Welcome messages

Our senior staff and department colleagues welcome you to The University of Manchester and outline what to expect in the year ahead.


    Ian Mell, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Planning and Environmental Management

    Welcome to Manchester and congratulations on coming to a world-leading university.

    You are entering one of the most innovative departments to study Planning, Environmental Management and Real Estate in the UK. We have a long history of working with local communities, businesses and government in Manchester and the north-west, as well as nationally and internationally to shape our understanding of the natural and built environment.

    We also welcome you at a time of change in how we think about the environment and our cities, how we plan for socio-economic and ecological sustainability, and how we teach these subjects. As we react to the climate emergency, national health and well-being issues, and the changing nature of economic stability you will be at the forefront of these debates. Manchester is also a city in flux and is constantly changing around us. Leaning the city’s history and understanding how its transport, housing, and economic profile have transformed and hindered its growth will be an essential part of your experience in Manchester. Over your time in the Department of Planning & Environmental Management (PEM), we will work with the city, its politicians, developers and local communities to reflect on what benefits it provides and what needs to change.

    The 2020/21 academic year is also one of change. We are embarking on a new challenge as we continue to teach within a Covid-19 world. We will work with you online, face-to-face and where possible on-site to help develop the analytical, practical and communication skills needed to succeed in your chosen career. This will mean working online in groups, with your lecturers and Academic Advisors to think about how we deliver more sustainable and equitable places.

    Although we will be working predominately online in Semester 1 we will continue to use Manchester and its landscapes as our living laboratory for teaching. Changes in housing provision and the type of development that dominates the city’s skyline will be central to this. We will ask how we plan for active travel? What design principles should be promoted to create liveable places? And how do the politics of landscape and urban planning influence these ideas? Each of these questions, and others, will remain at the centre of what we teach and help to guide you into the wider discussions of people, place and space.

    Within our teaching, we will also continue to engage with experts from local government, environmental organisations, consultancies, and development sector to integrate the real-world experience of our teaching in practice. Establishing these links between what we teach and what you will do in practice is fundamental to our philosophy, and will continue to shape how we teach planning, environmental management, real estate and urban design. Moreover, we will continue to integrate our internationally excellent research into our teaching meaning you will learn about planning issues in the UK, Europe, North America and China. All of which makes the application of our teaching increasingly relevant to students, employers and planners internationally.

    Finally, the role of planning, environmental management, urban design and real estate are increasingly significant in how we understand the world around us. Manchester as a city, and its place in that wider world, is growing and the skills you will learn during your degree can be applied across the world. The city is also a blend of tradition and the future and offers something for everyone. So enjoy your course, enjoy the city and welcome once again to Planning and Environmental Management at the University of Manchester.