Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years (1.8.2018-31.7.2020), which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


A student who has passed the course will be able to:

  • understand broader philosophical and societal discourses that are related to the societal role and tasks assigned to planning,
  • understand the interplay of planning and other major societal forces (e.g. other sectors of public governance, (global) markets, NGOs),
  • understand possibilities and limitations of planning to make a difference in society
  • elaborate various ethical implications related to choices made in planning,
  • associate and evaluate critically various theoretical responses to different types of planning problems,
  • engage reflectively in discourses concerning contemporary planning challenges.

Credits: 5

Schedule: 08.09.2020 - 08.12.2020

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022): Hanna Mattila, Hanna Mattila

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Vesa Kanninen

Contact information for the course (valid 20.08.2020-21.12.2112):

Contact Vesa Kanninen (lecturer) via e-mail, or by phone +358 50 512 4632 during office hours, tue to thu)

THIS COURSE WILL BE ONLINE all through the autumn!

CEFR level (applies in this implementation):

Language of instruction and studies (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022):

Teaching language: English

Languages of study attainment: Finnish, Swedish, English


  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Modern planning theory covering both procedural and substantive planning theories.
    The origins of planning theoretical thought. 
    The contemporary challenges for and in planning (e.g. globalization and urbanization, urban complexities and inequalities, climate change and forms of sustainability, civil society transformation, managerialism and politics).
    The changing and multiple roles of the planner.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    The course consists of lectures/contact teaching, independent work, and working in small groups. Evaluation is based on learning outcomes and the students are assessed based on a) their written works (learning diaries, essays) and b) participation in the discussions during the contact teaching sessions.

  • Applies in this implementation:

    There will be 8 contact teaching sessions (see below) that take place in Zoom on Tuesdays basically every other week (however, the first two weeks are both contact teaching weeks). The themes you can also see below. During the in-between weeks, we will engage in off-line chat about the theme we are reading and writing about. The "rules" for the chats will be available at the beginning of the course.

    Presence at the contact sessions is controlled. There will be individual bi-weekly reading and writing assignments and participating in the bi-weekly chat, both of which will be graded as a whole. The chats will be moderated by student groups that will be formed after the first lecture. The groups are responsible for introducing the chat, asking questions,making arguments, and providing comments to others' arguments. This activity will be evaluated both individually and as a group effort. A brief learning diary will be due at the end of the course.

    There is time for discussion also during the contact teaching sessions. Activity in these discussions will also contribute to your grade.  

    DON'T BE UPSET ABOUT ALL THIS "EVALUATION". It is just a structure to get you the grade you deserve. The content is more important.

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    26 h lectures, 110 h independent work and working in small groups

  • Applies in this implementation:

    There is in principle a total of 26 hours of potential contact teaching online. However, this autumn, some of the lectures will be at least partially recorded for self-study, which will slightly alter the contact teaching hours. Contact teaching sessions comprise 16 hours, which means there is a 10-hour buffer for self-study of the lectures. If deemed necessary, some of the in-between week time slots can be utilized for informal discussion and advice sessions. This will be discussed in the opening session.


Study Material
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Course literature to be announced in the first lecture.

  • Applies in this implementation:

    Course materials will be uploaded to MyCourses before the first lecture.

Substitutes for Courses
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Maa-78.3210 Maankäytön suunnittelun teoria ja historia P

SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    5 Gender Equality

    11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

    16 Peace and Justice Strong Institutions


Details on the schedule
  • Applies in this implementation:

    The course contact teachingdates are below. Teaching session are on Tuesdays, 14-16, as follows (bolded weeks):

    September 8:history of planning thought and theory

    September 15:modern planning theories 1: rational planning and its critique

    (Week of September 22: off-line chat discussion)

    September 29: modern planning theories 2: communicative planning and its critique

    (Week of October 6: off-line chat discussion)

    October 13:modern planning theories 3: critical and radical planning ideas

    (Week of October 20: off-line chat discussion)

    October 27: specific themes 1: integration of land use and transport planning

    (Week of November 3: off-line chat discussion)

    November 10: specific themes 2: strategic planning

    (Week of November 17: off-line chat discussion) 

    November 24: specific themes 3: participation, justice, equity and gender

    (Week of December 1: off-line chat discussion)

    December 8: final seminar


Registration and further information