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Social planning and community development

Social planning brings together social, economic, environmental and cultural perspectives to effectively manage change – changing populations, changing expectations and how change is resisted or embraced. The course will equip you with increased knowledge of social planning and community development theory and practice.

About this course

This subject explores social planning and community development as applied to local government. Councils have a responsibility to their communities to continually synthesise the broad socioeconomic and political arenas and are uniquely placed to respond appropriately and efficiently to the social issues affecting local communities. Tools and techniques that support practitioners to identify and respond to opportunities and challenges in their communities are explored in this course. Students are encouraged to harness scholarship, creativity and innovation, firmly grounded in the social justice principles of equity, access, participation and rights, to deliver positive outcomes for communities. Planning for social infrastructure to deliver agreed outcomes is analysed and linked to councils’ service delivery and asset management plans.

Course structure

Tap into our expertise to learn how to galvanise teams, organisations and communities to embrace and plan for social change. Learn tools and techniques to identify and respond to opportunities and challenges in your community. Be encouraged by our academics to harness scholarship, creativity and innovation to design community solutions. The best visions are firmly grounded in social justice. Principles of equity, access, participation and rights are the pillars that deliver positive outcomes for communities.

You will consider ways to harness teams, units and departments across local government to ensure all activities are uniformly directed towards the best community outcomes.  Moreover, you will analyse how social planning, often combined with land-use planning, can support council work. This could occur by building relationships among teams within the organisation, across communities, with other levels of government and with non-government organisations. Learn how social connectedness is enhanced by building the community’s capacity to respond to identified issues.

The five-day course will cover:

  • Principles and practice
  • Social planning practice and research
  • Social planning and local government
  • Planning and people – addressing change
  • Theory practice integration.


Learning outcomes 

After this course, you will have:

  • Increased knowledge of social planning and community development theory and practice
  • Evaluated and applied community development approaches such as, social impact assessment, social infrastructure analysis, ‘Safety by Design’, community engagement, to roles and work plac.
  • Capacity to think strategically about cities, appreciate the social, cultural, economic and political drivers of change and work collaboratively with other professions
  • Evaluated the place of social justice and ethics within local government
  • Analysed personal views and values and their impact on individual practice
  • Demonstrated ability to develop informed arguments and rationale for social planning outcomes
  • Expanded their capacity to question and challenge current practice to foster innovation.


COVID-19 Information

UTS is undertaking a number of social distancing initiatives, as informed by NSW Health advice, to help reduce social interactions in support of the government’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. As part of this response, some of our short courses may be postponed to a later date.

Please note however, bookings are open for all courses offered by the Institute for Public Policy and Governance (IPPG). If a course needs to be postponed, participants will have the chance to transfer to a later date, a new course or request a full refund. IPPG will also be offering a range of online or blended learning options facilitated via zoom video conferencing. If you have any questions in the interim, please do not hesitate to contact our team at

Who is this course for?

Professionals working in social planning and community development in state or local government who want to use innovative practices to adapt and manage change in the local setting.



24 August




5 days

Meet the Expert

Dr Professor Bligh Grant

Dr Professor Bligh Grant
Associate Professor, IPPG

Dr Professor Bligh Grant is Associate Professor at the UTS Institute for Public Policy and Governance and UTS Centre for Local Government. He is Course Coordinator of the Master of Local Government program at UTS. He is co-author of three books, Local Government in Australia: History, Theory and Public Policy (2017; with Joseph Drew) and Funding the Future (2013) and Councils in Cooperation (2012) (both with Brian Dollery and Michael Kortt). He is co-editor of Metropolitan Governance in Asia and the Pacific Rim (2018) with Cathy Yang Liu and Lin Ye. Recent co-authored scholarly articles have appeared in Australian Journal of Political Science, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Policy and Politics, Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Local Government Studies and Australian Planner. He contributes regularly to media on Australian politics, particularly on local government matters.

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Book a session

Mon 24 Aug 2020 -
Fri 25 Sep 2020
Expert: Dr Professor Bligh Grant
  • Online via zoom video
  • On-campus
  • 5 sessions, 40 hours total

Due to COVID-19 this class will be delivered online, via a live video link.

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