises the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN) portal as an e-learning resource for exploring what is possible in emerging in the new discipline of urban informatics. Students will also be exposed to a range of other complementary digital environments including open data repositories, urban modelling and visualisation tools and open source geospatial information technologies.
- 12.5 pts
Demographic ageing is creating a shift in how to think and define homes, cities and public spaces. This subject explores feasible and sustainable approaches to keep the older segment of the population physically and socially active. Innovative changes in design can lead to significant advancements in service delivery, transportation models and homes that allow people to age in place. In addition, design principles for dementia and palliative care are a few of the many concepts that help minimise stress on people as they age and their families. Students will explore these topics and develop their own ideas about the way design can optimise the ageing process for comfort, security and overall well-being.
- 12.5 pts
Persistent problems plague the systems of society. If you know how the systems work, can you hack them and transition them to be more sustainable, liveable, resilient? Energy, food, healthcare, transport and even cities as such. All of them complex systems, plagued by problems tied up with the very structures of those systems making them unsustainable, expensive, vulnerable or unfair.
Hacking society means intervening based on analysis, using your knowledge of the systems of society to overcome persistent problems. A good hack changes systems and contributes to transitions.
This is a highly interdisciplinary subject. You will learn concepts and methods from social science, evolutionary theory, analytic philosophy and other fields notably sustainability transitions research. No background or prior knowledge in any of these is required though and students from all disciplines are invited.
So what will you be hacking? You will design an intervention to address a real-life persistent problem. You will have to show that your hack will make a difference using the concepts and methods from the lectures, complemented by your own research.
- 25 pts
Travelling studios are working laboratories for design thought and production, and involve the exploration of complex, real-life issues. They expose students to unfamiliar cultures, places and people, and stimulate their ability to think creatively and solve problems. These studios aim to bring together students from architecture, urban design, landscape and planning streams and encourage an interdisciplinary focus. Pre-trip briefings or seminars will precede the travel component of the studio. The studio will incur travel costs, in addition to tuition fees. Faculty subsidies will, however, be available.
SPECIFIC INFORMATION ABOUT TRAVELLING STUDIO (MYSURU, INDIA)
Following its independence in 1947, from the 1950s to 70s India underwent a period of rapid change with the simultaneous reclamation of Indian national identity and the striving for inclusion in the western economically developed world. These forces coalesced in the architecture at the time, which simultaneously sought internationally modern characteristics but with reverence to the distinct Indian climate, cultural modes of occupation and available materials and technologies. With India’s unique structural conditions bound to its demographic, economic and cultural characteristics a challenge is presented to built environment design in formulating response strategies to India’s rapid expansion.
This travelling studio seeks to enquire how designers may offer a contribution in low-income, rapidly urbanising environments. It offers students the opportunity to learn, about India’s modernist residential typologies and the craft/trade-based systems and technologies that were adapted or discarded within a period of architectural transition. The purpose of the studio is to undertake research into a selection of crafts, trades, materials and technologies that supported India’s modernist housing; and to survey, analyse and design/document these to identify if they have a role to play in the contemporary context. It also offers the opportunity to investigate what happened to that industry and whether it is still economically, socially and environmentally possible to design and build utilising local craft/trade-based systems today. A key feature is to recognise the unique context under which buildings are made and the nature of the labour that carries out the task of bringing the design idea into a physical presence. The studio asks students if it is possible to consider the nature of this relationship and if designers have a role to play in facilitating social/technical opportunity and how this opportunity may be integrated into design.
Return Flights: $1500
Accommodation: $750 (13 nights, up to $55 per night)
Local Travel: $150
Living expenses (meals and incidentals): $275 (11 days, up to $25 per day)
Note: Prices listed are subject to change. Participating students will receive a one-off subsidy of $800 from the Faculty utilised towards student’s accommodation costs and may be eligible to receive a one off payment of up to $1,000 from Melbourne Global Mobility (conditions apply).
This travelling studio can count as credit towards your course in one of the categories listed below:
- Master of Architecture: ABPL90142 (Master of Architecture Studio C), ABPL90143 (Master of Architecture Studio D), ABPL90115 (Master of Architecture Studio E) or Architecture specialisation elective or multidisciplinary elective
- Master of Construction: multidisciplinary elective
- Master of Landscape Architecture: Landscape Architecture specialisation elective, or multidisciplinary elective
- Master of Urban Design: Urban Design specialisation elective
- Master of Urban Planning: multidisciplinary elective
For further information please check the following link: https://edsc.unimelb.edu.au/graduate/subject-options/travelling-studios
- 25 pts
Travelling studios are working laboratories for design thought and production and involve the exploration of complex, real-life practical issues. They expose students to unfamiliar cultures, places and people, and stimulate their ability to think creatively and solve problems. At the same time, it serves as a platform to sharpen student's skills to lead and/or work in a team setting.
