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Social Planning and Community Development



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32 hrs


4 x 8 hrs

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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. This course will equip you with increased knowledge of social planning and community development theory and practice.

About this course

Effective social planning and community development brings together social, economic, environmental and cultural perspectives to support communities and also manage change at the local level. This social planning and community development course will provide you with increased knowledge, skills and capacities to led or contribute to quality planning and development processes based in contemporary theory and good practice.

This course explores social planning and community development as applied to local government. Councils have a responsibility to their communities to continually make sense of socioeconomic, political and cultural trends and are uniquely placed to respond appropriately and efficiently to the factors affecting local communities. The course will offer different approaches, tools and techniques to support you to identify and respond to opportunities and challenges in your communities addressing social policy, stakeholder engagement, community safety, social infrastructure, demographic change, environmental issues, plus place and neighbourhood renewal.

In this course you will be encouraged to deploy core social justice principles (equity, access, participation, and rights) as well as quadruple bottom line planning concepts (social, environmental, economic and civic leadership) embedded in integrated planning and reporting frameworks - to deliver positive outcomes for communities.

Course structure

This course is comprised of four interlinked modules, each delivered over a day's duration.

Module 1: Introduction to social planning and community development

This module covers the key theory and good practice principles that underpin quality social planning and community development. It includes discussion of:

  • Legislative and Regulatory Requirements, including local government IP&R issues
  • Social justice principles and the role of Quadruple Bottom Line thinking
  • Effective engagement and decision making principles
  • Different types of planning and key considerations including common community, recreational and infrastructure activities, plus safety, local conflicts, and crisis management.

Module 2: Social policy, planning and project management

This module introduces effective project management approaches to delivering quality social and community outcomes. It includes discussion of:

  • Practice and management of specific social planning and community development activities
  • Introduction to social planning research
  • Introduction to effective stakeholder engagement
  • Working with communities and managing change in a dynamic environment.

Module 3: Social planning methods, tools and techniques

This module covers specific approaches, tools and techniques for working at the local level, with specific reference to using evidence based research and engagement techniques. It includes discussion of:

  • Designing, implementing and managing one off or ongoing social planning or community development initiatives
  • Common data sources and how to use in community focused social research.

Module 4: Place based approaches, measuring impact and influencing decision making

This module will draw together the theory and practice across the three previous modules and applies the learning to place-based scenarios. It includes discussion of:

  • Social Planning and Community Development measurement, evaluation and learning
  • Community Indicators
  • Communicating with Impact and writing for decision makers.

Learning outcomes 

After completing this course, participants should have:

  • Increased knowledge and understanding of social planning and community development theory, good practice and their role in decision making
  • Applied community development approaches - such as social impact assessment, social infrastructure analysis, ‘Safety by Design’, and stakeholder engagement - to local scenarios
  • Capacity to think strategically and practically about place and communities, using social, cultural, economic, environmental, and leadership drivers of change, working collaboratively with colleagues with colleagues and other professions
  • Acquired project planning methods, tools and techniques that reflect social justice, ethics and Quadruple Bottom Line concepts required in local government settings
  • Analysed current challenges and barriers, plus personal views and values and their impact on professional practice
  • Learned skills in impactful communications and report writing relevant to social planning and community development decision making.


Full price: $2,990 (GST-free)*

*Price subject to change. Please check price at time of purchase. 

Course delivery

This short course will be delivered as an interactive workshop consisting of an instructor-led lecture, group and individual activities. This training approach allows participants to work through concepts introduced by the trainer in an application-focused teaching environment. Participants will challenge their understanding of the concepts and consider their application once back in their individual workplace.

In-house training solutions

Social Planning and Community Development can also be customised and/or delivered in-house. Find out more.

Enrolment conditions

Course purchase is subject to UTS Open Terms and Conditions. 

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?

This course is suitable for social planners and Councillors.

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Acknowledgement of Country

UTS acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the Boorooberongal people of the Dharug Nation, the Bidiagal people and the Gamaygal people, upon whose ancestral lands our university stands. We would also like to pay respect to the Elders both past and present, acknowledging them as the traditional custodians of knowledge for these lands.