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Human Geography and Planning Theory, 15 Credits

Swedish name: Kulturgeografi och planeringsteori

This syllabus is valid: 2022-07-11 and until further notice

Course code: 2KG301

Credit points: 15

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Human Geography: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: VG Pass with distinction, G Pass, U Fail

Responsible department: Department of Geography

Revised by: Head of Department of Geography and Economic History, 2022-07-11


The course introduces basic concepts and theories in human geography, spatial planning, and the application of these concepts and theories. The course focuses on the legacies of spatial planning, future planning, and challenges relating to legitimacy and equality. During the course, special focus will be paid to sustainability and sustainable development in relation to different planning ideas and strategies.

Expected learning outcomes

After completing the course, the student is expected to:
Knowledge and understanding:
1. Explain basic concepts and theories in spatial planning and human geography
2. Describe the development and transformation of planning theory
3. Explain the basic ideas around the concepts of sustainability, sustainable development, and of Agenda 2030.
4. Understand concepts of justice, fairness, and responsibility as part of the overarching concept of sustainability
Skills and Abilities:
5. Apply planning theories to current societal problems, such as segregation, gentrification, climate change and homelessness
6. Analyze sustainable development from the point of departure of different planning ideas and strategies
7. Construct planning visions that draw upon sustainability values and principles
8. Reflect on, and carry out research for ethical considerations
9. Ability to discuss and critically review scientific texts both orally and in writing
10. Ability to follow instructions, and conduct and orally and in writing present assignments within given time frames
Judgement and Approach:
11. Problematize the planning process relating to ideas of sustainability and sustainable development
12. Critically review planning strategies and analyze their spatial consequences for vulnerable groups and places
13. Critically relate to the planner role and planning processes in different geographical contexts
14. Independently work on evaluation of planning projects

Required Knowledge

Univ: 120 higher education credits, of which at least 60 higher education credits in one main area.
In addition, English B / 6 is required from the upper secondary school.

Form of instruction

Teaching arrangement
The course is based on lectures, seminars and group exercises. Some of the group exercises are more practical in nature, while others are more theoretical. Relevant gender perspectives are integrated into all themes. All teaching on the course is in English.

Examination modes

The course is examined through the following exams:
- a written examination (on-campus exam)
- an individual written assignment
- a work and presentation that is carried out in groups
- four literature seminars
- two workshops
The written examination is assessed from 0-10 points, the individual written assignment is assessed from 0-20 points (term-paper). The group assignment is assessed from 0-5 points. Literature seminars are assessed either Pass or Fail. The maximum for the course is 30 points. Assignments submitted after the deadline cannot achieve more than 70 percent of the maximum points for the assignment. If additional work is required to pass an assignment, the revised assignment must be submitted within 10 working days from announcement of points by the teacher. Grades on the course are only given once all exams are passed. The grading scale for the course is Pass with distinction (VG), Pass (G) or Fail (U). To receive Pass with distinction (VG) for the whole course, the student must have at least 75 percent of the maximum points on the written examination, individual written assignment and the group assignment and received Pass (G) on each literature seminar and workshop. To receive the grade Pass (G) for the whole course, the student must have at least 50 percent of the maximum points on the written exam, the individual written assignment and on the group assignment and received Pass (G) on each literature seminar and workshop.
If special reasons exist, the examiner have the right to decide for another examination form. For students in need of special pedagogical support due to disabilities, individual adaptation of examination forms should always be considered based on the student's needs.  The examination form is adjusted within the framework of the course syllabus' intended learning outcomes. The course coordinating teacher shall, upon request from the student, consult with the examiner to quickly decide on an adjusted form of examination. The decision shall then be conveyed to the student.
It is not possible to appeal against a received grade, i.e. to get it examined by a higher authority, but a student can always criticize the grading or ask the examiner to reconsider the examination.
Students who have passed an examination cannot redo the examination to receive a higher grade. For students who have not passed an ordinary examination occasion, a new occasion for examination (a re-sit) is offered according to Umeå University's Grading and examination regulations for first- and second-cycle studies (Regulation FS 1.1.2-553-14).
A re-sit shall be offered no later than two months after the ordinary examination occasion, but no less than ten working days after the results of the ordinary examination have been announced. 

A student who on two occasions has failed an examination has the right to have another examiner appointed if there are no specific reasons for not doing so (HF chap. 6, §22). Such a request shall be processed as soon as possible. A written request for an alternative examiner should be handed to the director of undergraduate studies.

Academic credit transfer
A student has the right to apply for a transfer of credits for previous education or activity. Applications regarding transfer of credits are processed by Student Services
Other regulations
In case a course syllabus is no longer valid or has undergone significant revisions, students are guaranteed at least five examination sessions (including the regular examination session) according to the course syllabus the student initially was registered on, for a maximum of two years.


Valid from: 2022 week 28

Readings in planning theory [Elektronisk resurs]
Fainstein Susan S., Campbell Scott
Fourth edition. : Chichester, West Sussex, UK : John Wiley & Sons, Ltd : 2016 : 1 online resource (vii, 615 pages) :
Online access for UMUB
ISBN: 9781119045076
Search Album, the University Library catalogue

Key thinkers on space and place
Kitchin Rob, Hubbard Phil
2nd ed. : London : SAGE : 2010 : 510 s. :
ISBN: 1849201013
Search Album, the University Library catalogue

Post-Growth Geographies: Spatial Relations of Diverse and Alternative Economies [Elektronisk resurs]
Bastian Lange , Martina Hülz , Benedikt Schmid , Christian Schulz
1 : Transcript Verlag : 2022 :
Online access for UMUB

Brinkmann & Garren S J
The Palgrave Handbook of Sustainability: Case Studies and Practical Solutions
Springer International Publishing : 2018 :
Case Studies and Practical Solutions