These studios aim to bring together graduate students from architecture, urban design, landscape and urban planning streams and encourage an interdisciplinary focus.
Pre-trip briefings or seminars will precede the travel component of the studio. The studio will incur travel costs, in addition to tuition fees. Faculty subsidies will, however, be available.
Specific information about Travelling Studio (Indonesia)
This studio facilitates synergies between research, teaching and practice in the fields of architecture, urban design and landscape architecture. It is built on an interdisciplinary teaching and learning approaches, bringing together the staff and students of the Melbourne School of Design, Bandung Institute of Technology (Indonesia), and the University of Stuttgart’s Faculty of Architecture and Planning (Germany), three academic institutions with established expertise on the topic of informal urbanism. The three institutions’ collective international engagements will expose students to cross-cultural and global discourses on the topic and their translations in design engagement. This exposure will assist our students in understanding and responding to informal urbanism as a global phenomenon.
In the studio students will undertake two interrelated activities:
- firstly, a survey and analysis of key contested urban riverscapes in three Indonesian cities which have showcased contrasting developments in dealing with informal urban formations, ranging from forced eviction, relocation/resettlement, to the more inclusive in-situ upgrading;
- secondly, a design project focusing on one of these locations.
In the survey stage, students will critically observe and map contrasting urban morphologies and conditions that are situated along the urban riverscapes of the city of Jakarta, Bandung and Yogyakarta where formal and informal urban developments have long co-existed. The three cities are located in Java, the most urbanized island in the world and one with a long and rich cultural history. The design project will focus on Bandung, the provincial capital of West Java where intensifying urban renewal and gentrification have gained momentum in recent years. These have situated riverside informal settlements, public green open space, tourist development, and high density upper middle-class housing developments as seemingly competing urban ingredients.
The studio will then address the question How can we envision the in-between city? The design project will explore how a more inclusive urbanism can be created or initiated through considered spatial and constructed configurations in selected sites along the contested Cikapundung riverscape, a prominent green urban corridor lined with dense informal settlements, by integrating architectural, urban design and landscape architecture interventions.
Anticipated ranges and scales of design intervention:
- Mixed use building (residential and appropriate commercial program);
- Civic building (library/market/community centre/educational facility);
- Neighbourhood activations (green and communal open space infrastructure);
- Network of public open space and urban amenity.
All design interventions will be considered, developed, and refined as a material, social, and environmental system.
The studio attracts students who are interested in urban architectural and landscape design, urban design thinking, Asian urbanism, urban informality and socio-cultural sustainability. Expertise on these aspects is not mandatory but desired. Basic information and communication of principles related to such fields will be covered in the pre-fieldwork component of the studio.
Domestic Transport $100
Living expenses (meals and incidentals): $700
Note: Students may be eligible to receive a one off payment of up to $1000 from Melbourne Global Mobility (conditions apply) and $800 from the Faculty - utilised towards student’s accommodation costs. Prices listed are subject to change.
This travelling studio can count as credit towards your course in one of the categories listed below
- Master of Architecture: ABPL90142 (Master of Architecture Studio C), ABPL90143 (Master of Architecture Studio D), ABPL90115 (Master of Architecture Studio E) or Architecture elective or multidisciplinary elective
- Master of Landscape Architecture: ABPL90072 (Landscape Studio 5: Sustainable Urbanism), or Landscape Architecture elective, or multidisciplinary elective
- Master of Urban Design: Elective
- Master of Urban Planning: multidisciplinary elective
For further information about this studio: http://edsc.unimelb.edu.au/graduate/subject-options/travelling-studios
- 12.5 pts
A vocational placement accompanied by academic objectives that is supervised by a Melbourne School of Design staff member. The vocational placement will enable the student to gain applied experience and reflect on the experience, both theoretically and in an applied manner.
This subject is available to students who have completed at least 100 points of study within a Melbourne School of Design coursework masters (with the exception of Master of Architecture students).
Students are responsible for identifying a suitable work placement prior to enrolment. Send the details, including written approval from their course coordinator to firstname.lastname@example.org at least two weeks before the start of semester.
Before enrolment students are required to complete all the steps found at https://edsc.unimelb.edu.au/graduate/subject-options/internships-vocational-placements. This should be completed at least 2 weeks before the start of semester.
- 12.5 pts
The 8 80 Cities concept suggests that cities designed for the needs of 8 and 80 year olds work for all ages. In addition, communities benefit from facilities that are located, configured and shared in symbiotic ways.
