Curriculum Resources

The AAPS secretariat produced a range of resources for planning curriculum development as part of the ‘Revitalizing Planning Education in Africa’ project operated from 2008 to 2011. In addition, a number of international organizations such as the World Bank Institute and the Royal Town Planning Institute provide free learning and teaching resources for planning-related subjects.

This page is intended to help planning students, educators and other visitors to access free online resources to enhance their understanding of key urban planning topics as they apply to Africa and elsewhere globally.

AAPS postgraduate curriculum frame

A set of guidelines for the development of African postgraduate planning curricula was developed during and following the AAPS 2010 conference held in Dar es Salaam. These guidelines are designed to be flexible enough to allow adaptation and implementation in a range of contexts. The development of the curriculum frame was informed by the background paper prepared for the same conference. Both documents are available for download below:

Planning course outlines

An outline for an educational course on planning law in Africa has been developed by Stephen Berrisford.

Stephen is a planning law and policy consultant with extensive experience of land development processes on the African continent. Stephen holds a Master of City and Regional Planning degree from the University of Cape Town (South Africa) and an MPhil Land Economy from the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom). He has worked in different sectors including urban and rural land reform, planning law and policy, urban renewal, sustainable forest management, water resource management, and biodiversity planning, in nine African countries.

Click here to download the AAPS planning law course outline.

An outline for an educational studio on solid waste management in low- and middle-income countries is also available for download below. This resource was developed by Libby McDonald, program director of Global Sustainability Partnerships at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Community Innovators Lab (CoLab) (posted with permission).

Click here to download the solid waste management studio outline.

AAPS curriculum development toolkits

Each ‘toolkit’ is a set of definitions, descriptions, case studies, course/lesson/project outlines and references designed to facilitate curriculum revision, course development and teaching of a particular educational theme.

These toolkits have been developed as open-ended, adaptable and transposable online resources. In other words:

  • They constitute the base or foundation for larger processes of curriculum design and implementation, providing room for addition and expansion.
  • Much like a generic blueprint, the resources are designed to be flexible enough to allow implementation in a wide variety of institutional and geographical contexts.

They also seek to provide a basis for the formulation of a planning curriculum and teaching approach that encourages:

  • An interactive learning process, wherein learners can engage with and think critically about the subject matter.
  • A collaborative learning process that emphasises the negotiation, networking and conflict resolution skills required by planning professionals.
  • Student skills in empirical thought and reasoning.
  • Increased awareness of contextual issues in planning practice through, for example, the undertaking of field visits.
  • Reflexivity on the part of the learners, meaning an enhanced capacity to use new knowledge to question normative principles and theories.

To date the following thematic toolkits are available:

{slider-sub Theme 1: Actor collaboration|closed}

This toolkit was produced by Dr Richard de Satgé. Richard is a land and livelihoods researcher and practitioner with comprehensive experience spanning land reform, land rights management, sustainable livelihoods, rural and urban development, adult learning and capacity development. He has over 12 years of independent consulting experience. In 2006 Richard became a partner in Phuhlisani Solutions – a consultancy working in the land reform and rural development sector in South Africa. He holds a PhD in City and Regional Planning from the University of Cape Town.

The actor collaboration curriculum toolkit is constituted by an introductory section (including a general discussion of why actor collaboration is an important theme for planning education, and an overview of relevant theories, perspectives and debates within the academic field); a proposed syllabus outline for an educational course or module dealing with the theme of actor collaboration, and three case studies. The case studies are intended for use in teaching, and are referred to within the syllabus outline.

Case study 1 concerns attempts by Cape Town (South Africa) municipality to develop a high profile formal housing project in the Joe Slovo informal settlement. This case highlights the immense complexity and potential for conflict that characterises state attempts to engage with informality and to formalise the informal within the African city.

Case study 2 examines the clash between the state and informal dwellers and traders in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, in the context of the notorious Operation Murambatsvina. It discusses how rational, technocratic and rules based planning may become joined in the service of state oppression.

Case study 3 deals with small scale incremental upgrading within Huruma informal settlement in Nairobi (Kenya). It draws on the work of the Pamoja Trust and the slum dweller movement known as Muungano wa Wanvijiji. It examines their approach to incremental informal settlement upgrading and reviews the process by which the residents in the settlement obtained enhanced tenure security while strengthening their negotiation power and voice.

Click on the links below to download the toolkit sections:

Also, click here to view a fun and interactive Prezi version of the actor collaboration toolkit.

{slider-sub Theme 2: Climate change and African cities}

This toolkit was developed by Willi Faling. Willi has lectured in the Department of Town and Regional Planning at University of Pretoria (South Africa) since 2005. She holds bachelor’s degrees in geography and town and regional planning from the University of Pretoria, and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Natal (South Africa). Her particular research interests include disaster risk reduction in cities (specifically climate change adaptation and mitigation) and planning interventions such as transit-oriented development and inner-city regeneration.

