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Urban Planning & Resilience - MA


Our Urban Planning & Resilience MA gives you the academic and professional core knowledge, understanding, skills and experience required to practice professionally as an urban planner and help cities address and find solutions for 21st-century challenges.



The programme provides a challenging, exciting and dynamic learning experience. Building on your existing experiences and background knowledge, the MA draws heavily on the Kent School of Architecture and Planning’s work in the University’s European campuses and study centres to develop your research and analytical capabilities.

During your studies, you develop an understanding of the planning profession with reference to how people and places interact. You take into account the unique needs and characteristics of different places and people through working with city teams in Canterbury and beyond.

You develop a range of problem solving, interpersonal and teamwork skills across the modules which complement the theory and enhance its application in practice. We develop your ability to work effectively within business, social and neighbourhood forums.

About Kent School of Architecture and Planning

Research at Kent School of Architecture and Planning achieves excellence in both the history and theory of architecture and in sustainable urban, peri-urban and environmental design. School staff have design expertise and specialist knowledge; they are at the forefront of current architectural issues, including sustainability, technology, professional practice and research. Our staff are active at academic and professional conferences, both nationally and internationally, and appear and publish in local and national media. The School promotes innovative and interdisciplinary research, emphasising sustainable design.

Much of the project work involved in the Kent School of Architecture and Planning is located on 'live' sites in the local region, using real clients and engaging challenging issues. Students in all stages of the school have been introduced to real urban and architectural design challenges in Lille, Margate, Folkestone, Dover, Rye, Chatham and, of course, Canterbury. Much of this work involves liaising with external bodies, such as architects, planners, council and development groups.

National ratings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Architecture and Planning was ranked 8th for research intensity and 8th for research output in the UK.

An impressive 100% of our research-active staff submitted to the REF and 88% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of research of international quality.

Course structure


The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

Compulsory modules currently include Credits

This module develops students' understanding of changing planning legislation used to guide development and land use, to appreciate how and why these have changed over time, to critically reflect upon current spatial planning mechanisms and to recognise the linkages between other public policies and spatial policies. The module also covers planning law, the relationship between decision making and the broader facilitation of development outcomes. Students will become familiar with the methods and mechanisms used for implementing spatial planning policy, the principles underpinning them, and the role of different stakeholders in the implementation process, and how individual rights and community interests are reconciled. Seminar and workshop sessions will apply the skills and knowledge gained through lectures.

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The module aims to develop the students' overall understanding of alternative views in planning and resilience theories. Students will generate responses to spatial planning and global challenges grounded in theory. The module contributes to the students’ lifelong appreciation of how the core values of urban planning and urban resilience expressed in theory may be applied in changing circumstances, particularly as cities suffer more and more shocks and stresses as a result of climate change and global crises.

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This module is intended to contribute to the student's understanding of how the core values of urban planning and resilience apply in different cities and in different global contexts. Students will explore through projects, readings and a European field visit how the global interest in resilience extends beyond cities to include ecology, international development, health, urban forestry, food security, community planning, and global humanitarian crises. This will allow students to understand the origins of resilience and its emergence as an urban concept allowing urban practitioners to manage a rapidly changing and uncertain urban context. Through a multiple case study approach, this module explores how resilience has become part of cities’ formal planning practice in multiple cities around the world.

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Optional modules may include Credits

This Module project explores broad scale issues of site and context, planning and place making. Students become familiar with relevant planning documents and learn to work as part of a team in developing design strategies and making planning proposals. Precedent studies play an important role in shaping strategic and tactical development. Communication skills are enhanced through classes including computing, and project presentations.

Urban Landscape is adapted from year to year to engage with a range of issues concerning urban landscapes and architecture and may explore topical sites within the region.

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Students are introduced to the intellectual conditions under which the research in architecture and cities (urban design) is undertaken. They are given guidance that equips them with skills to formulate their dissertation and find the way around the increasingly diverse fields of knowledge. The module enhances the ability to formulate questions, communicate arguments and results. Students will be encouraged to exercise critical attitude and formulate new proposals. Students gain experience both by presenting their own research and in providing constructive criticism on the work of their peers. The sessions confer how to present arguments, use visual resources, think through and reflect, conduct interviews and improve presentation skills.

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This module introduces the students to the research in architectural history and to the study of conservation philosophy that underpins past and present attitudes to architectural heritage.

The introductory lectures will provide an opportunity to investigate the development of architectural form from Antiquity to the 20th century, focusing on the European traditions. They will also introduce the students to the various approaches to the research and documentation of historic buildings. Cultivating a multifaceted understanding of architectural heritage while offering access to the relevant research methodologies, the module provides the expertise necessary to evaluate historic buildings and to decide what should and could be conserved and why. As well as an introduction to architectural history, lectures and seminars will investigate the field of conservation philosophy. This part of the module will examine the evolution of the attitudes to architectural heritage from the 19th to the 21st century. Special emphasis will be put on the theoretical problems of maintenance, restoration, and the way in which 20th-century international charters addressed these problems. Examining a wide range of case-studies, the module will also investigate various theoretical approaches to the adaptation of new buildings to the historic environment.