In this intensive students will interact with an inner-city council and other professionals to imagine an age friendly future where design for diversity is embedded into every neighbourhood.
The studio is open to students of architecture, urban design, landscape architecture and planning, who will work together to address challenges which no one discipline can easily answer:
- How do we decide the optimal density and mix of development for a precinct?
- Can design help to build community and enable ageing in place?
This intensive explores the benefits of diversity – mixed uses, demographics, typologies, scales, characters, ownership, development processes and design teams. At its heart is the opportunity to engage with real inner-city situations.
The format in the first fortnight will typically consist of tutorials and presentations from expert practitioners each morning followed by independent and group work each afternoon. There will then be a week to finalise propositions and present the work.
The first week will be research-focused, with students working in multidisciplinary groups to generate insightful analyses. Each student will then develop individual propositions specific to his or her discipline.
- 12.5 pts
The subject covers the essential science needed to understand the impacts of urbanisation on the environment, describes environmental policy and governance from the global to the local levels, and then provides case studies of environmental planning issues and responses. Topics such as urban water management, urban greening and urban biodiversity are presented and discussed in an integrated manner addressing policy, planning and implementation.
- 12.5 pts
This subject explores the principles of ecological systems. It will introduce basic ecological concepts and fundamental ecological systems, and their applications in landscape design. It will include plants and biomes, soils and water, spatial geometries, emergence, resilience, and the ecological performance of designs in relation to design speculations.
- 12.5 pts
Green infrastructure is the network of natural and designed vegetation elements within our cities and towns, in both public and private domains. Green infrastructure includes traditional green elements such as urban parks, gardens and trees, as well as newer green roofs, green walls and rain garden technologies. Green infrastructure provides a number of significant economic, social and environmental benefits and is an effective means of helping to adapt our buildings, communities and cities to future climate change conditions. In this subject students will gain insights into aspects of planning, design and management of green-infrastructure . The use of green infrastructure as ‘living architecture’ and the design considerations involved will be discussed. At the building scale, this will include an understanding of the improved energy efficiencies provided by green infrastructure and their role in building star energy rating systems. At the neighbourhood and landscape scale, the role and function of different green infrastructure technologies and systems will be discussed, including roles in ameliorating urban climates, improving urban water retention, use and quality providing more liveable urban communities for people and wildlife.
- 12.5 pts
This subject examines the politics of the global food system, and will focus on the policies, structures, power relations and political debates surrounding the production, distribution and consumption of food. The impacts of food production and consumption on food security, health, the environment, animal welfare, and the livelihoods of producers, will be critically explored. Key theoretical frameworks and concepts for understanding the dominant paradigms and dynamics of the food system will be discussed and evaluated. Integrated policies and strategies for creating more sustainable and equitable food systems, and alternative paradigms and practices of production, distribution and consumption, will also be critically examined. This subject will primarily draw on theories and methodologies from the sociology and politics of food and agriculture, food policy, and the political economy and political ecology of food.
The topics and debates covered include:
- Food policy and governance at the global, national and local levels
- Food security, food sovereignty and the Global Food Crisis
- Global trading relations, free trade and fair trade
- Environmental impacts and sustainable forms of food production and consumption
- Animal production, factory farms and animal welfare
- Supermarkets and alternative retailing and distribution networks
- Agricultural paradigms and technologies: chemical-industrial agriculture, genetically modified foods, organic agriculture and agroecology
- Corporate concentration within and across sectors of the food system
- Competition for food and land: animal feed, biofuels and land-grabbing
- Food processing, food marketing, dietary advice and health
- Local and urban food production and planning
- Alternative paradigms and networks of food production, distribution and consumption
- 12.5 pts
This subject investigates the concept of the global city region as a source of issues that require new approaches by planning decision-makers. It does so by establishing the way that global city regions can be identified, how they are shaped by economic and social forces, and in turn how their planning agenda requires new and innovative ideas and approaches.
The subject draws upon international experience in the development of the concept and in the illustration of the outcomes, but at critical stages the subject will refer to Australian examples. Successful learning in the subject will involve an effort to get to know and understand the character and planning issues confronting metropolitan areas that experience global city development forces and students are encouraged to read widely about cities, drawing where possible on web pages of planning agencies to capture recent policy debate.