The climate change and African cities toolkit is downloadable in three sections:

  • Section 1: Background and rationale for including climate change as a theme in African planning education; introduction to climate change, urban vulnerability and the role of planning; relevant theories and debates in the literature; case studies of Lagos (Nigeria), Delhi (India), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Cape Town (South Africa), Sorsogon City (Philippines), and the UNISDR ‘My City is Getting Ready’ campaign
  • Section 2: Suggested course outline and activities
  • Section 3: Glossary, links and further resources

{slider-sub Theme 3: The informal economy}

The ‘informal economy’ curriculum toolkit was developed by Caroline Skinner, director of the Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) urban policies programme. She is currently based at the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at the University of Cape Town (South Africa). Caroline also teaches on the MPhil Urban Infrastructure: Design and Management programme convened by the ACC. For eight years she taught on the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s (South Africa) Master of Development Studies programme.

The informal economy toolkit is downloadable in the following sections:

  • Section 1: Introduction to the theme; perspectives, theories and debates relating to the informal economy
  • Section 2: Suggested course outline and activities
  • Appendix A: Livelihood profiles for informal economic sectors
  • Case study: Informal worker politics and organisation: The Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA)

{slider-sub Theme 4: Reading and representing the cultural landscape}

The toolkit aims to equip students with visual and graphic literacy skills and tools necessary to read cultural landscapes (within any context) and to represent spatial perceptions to inform appropriate design responses. It will be useful for any educators or learners engaged in design-related planning or architecture studio courses, as well as those interested in heritage and cultural issues as they are manifest in the built and natural environment. Although the toolkit is largely based on South African experiences and examples, it is broad enough to allow implementation in any African context.

The toolkit was developed by Liana Muller and David Gibbs. Liana previously taught on the Master of City and Regional Planning and Master of Landscape Architecture programmes at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. David is a graduate of the UCT landscape architecture programme, and is a partner/director of Gibbs Saint Pol Landscape Architects (Cape Town).

The toolkit is downloadable in the following sections:

  • Section 1: The rationale for including cultural landscapes in design education; meanings of the term ‘cultural landscape’; legislative contexts for heritage and cultural landscape conservation; approaches to reading cultural landscapes; approaches to representing cultural landscapes; bibliography
  • Section 2: Proposed syllabus outline for an educational module on mapping cultural landscapes

{slider-sub Theme 5: Spatial planning and infrastructure development}

This toolkit looks at the themes of spatial planning and infrastructure development. Recently there has been much interest in developing approaches to bring these two processes closer together within public planning, as theories of ‘splintering urbanism’ argue that our cities are becoming more fragmented with the privatization and ‘unbundling’ of urban infrastructures.

The toolkit comprises a number of elements that can be used together or separated out, depending on the demands and needs of the educator and learner. It is also intended to be a ‘live’ resource: users are invited to add to the toolkit (see below), whether through the documentation of cases, additions to the literature review or ideas on lecture delivery and knowledge co-production.

The toolkit was developed by AAPS Coordinator Dr Nancy Odendaal, senior lecturer in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Click on the links below to download the various toolkit sections:

1. Introduction

  • Click here to download the introductory section.

2. Syllabus outlines

3. Modules

4. Case studies

5. Additional case study teaching resources

6. Teaching tools

PowerPoint presentations:


Contributing a toolkit module or case study

If you would like to contribute a new module or case study to this toolkit, please download either of the following templates, and send the completed version to James Duminy:

Urban LandMark learning materials

‘Urban LandMark’ is shorthand for the Urban Land Markets Programme Southern Africa. Based in Pretoria, the programme was set up in May 2006 with seven years’ of funding from the UK’s Department for International Development, lasting until March 2013. The initiative is now hosted at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa.

Urban LandMark ensured that relevant outputs from their research and project activities are available as learning materials to academics, experts, facilitators and teachers. The case studies are each 10 pages in length and provide a summary of key research issues, as well as detailed information around the findings and recommendations covered in the research reports on which they are based. A facilitator’s guide is available for each set of learning materials.

Learning materials 2013

Learning materials 2011

Learning materials 2010

World Bank e-Institute courses

The World Bank e-Institute was launched as a virtual learning classroom to provide convenient, easy, and reliable access to cutting edge knowledge and communities of practice. More than 45 e-learning courses address complex real-world problems in priority areas such as governance, health, cities, climate change, and public-private partnerships. Learners also have access to free monthly podcasts and webinars, video success stories, multimedia toolkits, and other resources.

All e-courses are created using a step-by-step design process, in which program designers analyse audiences, define desired results and objectives, identify interactive learning methods and select appropriate delivery modes and tools in order to design quality learning interventions that last.

Visit the e-Institute website for more information on the e-courses offered, and to see when they will be running in the course of the year.

In addition, a number of World Bank e-courses are available as ‘self-paced courses’, to accommodate professionals who are balancing demanding work programmes and their day-to-day lives. High-quality modules that can be self-tested are available online and have flexible deadlines for completion. Participants are on their own when taking these modules and do not receive a formal certificate of completion or feedback on their work. Full course recordings are also available upon request to the individual contact listed for each course.

RTPI Learn courses

RTPI Learn is the Royal Town Planning Institute’s virtual learning site (VLE), available since January 2014. It offers a range of learning opportunities for anyone interested in planning. Four learning modules are available:

  • Viability: Understanding development economics
  • Planning for climate change
  • Public engagement in planning
  • Infrastructure delivery planning

Within the modules, there are reflective/interactive activities for you to complete, video links, links to other websites, and so on.

RTPI Learn also hosts a range of other useful resource materials, such as guidance notes for CPD monitoring, member guides, the SPECIAL project, and so on.

Visit the RTPI Learn website to register and make use of these valuable resources.