Mastering the art of site planning course
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An online Course on Mastering the art of site planning

Last Updated on July 21, 2021 by Admin

What is Site Planning?

Site planning is the design and process of planning for a new development project. Within Community Development, this stage of site planning is the organizing phase where urban planners create a tactical/detailed plan of new developments.


Site Planning Online Course

One of the best online courses to learn how to plan a site, its infrastructure, and public spaces so that it is sustainable, supports human needs, compatible with its natural and man-made surroundings, adaptable, and economically efficient. The course includes many examples of well-planned sites.

About this course

Cities are built the site by site. Site planning has been taught in urban planning, landscape architecture, and architecture programs for over a century and continues to be a foundation course for those who aspire to plan the built environment. It is a required subject on licensing and certification programs for each of these disciplines.

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  • Course Offered By Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Course Duration: 10 Weeks
  • Price: Free Online Course
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time

Mastering the art of site planning requires substantive knowledge, well-honed design skills, and familiarity with examples and prototypes of site organization.

This course provides the perspectives of leading academics and practitioners on the important issues in preparing site plans. It offers a foundation of knowledge, and the opportunity to apply what is learned in preparing a site plan.

What you’ll learn

  • How to analyze a site and imagine the possibilities for its use.
  • How to create a program and a plan for a site.
  • How to make choices about site infrastructure.
  • Examples of well-planned sites.

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The course is organized into 10 one-week units, each containing 3-6 video learning modules. Each module is presented by an expert in the areas.

The topics covered during each week are:

1. Introduction: site values; exemplary greenfield and urban sites.


2. Site analysis: natural site analysis; the man-made context of sites; infrastructure capacity; development regulations and policies; sites as property; integrating site knowledge.

3. Site planning methods: planning processes; users, stakeholders, and the public; economic value of sites; design methods; digital media for design; creating a site proposal.

4. Site infrastructure: storm-water management; complete streets; pedestrian realms; water supply and disposal; energy for sites; intelligent infrastructure.

5. Site concepts and performance: place-making; subdivision and site assembly; scoring site performance; impact assessment.

6. Residential sites: a history of residential sites; typology of housing forms; housing and community design; dense residential sites.

7. Places for commerce and work: prototypes for shopping; future workplaces; innovation zones; planning for e-commerce.

8. Places for recreation and culture: Landscape structure; urban public spaces; human development and play; cultural districts.

9. College and university planning: types of universities; campus form and communication; new campuses; networked campuses; planning for adaptability.


10. Planning communities: mixed-use development; new communities; the future of communities; concluding remarks.

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Students will be examined in 4 quizzes about their comprehension of the materials covered.

In addition to viewing the modules, students will have the opportunity to prepare a site plan in three stages: a site analysis (3 weeks); a program and concept plan (4 weeks), and a detailed plan for part of the public domain of a site (3 weeks.)

The course will provide basic data on two sites that may be used for this exercise. Alternatively, students may select a site in their own community and use it for their project. Or if the course is being taken in parallel with a university-level studio or workshop, the results may be submitted for grading and feedback.

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