An analysis of the Moses/Jacobs film by the application of RCP, Advocacy and Collaborative theories in Planning

In week nine students will have been shown the thirty minute film:


‘Jane Jacobs vs Robert Moses: The Urban Fight of the Century’


The film (  illustrates the theoretical approaches being drawn on in the module and will provide the students with the opportunity to think about debates on the extent to which society has moved to a post-modern model and the ways in which planning theory can be drawn on in illustrating this.  The film provides the students with an international example of top-down/bottom-up approaches to planning in an area of New York as exemplified by two key figures Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses.


Students will be required to read around planning theory and, in particular, the three approaches outlined in weeks 9, 10 and 11 of the module.


ESSAY TITLE: An analysis of the Moses/Jacobs film by the application of RCP, Advocacy and Collaborative theories in Planning


Assessment Criteria


Students are required to complete a 2,000 word film review (essay). Throughout, wider literature should be drawn on and referenced in order to make key points.  A critical rather than descriptive writing style should be adopted (see guidance)


Students will be assessed on the extent to which they:


  1. Provide an introduction setting out their approach to the title
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the planning topic/key themes/arguments presented in the film
  3. Demonstrate understanding of the varying positions Jacobs/Moses take/their key points when the theoretical approaches are applied
  4. Outline which theoretical position they find most convincing and why
  5. Draw on the three approaches to planning theory a) rational comprehensive b) advocacy c) collaborative planning throughout. For example, in what ways can the topic/s under discussion be illustrated by applying the perspectives? Which theory do you favour and why/how can you illustrate this? In what ways can the perspectives be applied to the speakers’ positions? How might the speakers’ positions be critiqued when each theory is applied?
  6. Present a critical approach i.e. beyond description
  7. Provide a strong conclusion
  8. Present work in an appropriate academic writing style (structure, grammar, syntax, referencing, adherence to word limit, adherence to submission procedures)
  9. Adhere to the word limit and submission procedures


As always a clear line of enquiry should be developed throughout with an introduction setting out ‘how’ the review/essay will be tackled and the key points that will be made.  Here engaging in wider reading will assist in developing an argument.


Even if one theoretical perspective/speaker position is felt to be more convincing than others appropriate wider reading will need to be brought in to discuss why the other approaches are felt to be less convincing. Thus knowledge of all three theoretical approaches will need to be demonstrated.


A guidance session will be provided in week twelve to assist with preparation and exemplars will be engaged with from last year.




Essay Guidance/Critical Writing Skills


It is important to ‘read around’ for all lectures and for the assignment. Lectures/PowerPoints/notes are only a starting point for your own independent reading.  It is important that you consider ‘how’ you will address the title in a critical way.  If you are struggling with this style of writing you should consider your feedback in this and other modules and consult with Learning Development Service who will comment on previous work and preparation for this assignment.


As with all essays, your introduction should set out your ‘take’ on the essay.  How you approach the title is up to you and lecture content should only provide the ‘starting’ point.  There are likely to be many ways in which you can address the title and develop your narrative/argument.  Consider, therefore, key debates in the literature; what ‘stance’ you wish to take in your essay and the ‘points’ you will make to develop your argument. Always consider if you have addressed the title and if the material you present aids you in doing this.  Your material should always ‘work for you’ and be there because it assists your critique.  Aim to remind the reader of this as your essay progresses i.e. YOUR approach to the title; to signpost the reader through your work, so that they are clear of how it progresses.


Reading/references, as always, should be brought in using the Harvard referencing style in the main body of your essay.  You should write in third person academic writing style and draw in the literature to make YOUR points i.e. ‘as Jones (2010) suggests it can be argued that….


Aim to have a coherent flow between points and paragraphs.  Your work should seem like a logical progression and your conclusions an ‘I told you so’.  There should be no new material in your conclusion.  Rather a summarising of your key points and a re-iteration of the position you have taken.


Adopting a coherent academic writing style is very important.  Aim to avoid description and reliance on lecture notes.  Aim to move beyond this, to demonstrate your own, independent reading (see the conceptual equivalent grades in the course handbook).  We are always happy to be surprised as long as you stay well-focussed on the title, and draw in a wide range of sources.  Better essays will draw more on academic journal articles, consider key debates and draw on points from them to develop an independent critique.  The conceptual framework (see student handbook) which provides the generic marking frame across the University is drawn on for this and all assessment as well as the specific assessment criteria opposite.  Aim to consult the conceptual marking scheme and consider what makes a 2:1 essay and a first class one.