The Research-Led Pedagogy in Contemporary Planning Education
Education Journal
Volume 4, Issue 1-2, February 2015, Pages: 1-9
Received: Oct. 6, 2014; Accepted: Oct. 21, 2014; Published: Nov. 22, 2014
Views 4112      Downloads 222
Bing Chen, Department of Urban Planning and Design, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, China
Article Tools
Follow on us
This paper aims to explore the research-led pedagogy in contemporary planning education. A case study was conducted in the Department of Urban Planning and Design, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, to show a range of teaching and learning methods which aimed to embed research into the academic experience, thereby facilitating students’ active learning. The application of these new teaching models (e.g. integrated teaching across different modules, interdisciplinary workshops, field studies, summer undergraduate research projects, games, etc.), as a move away from the lecture-based approach to a hands-on approach, provides an opportunity for students to engage with some innovative concepts (e.g. sustainability, resilience, etc.) and explore their applicability and value in practice. It was found from this study that there is an urgent need to foster a research-led learning environment which can facilitate innovative educational practices or similar. Such an ongoing process can also help students deepen their understanding of the latest requirements of China’s overall strategic development plans (e.g. the integrative development of urban and rural areas) and thereby cope with new issues arising in the urban-rural transformation. Since the host institution of this study (XJTLU) is itself a joint venture between Xi’an Jiaotong University China and the University of Liverpool UK, some findings from this case study reflect the differences of educational practices between the UK and China.
Research-Led, Pedagogy, Planning Education, Active Learning, Curriculum
To cite this article
Bing Chen, The Research-Led Pedagogy in Contemporary Planning Education, Education Journal. Special Issue: Interdisciplinary Researches in Environmental Design Education. Vol. 4, No. 1-2, 2015, pp. 1-9. doi: 10.11648/
C. Whitzman. “Reinventing Planning Education”. Australian Planner (2009) 46 (1): pp. 14-21
C. Brown, J. Claydon and V. Nadin. “The RTPI’s Education Commission: Context and Challenges”. The Town Planning Review (2003) 74 (3): pp. 333-345
RTPI (Royal Town Planning Institute). “A New Vision for Planning: Delivering sustainable communities, settlements and places”, 2001. [Online] Available at: [assessed 10 March 2014]
RTPI (Royal Town Planning Institute). “RTPI Education Commission Report”. London: RTPI, 2003
P. Batey, R. Boyle, A. Motte, P. Ache, S. Pepper and T. Claydon. “Comments on the RTPI Education Commission’s Report and Its Implications for Planning Education”. The Town Planning Review (2003) 74 (4): pp. 355-369
D. Reeves. “Future scoping – developing excellence in urban planners”. Australian Planner (2009) 46 (1): pp. 28-33
RTPI (Royal Town Planning Institute). “Policy Statement on Initial Planning Education”, 2012. [Online] Available at: [assessed 10 March 2014]
G. Ellis, B. Murtagh and L. Copeland. “The Future of the Planning Academy (Report)”. Belfast: Queen’s University Belfast and RTPI, 2012.
A. Miller, J. Sharp and J. Strong (ed.). “What is research-led teaching? Multi-disciplinary perspective”. London: CREST, 2012.
M. Deakin. “Research Led Teaching: A review of two initiatives in valuing the link between teaching and research”. Journal for Education in the Built Environment (2006) 1 (1): pp. 73-93
M. Healey. “Linking Research and Teaching to Benefit Student Learning”. Journal of Geography in Higher Education (2005) 29 (2): pp. 183-201
M. Roach, P. Blackmore and J.A. Dempster. “Supporting High-Level Learning through Research-Based Methods: A framework for course development”. Innovation in Education and Teaching International (2001) 38 (4): pp. 369-382
A. Brew. “Enhancing the quality of learning through research-led teaching”. In: HERDSA 2002 Conference Proceeding, 2002 [Online] Available at: [assessed 10 March 2014]
A. Brew. “Teaching and Research: New relationships and their implications for inquiry-based teaching and learning in higher education”. Higher Education Research & Development (2003) 22 (1): pp. 3-18
M. Healey. “Linking Research and Teaching: exploring disciplinary spaces and the role of inquiry-based learning”. In: Barnett R. (ed.) (2005) Reshaping the University: New Relationships between Research, Scholarship and Teaching. McGraw Hill/Open University Press, 2005 pp. 67-78
R. Griffiths. “Knowledge production and the research-teaching nexus: the case of the built environment disciplines”. Studies in Higher Education (2004) 29 (6): pp. 709-726
M. Simons and J. Elen. “The ‘research-teaching nexus’ and ‘education through research’: an exploration of ambivalences”. Studies in Higher Education (2007) 32 (5): pp. 617-631
B. Chen. “Education for Sustainable Architecture: Professional competencies and responsible ethics”. In: Bovati M., Caja M., Floridi G. and Landsberger M. (ed.) Cities in Transformation Research & Design: Ideas, Methods, Techniques, Tools, Case Studies (Volume II). Padova: Il POLIGRAFO, 2014. pp. 1078-1086.
B. Chen. “Planning Education for Sustainable City Transformation: The programme design and education reform in the XJTLU Department of Urban Planning and Design”. In: China Urban Planning Education Network and School of Urban Design (ed.) Humanistic Planning Creative Transformation: Proceedings of China Urban Planning Education Conference 2012. Beijing: China Architecture and Building Press, 2012. pp. 360-367
C.S. Hayles and S.E. Holdsworth. “Curriculum Change for Sustainability”. Journal for Education in the Built Environment (2008) 3 (1): pp. 25-48.
English Partnerships & The Housing Corporation. “Urban Design Compendium 2: Delivering quality places”. London: Llewelyn-Davies, 2007.
J. Friedmann. “China’s Urban Transition”. Minnesota: the University of Minnesota, 2005.
L. Bird. “Rebuilding resilience: the education challenge”, 2009. [Online] Available at: [assessed 10 January 2014]
Y. Wei and M. Zhao. “Advancing Normative Urban Planning Education in China: A study of educational institutions and urban planning curricula”. China City Planning Review (2009) 18 (3): pp. 42-49
R. Banai. “A Note on Urban Sustainability-Education Nexus. The Journal of Sustainability Education”, 2012. [Online] Available at: [assessed 10 May 2014]
J. Carmin, D. Roberts and I. Anguelovski. “Planning Climate Resilient Cities: Early lessons from early adapters”. Paper prepared for the World Bank, 5th Urban Research Symposium ‘Cities and Climate Change’, Marseille, France, 2009.
S. Sayce, L. Ellison and P. Parnell. “Understanding investment drivers for UK sustainable property”. Building Research & Information (2007) 35 (6): 629-643
J. Salter. “Disasters as Manifestations of Vulnerability”. The Australian Journal of Emergency Management (1995) 10 (1). [Online] Available at: [assessed 10 March 2014]
L. Robinson. “Education for resilience: Community safety communication for natural hazards”. A paper prepared for the NSW State Emergency Service, 2003. [Online] Available at: [assessed 10 March 2013]
Global Footprint Network (GFN). “Ecological Footprint Network: Advancing the Science of Sustainability”. [Online]. [05 March 2014]
Science Publishing Group
1 Rockefeller Plaza,
10th and 11th Floors,
New York, NY 10020
Tel: (001)347-983-5186