Master in Urban Regional and Planning (Development Planning)

Development can be broadly defined as the process of improving the quality of people’s lives. In South Africa, the development process includes: addressing the enormous backlogs in infrastructure and services; strengthening the economy; ensuring meaningful community and stakeholder participation; building the capacity of local government and other institutions; integrating areas divided by apartheid; and, promoting sustainability and sound environmental management.

Development Planning is a means to achieve such objectives. It is concerned with the co-ordination and preparation of policies and programmes that will contribute to social and economic upliftment. There are many different sectoral planning processes ( involving health, education, welfare, water, housing, land reform etc.) but development planning is multi-faceted and inter-sectoral in approach. It sets out to integrate fragmented processes of planning and development and focus attention on strategic priorities. In a context where there are numerous demands on scarce resources, development planning should provide a framework that will ensure that the allocation of these resources is efficient and fair. Development planners may also work within particular sectors, but they bring they bring to bear this broader understanding. Development planners may work in both the policy arena and in the sphere of implementation. They can work for various government departments, for local authorities, non- governmental organisations, and for private consultancy firms.

Development planning is located in a context of globalisation and rapid change at all levels. The development planner must therefore understand the implications of global transformation as well as the requirements of the local context. A good development planner will also understand the limits of development planning within a market-driven economy, and the need to produce plans that contribute to the agenda for change in South Africa but are also realistic, achievable and sustainable.

Course outline

A development planner must have a strong conceptual understanding of development issues internationally and in South Africa, as well as of development theories. At UND, the development planning course also focuses strongly on urban, regional, and rural development, as well as on the concepts of planning and policy development. Development planners also require knowledge and skills in specific areas. Potential focus areas include: current government policy and legislation, local economic development, economics of development, environmental management, land development processes, the delivery of infrastructure and services (e.g. water, roads, electricity), institutional development, community participation, financial planning and budgeting, project packaging and implementation, and research methods.

Curriculum (Development Planning)

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  • First Year

  • Second Year


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