- 12.5 pts
Urbanization can be a generative force of our time. For the first time in human history, more people live in cities and towns than in rural areas. Around 56 percent of the world’s population is urbanized (2017 figures) and the United Nations predicts that between now and 2050, an additional 2.5 billion people will be born in or move to cities. This opens new and exciting opportunities for social mobility and economic productivity. Citizens and visitors alike in urban areas now have greater access to education, health, employment and transport. However, while cities and towns are recognized as engines of national economic growth and centres of innovation, poorly planned and mismanaged urbanization can further reinforce the already present wicked challenges of poverty, informality, affordable housing, climate change, and inequity.
For instance, it is estimated that one in every seven people (i.e. more than 1 billion people) live in slums and unplanned settlements around the world - lacking affordable and secure housing and basic services such as clean water supply and sanitation. The UN estimates that 227 million people moved out of slum conditions from 2000-2010 yet the number of people living in slums continues to grow. It is projected that by 2030 two billion persons will live in slums.
There is a widening participation of actors and agencies - governments, the private sector, civil society and poor communities themselves becoming crucial players in improving and upgrading existing settlements. Moreover, there is an increasing number of initiatives across sectors to better plan for and accommodate the urban poor’s right to the city, to create better cities for all.
This subject has four underlying themes, namely:
- To explain the process of urbanization, the importance of housing, and policies that give rise to slum formation and the persistence of slums.
- To make use of practice-oriented research, employs case studies from around the globe to explore government-led, community-led, and community/local government partnership approaches to slum upgrading and the delivery of land and provision of basic services in the context of urban governance.
- To examine cross-cutting topics that underwrite inclusive and sustainable, well-managed cities, including regulatory frameworks, security of tenure, housing finance, land use and transport interaction and linkages, and affordable house designs.
- Analyse emerging ‘best-practice’ over the years and the roles of institutions in influencing and/or formulating national urbanization, housing and slum upgrading policies.
- 12.5 pts
Many Asia-Pacific cities have undergone rapid urban development and change as they have become integrated into the global economy. The character of that integration has changed over time; at the same time social and political aspirations have been expressed in new demands for services and housing. This course will explore the urban planning implications of these changes in a city. It begins with a review of the global and local forces that have generated change in Asia-Pacific cities. This section will isolate key features for further investigation. These selected features will then be explored in ten days in the selected Pacific Asian city through a series of lectures, field inspections and field work. A third part of the course, involving seminar discussion, will be followed by report writing on planning issues in the selected city.
Approximates costs to students
This subject has international fieldwork component. Students will be required to cover travel (airfare), accommodation and food costs, estimated at $3500 per person.
- 12.5 pts
City leadership is at the heart of some of today’s major global challenges. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #11 aims to “make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” Cities are at the heart of global challenges, from climate change to health, inequality and economic development, and have become active participants in proposing solutions to address these.
This subject focuses city leadership, the institutions and trends that underpin it, and a set of strategic skills needed to deliver effective urban governance in the wake of these international challenges. The business of managing ‘who gets what, when and how’ in cities is becoming an increasingly complex and international job that goes beyond the purview of locally-oriented urban managers. Instead, it is intertwined with the agendas and influence of private sector, academia and community groups. The politics and governance of cities is changing the world over: from a leadership and brokering role played by private actors, the emergence of entrepreneurial and global cities, to different dynamics in emerging regions in the South, and the importance of international agendas and geopolitics in influencing the future of cities. The course offers students a space where to engage with these changes, learn practical leadership skills, and do so in collaboration with a ‘resident’ international organisation (e.g. a UN agency) collaborating with University lecturers in the delivery of the course content.
City Leadership stimulates students to engage with these themes by offering practical, hands-on, tool for ‘new’ urban management for students pursuing both public and private sector careers. It puts an emphasis on responsibility and collective leadership as key skills for today’s urban practitioners, whilst encouraging sound academic research in urban governance. The course is designed to build capacity with students to take up leadership as a ‘strategic’ activity in urban governance with an explicit international focus to support the development of a globally oriented practice of city leadership.
- 12.5 pts
This subject will introduce students to the range of perspectives on urban planning systems and cultures offered by different disciplines. In a first half, political science, geography, history, business and urban planning disciplinary approaches to the aims and methods of comparison of urban planning systems will be examined. In the second half of the subject, a series of case studies of the main features and legal basis of different national planning systems and cultures of particular nations will be presented depending on staff availability and expertise. These national case studies are intended to illustrate the contrasts that exist in planning systems and cultures across the global north and south. The subject is intended as the basis from which to explore the other subjects available in this specialization.
- 12.5 pts
Cities are responsible for more than 70% of energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions. The operation of buildings alone represents around 40% of energy use in many developed economies. Reducing energy use and transitioning towards zero greenhouse emissions in the built environment is therefore critical to sustain the Earth’s ecosystems and the general environmental equilibrium of the planet. This is further recognised by the UN sustainability goals, namely Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities. With a growing world population, most of which going to live in cities, addressing this current and upcoming challenge is paramount.
