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    Planning administration and practice.

    This paper is designed to introduce students to the practice of planning as it is carried out in New Zealand, with particular emphasis on the statutory planning framework imposed by the Resource Management Act 1991. The overall aim of the teaching syllabus is to educate students on planning as a profession in local and national contexts via experiential learning opportunities.

    About this paper

    Paper title Planning Practice
    Subject Planning Studies
    EFTS 0.1667
    Points 20 points
    Teaching period Not offered in 2024 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,448.79
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    Required for MPlan.
    Teaching staff

    Planning Coordinator: Dr Ashraful Alam

    Paper Structure

    PLAN 438 mainly comprises lecture sessions and various experiential learning activities, which are utilised throughout the paper, including guest speakers, fieldtrips, role plays, Council meetings and a mock hearing.

    PLAN 438 is 100% internally assessed.

    (Internal assessment consists of four assignments over the year, including participating in a mock hearing held at the Dunedin City Council Hearing Chambers).

    Teaching Arrangements

    1 x 2 hour lecture per week


    Recommended readings will be set for each lecture and will be available on Blackboard.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    On completion of the paper students should: 

    • Be familiar with planning frameworks for resource management, local government, iwi, conservation, transportation and heritage.
    • Understand the origins, philosophy, purpose and principles of the RMA.
    • Understand the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, their ‘translation’ into the Resource Management framework, and the practical application of these principles in planning practice.
    • Appreciate the political dynamics of planning and the role of the media in framing environmental and resource management issues.
    • Be aware of current areas of Government legislative reform.
    • Recognise the role of the New Zealand Planning Institute and issues relating to professional ethics and the NZPI Code of Conduct.
    • Be familiar with the public policy cycle and generic policy development processes under the RMA (Schedule 1).
    • Understand the resource management aspirations of Māori and the role of Iwi planning documents within policy development processes.
    • Demonstrate the ability to interpret, analyse, and apply the contents of plans and policy statements to ‘real world’ and ‘real time’ planning issues.
    • Be able to utilise ‘Plain English’ principles when writing planning reports as part of course assessments.
    • Have the ability to apply evaluative skills and arrive at recommendations on complex policy issues.
    • Appreciate issues around the use of subjective/objective knowledge, working with certainty and doubt, working with others’ expert knowledge, Mātauranga Māori knowledge systems, and the policy/science interface.
    • Be familiar with key planning requirements, assessments, processes under the RMA (s88, Schedule 4).
    • Demonstrate skills in site analysis, interpreting & sourcing land information, community and environmental data, interpreting plans submitted with development proposals, and the use of scale rules.
    • Have skills in the analysis of issues and proposals and an ability to arrive at an evaluative opinion based on robust analysis.
    • Appreciate issues around the use of subjective/objective knowledge, working with certainty and doubt, working with others’ expert knowledge, Mātauranga Māori knowledge systems, and the policy/science interface.
    • Demonstrate written and verbal skills and the ability to adapt to different audiences
    • Be familiar with decision-making structures and processes at the local, regional and national level.
    • Recognise the ethical and expert role of planners as distinct from advocates.


    Not offered in 2024

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system
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