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AG2109 Planning Theory, Advanced Course 7.5 credits

Urban planning is in this course understood as a complex process, involving a number of actors, private as well as public, with a broad range of competences, interests and demands. In the course, theory and practical examples from the fields of planning is used to understand this process from a range of different perspectives as democracy, planning discourses and sustainability matters. The role of the planner is consistently focused.

Course offering missing for current semester as well as for previous and coming semesters
Headings with content from the Course syllabus AG2109 (Spring 2009–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

Urban planning takes place in a complex context involving a number of actors, usually with conflicting interests and differing perspectives. The process is characterised by diverging competencies, interests and arguments. Readings in contemporary planning theory constitute an important point of departure for discussing, analysing and critically reflecting upon planning and the role of the planner. In the course both practical and theoretical knowledge is presented. Examples are given from different countries illustrating the relationship between private and public interests in spatial planning, including citizen participation. Theoretical core-concepts are conflict, consensus, power, democracy, deliberation, discourse and communication. Theoretical knowledge about these concepts is used as a point of departure for illuminating delicate aims and aspects of the planning process. The course also directs its focus towards the role of the planner and on sustainable development as a challenging task in planning

Intended learning outcomes

After completing the course, the student shall:

  • Be familiar with the main lines in contemporary planning theory.
  • Be able to identify actors and various interests and arguments in planning processes.
  • Have the ability to reflect upon and theoretically analyse planning and policy processes.
  • Have a capacity to reflect critically upon the different roles of the actors in the process and the role and responsibility of the planner.
  • Be able to suggest suitable methods for communication in situations characterised by expected conflicts, power imbalances and differing expertise knowledge in various settings.

Present a written report where a planning or policy process is analysed.

Course disposition

Throughout the course, theoretical lectures and readings are complemented with practical cases in urban planning. The core-issues of the course are further discussed, analysed and critically reflected upon in a number of seminars where different methods for discussions are used. The project work is an assignment where the students will deepen their knowledge by applying theoretical perspectives upon a concrete empirical planning case.

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

3 years of university studies within the field of Planning, Architecture, Engineering or Social Science.

Recommended prerequisites

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Forester, J (1999) The Deliberative Practitioner. Encouraging Participatory Planning Processes. MIT Press.

Selected texts, presented at the course introduction.

Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F


  • PRO1 - Project Work, 4.5 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F
  • SEM1 - Seminars, 3.0 credits, grading scale: P, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Other requirements for final grade

Project work, (PRO1; 4,5 cr),  Seminars, (SEM1; 3 cr)

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

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Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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Profile picture Maria Håkansson

Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web AG2109

Offered by

ABE/Urban and Regional Studies

Main field of study

This course does not belong to any Main field of study.

Education cycle

Second cycle

Add-on studies

Projekt stadsplanering AG2110 (SP(S4)), or
Planning for Regional Development AG2174 (TSPLM1), or AD2820 Structural Components in Urban Planning and design (TUPDM1).


Maria Håkansson,, phone 08-7909280

Supplementary information

Course that replaces AG2111 Process in Urban Planning (TUPDM1). 

Earlier code 1N1511.