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Compulsory modules currently include Credits

Students develop their communication and research skills to a high professional standard in an academic or industrial setting. Working with an assigned tutor, students elect to produce a theoretical, interdisciplinary or practice-based written dissertation or project in a topic related to the field of study and as directed by the programme leader. Students develop a research proposal, incorporating a methodology and schedule for the work. Students are expected to develop their ability to gather and synthesize data, as well as to analyse it in a coherent and convincing manner. In addition, they are expected to situate their own investigation in the broader context of their chosen discipline. Interdisciplinary investigations that further inform thinking are encouraged.

The project provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their capacity to work at Level 7 as independent researchers in their chosen area of specialism through a substantial piece of written work and/or research project, and will include necessary visual material and, where appropriate, new project proposals.

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Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You will:

  • critically review and evaluate the context, procedures and the practices by which town planning systems in the UK, Europe and globally seek to control, direct and harness the forces that impact upon the built and natural environment.
  • evaluate the social, economic, environmental and political context for the planning and delivery of resilient infrastructure.
  • define and characterise projects that build urban resilience and recognise the cross-cutting city department goals they seek to satisfy, such as contributing to the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change and the making of place, including designing for resilience.
  • demonstrate a comprehensive and critical understanding of the legislation and financial instruments that surround the delivery of projects.
  • outline the importance of risk mitigation in planning and the need to build capacity for mitigating the impacts of major crises and natural disasters.
  • identify the groups and organisations that have a role in the planning, design, appraisal and delivery of projects that help cities build urban resilience.

Intellectual skills

You gain the ability to:

  • analyse, evaluate, interpret and integrate data from a variety of sources.
  • analyse arguments logically, identifying any flaws in reasoning, and contrasting the merits of different arguments.
  • demonstrate and exercise independent thinking.
  • engage in theoretical, practical and ethical debates associated with the planning, design, appraisal and delivery of urban resilience projects. Ability to construct arguments capable of withstanding rigorous intellectual, legal and practical challenge.

Subject-specific skills

You gain the following subject-specific skills:

  • ability to combine, interpret and critically review different types of evidence and understand the role that this evidence plays in developing effective planning policy and development proposals.
  • ability to communicate and present complex material effectively in written, visual and oral forms to specialist and non-specialist audience.
  • ability to review literature in the context of its practical application.
  • ability to recognise the importance of working in an interdisciplinary context and the roles, responsibilities and challenges that other professional groups and stakeholders are likely to encounter. Ability to recognise the role of personal skills and competencies in the delivery of well-planned and designed projects, such as negotiation, mediation, advocacy, leadership and project management, in addition to the traditional and fundamental skills such as design, site planning, massing, scale, circulation, typology & morphology.

Transferable skills

You gain the following transferable skills:

  • ability to recognise the value of working effectively as a member of a team. 
  • ability to plan and effectively manage the use of time, including the management of learning using a range of resources.
  • ability to produce written and graphic work to a high visual standard via the most appropriate tools and applications.
  • ability to make effective presentations of work including through digital media.

Study support

Postgraduate resources

The School of Architecture and Planning studios include a dedicated computing suite with a range of environmental construction software, and a new digital crit studio. There is a fully equipped architectural model-making workshop for constructing models and large-scale prototypes.

Professional links

The School has excellent contacts with businesses and culture in the local area, including regional organisations such as the Kent Architecture Centre, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Kent County Council and Kent Design Initiative. The Sustainable Communities Plan is particularly strong in south-east England, making the region the ideal place in which to debate innovative solutions to architectural issues.

Kent also has excellent links with schools of architecture in Lille, Bruges, Rome, Bauhaus-Dessau, Beijing and, in the USA, Virginia and California.

Academic study is complemented by a mentoring scheme organised in collaboration with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and involving students in events with local practices.

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: Architectural Research QuarterlyThe Architectural ReviewBuilding and EnvironmentThe Journal of Architecture; and The World of Interiors.

Global Skills Award

All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.  

Entry requirements

A 2.1 or higher honours degree in architecture, planning or related discipline but applicants with backgrounds in psychology, international relations, archaeology, history and geography are also welcome to apply.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account. 

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country.  Please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Need help with English?

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

Staff research interests

Professor Samer Bagaeen: Professor of Planning

Samer is a highly networked polyglot (English, Arabic, Spanish & Italian), urban practitioner, city diplomat and educator with a strong self-starting attitude and an international experience working alongside ministers, mayors and elected officials, practitioners and the broader community helping equip forward-thinking communities and leaders with the tools to welcome growth, manage projects, strengthen infrastructure, and forward plan for precovery.

Research interests include Urban & climate resilience, City diplomacy and wider engagement, Urban gating, Brownfield regeneration, Community & neighbourhood planning.

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The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

Urban Planning and Resilience - MA at Canterbury:
UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £7500 £15700
Part-time £3750 £7850

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 


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