The aim of this subject is to equip students with the skills and knowledge required to analyse, quantify, visualise and improve the energy performance of buildings, neighbourhoods and cities, at different scales of the built environment, towards zero greenhouse gas emissions.
This subject is designed to capitalise on the multi-disciplinary nature of participants. As such, it uses active discussions, interactive problem solving, peer review and group work, among other teaching and learning activities. In addition, the major assessment task is designed to allow for a significant amount of flexibility as you will be able to determine the focus of your own assignment. You will also be able to vote to determine subject content towards the end of the semester.
- 12.5 pts
This subject explores different understandings and expressions of social exclusion and inclusion in the city; what these contested concepts mean for urban planning; and how professional practice can respond to fashion inclusive cities. Case studies, working policy and theoretical perspectives are used to highlight key features of planning for inclusive cities, including for specific population groups like youth, aboriginals, the disabled, older persons, refugees and women. Students will examine the lived experience of disadvantage in the city, analyse urban issues through different theoretical lenses and study relevant urban policy and project responses to promote inclusive cities.
- 12.5 pts
In recent years, there has been a greatly increased interest in the impacts of the built environment on health and wellbeing. At present, spatial inequalities in regards to access to jobs, affordable housing, social services, and healthy food results in a greater burden of disease for particular social groups and in particular geographic areas. Many of the health problems in cities today, including obesity, violence, and depression, are linked to poor residential and recreational environments, lack of access to jobs and social services, and low social cohesion. Urban decision-makers like planners and designers influence physical, social, natural, cultural, and economic environments. They therefore have a key role in ‘planning health in’, rather than ‘planning health out’, of communities.
This subject will provide a local and international background into current policies and practices related to pursuing health and well-being objectives as a central part of urban planning work. It will cover: the influence of planning over key health determinants, international good practice, the current legislative framework, and Health Impact Assessment. A strong skills focus will ensure that planners, designers and other professionals are able to assess existing sites, plans, and policies from a health perspective.
- 12.5 pts
This subject explores the histories not only of particular cities but also more broadly the historical development of spatial and social features of cities. Elements developed over time in both Australian and international urban areas are countenanced with a view to understanding how these have worked and might continue to work – through adaptation, reinvigoration, or refinement – in the urban context. The central question of the appeal and value of the city in the past and present is at the forefront. Understanding of city culture and the quality of the urban fabric over time is emphasised.
50% of the assessment of this course comes from a creative work produced individually by students which reflects on, and engages with, themes explored in the course: cities, creativity, society, history, urbanity, and culture.
Please note that this subject is only available to students admitted into a course at the Melbourne School of Design.
- 12.5 pts
This subject develops the skills to understand and assess the social impacts of development, including international development projects, resource management, and proposed infrastructure or new policies. We do this in two ways: by looking at how to assess the impacts of proposed projects, and through evaluation techniques for existing developments or projects. In each case we develop practical skills and interdisciplinary techniques to appraise and evaluate impacts. These techniques draw from anthropology, development studies, and the policy sciences, and move beyond simple summative assessments and financial accounting. We consider the social and environmental contexts in which any form of appraisal is embedded, and the capacities of different actors (from the state to NGOs and community groups) to avert or mitigate negative impacts through learning, negotiation, and citizen participation. Examples, some presented by guest speakers, are drawn from Australia, Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia. At the completion of the subject students will have developed the conceptual skills to understand the impacts of development; be familiar with the range of methodologies and techniques used in impact assessment; understand development evaluation; and will be able to apply this in critical evaluation of the impact of projects and programmes.
- 12.5 pts
The subject introduces key concepts of Social Policy designed to provide a foundation for future inquiry. Students will be introduced to key historical concepts and theories that are foundational to the understanding of a social contract to provide social policy to citizens. The course then identifies cross-national approaches to social policy and the gaps in theoretical understandings of social policy. Finally, students are introduced to innovative approaches to social policy with many hands-on activities. The course provides a broad overview of the past, present and future of Social Policy.
- 25 pts
This studio-based subject is a capstone option for the completion of the Master of Urban Planning. It builds on the knowledge attained by students in their first year and addresses practical problems, which will vary among studios. Fieldwork locations, themes and interdisciplinary elements may change each semester to respond to emerging practical challenges and opportunities. Individual self-guided work will be complemented by a small amount of group work for the development of team work and leadership skills. Studio options for each semester are presented at https://edsc.unimelb.edu.au/graduate/subject-options/msd-studios