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Unit of study_

ARCH9080: Urban Ecology, Design and Planning

Semester 2, 2023 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit will introduce the conceptual bases for sustainable development and explore how principles of sustainability can be introduced into land use planning and urban design, including environmental management and multi-criteria evaluation methodologies in three modules. The unit will examine the evolution of urban areas in relation to their biophysical setting. This will lead to an understanding and appreciation of the urban ecology of a city in terms of the flows of materials, resources and energy, and the challenges presented by climate change and peak oil. The principles of sustainability and the history and development of concepts of urban sustainability will be demonstrated through case studies. Assessments will explore a student's learning of the methods and frameworks for evaluating and measuring sustainability that are introduced in this unit.

Unit details and rules

Unit code ARCH9080
Academic unit Urban and Regional Planning and Policy
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Ryan Jones,
Lecturer(s) Ryan Jones,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment group assignment BSUD: Design Framework & Proposal
Biodiversity sensitive urban design proposal
30% Please select a valid week from the list below
Due date: 05 Nov 2023 at 23:59
3,000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment Ecosystem Services: Strategic Planning Analysis
Case study analysis of a strategic plan
40% Week 05
Due date: 03 Sep 2023 at 23:59
3,000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5
Assignment group assignment BSUD: Site Analysis & Planning Context
Analysis of site and planning context
30% Week 09
Due date: 08 Oct 2023 at 23:59
3,000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

  • Ecosystem Services: Strategic Planning Analysis > Students will evaluate an urban ecology plan as part of a professional role-play.
  • BSUD: Site Analysis & Planning Context > Students will define and analyse a project site to inform the preparation of a biodiversity sensitive urban design. 
  • BSUD: Design Framework & Proposal > Students will develop a biodiversity sensitive design for their project site. 

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Work of outstanding quality, demonstrating mastery of the learning outcomes
assessed. The work shows significant innovation, experimentation, critical
analysis, synthesis, insight, creativity, and/or exceptional skill.


75 - 84

Work of excellent quality, demonstrating a sound grasp of the learning outcomes
assessed. The work shows innovation, experimentation, critical analysis,
synthesis, insight, creativity, and/or superior skill.


65 - 74

Work of good quality, demonstrating more than satisfactory achievement of the
learning outcomes assessed, or work of excellent quality for a majority of the
learning outcomes assessed.


50 - 64

Work demonstrating satisfactory achievement of the learning outcomes


0 - 49

Work that does not demonstrate satisfactory achievement of one or more of the
learning outcomes assessed.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Late submission of work attracts late penalties as per the Resolutions of the University School.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction to Sustainable Development Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 02 Introduction to Urban Ecology Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 03 Ecosystem Services: Planning & Evaluation Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 04 Tutorial 1 Tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 05 Key Themes in Urban Ecology 1 Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 06 Key Themes in Urban Ecology 2 Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 07 Key Themes in Urban Ecology 3 Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 08 Tutorial 2 Tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 09 Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design 1 Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 10 Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design 2 Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 11 Tutorial 3 Tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 12 Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design 3 Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 13 Unit Summary Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. understand the origins and evolution of the concepts of sustainability, ecologically sustainable development, and their relationship to adaptation and ‘resilience’
  • LO2. demonstrate a basic appreciation of the natural and artificial cycles of energy and resources in the city
  • LO3. understand the use and limitations of precedents and examples of best practice in relation to sustainable urban development
  • LO4. research and understand the physical, climatic, and social and economic conditions related to a particular area, and formulate basic strategies for addressing a particular environmental issue
  • LO5. articulate sustainability objectives through design and report writing.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Student feedbacks have been taken into consideration since this unit was last offered.

Additional costs

Additional costs may be incurred in the purchase of drawing materials and the preparation of presentations. Additional costs may be incurred by students to travel to and from field investigation sites.

Site visit guidelines

Virtual site visit guidelines will be provided via Canvas

Work, health and safety

Information will be provided in Canvas.


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