Master of City and Regional Planning programme in the School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics; Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, UCT
This is a full-time, two-year, professional taught masters programme with South African Council for Planning accreditation and accreditation from the Royal Town Planning Institute www.rtpi.org.uk. Students from any discipline and with a good (65%+) pass in a final undergraduate year of study can apply to enter the programme directly from an undergraduate degree.
The MCRP programme at UCT recognizes the particular demands of cities and regions in Africa and in the global South, in the 21st century. This requires us to engage with issues of poverty, inequality, informality, rapid urbanization and environmental change. Our partnership with affiliates of Slum Dwellers International in Cape Town allows students to engage first-hand with the issue of informal settlements and their improvement. The close link to the African Centre for Cities and the Association of African Planning Schools exposes students to the diversities of urban life on the continent and the exciting potentials which these offer.
The first year of study is concerned with planning in local and metropolitan settings. Studio projects are supported by lecture-based courses in planning theory, environmental issues, urban infrastructure, urban design, planning law, and the institutional and economic context of planning and urban development. The second year of study covers regional planning through both project and theory work, with a focus on the generation of economic, landscape and settlement frameworks in regional space. The second part of this year involves individual dissertation work.
City and Regional Planning is a profession which contributes to the management of change in the built and natural environment. Planning as an activity is a collective societal effort to imagine or re-imagine an urban or regional environment and to translate this into priorities for investment, conservation, new and upgraded settlement, strategic infrastructure investments and principles of land use regulation. At the core of urban planning is a concern with space and the making of 'place'. Planning is also fundamentally a political activity rather than a neutral, technical activity. It is shaped by values, and planners are constantly called upon to make ethical judgments in relation to different possible futures (from UN Habitat: Planning Sustainable Cities, 2009).
Graduates from the MCRP programme find work in government at all levels, in private practice, in NGOs, in related fields of environmental, transport or housing development, or in the property finance sector. Planners generally work in an inter-disciplinary environment with other professionals engaged in the built environment. The planner's work can range from local scale design to metropolitan planning to policy work. It is a diverse field. While the programme content is shaped by the context of South Africa and Africa more widely, graduates are able to put their skills to good use in almost any part of the world.
The degree programme is of two years' full-time duration (with an extended-study option over three years).
MCRP programme year 1
· Planning Theory and Practice: The evolution of planning: changing role, concerns and products of planners in response to contextual and epistemological changes.
- Aspects of City Design: focusing on historically contextualised concepts of urban structure design and performance at the local scale.
- Natural Systems: focusing on natural processes and planning informants at the local scale.
- Urban Infrastructure: Role of infrastructure in the ongoing evolution of cities. In-depth case study to explore cross-cutting themes such as livelihoods and infrastructure failure, community innovation and sustainable urban transitions.
- Local Area Planning Project A: Studiowork project focusing on a local site, analysis of urban structure and performance, and development of a concept plan.
- Planning Techniques 1: Map work and cartographic interpretation; graphic techniques in planning communication; GIS, data acquisition and analysis in planning.
- Urban Economic Development Processes:The economic (formal and informal) drivers of contemporary urban development processes; relevant actors and institutions; the role of planning in urban economic growth and change. Land/property-related factors shaping urban development.
- Planning and Governmental Systems: Systems of representation and administration, local government finance and budgeting, negotiation and public participation, plan monitoring and evaluation.
- Regulatory and Legal Framework: Planning law, integrated development planning, land management systems, environmental law, law of professional practice.
- Local Area Planning Project B: Studio work involving the design and implementation of a plan for a large city area.
- Planning Techniques 2: Introduction to statistical methods; introduction to research methods.
- Regional Planning Theory: 20th century experience of regional planning and development and theoretical exploration of settlements and services; local economic development and landscape.
- Regional Planning Project: studiowork project focussing on the preparation of a spatial development framework in the context of an IDP for a non-metropolitan municipality.
- Planning Techniques 3: Environmental impact assessment and management.
MCRP Programme Year 2
MCRP dissertation: Dissertations involve the undertaking of an approved research exercise in an arena of the student's choice.
For faculty information, credits and course codes see the Faculty Handbook
How to Apply
For further information on city planning and urban design as a career, and for application forms, please contact:
The Administrator Post-graduate Programmes School of Architecture and Planning University of Cape Town Private Bag x3 Rondebosch 7701
Tel: +27 (0) 21 650 2359 Fax: +27 (0) 21 650 2383 Email: Janine Meyer Janine.Meyer@uct.ac.za
Fees and Financial Aid
Fees and financial aid information are available from the UCT fees website. A range of other bursaries are possible – information is available from the programme administrator.