The School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP) at UBC was one of the first dedicated planning schools in Canada. Founded in 1951, we have over six decades of experience in graduate planning education and research. 

What you might expect/course format

While each course varies based on the subject and instructor, our VSP Packages feature:

  • Interactive in person lectures
  • Hands-on labs, fun and practical demonstrations
  • Team-based assignments
  • Fun social activities
  • Tours of industrial facilities (some programs)
  • Experience with industry standard software 

Urban Big Data Analysis 

With the advent of open data movement, knowledge and skills for collecting and analyzing big data become increasingly important for urban planners. This course will teach you how to harness the power of big data by mastering the way they are collected, organized, and analyzed to support better decision making in urban planning context. You will learn the basic tools needed to manipulate large datasets derived from various open-data platforms, from data collection to storage and approaches to analysis. You will capture and build data structures, perform SQL and basic queries in order to extract key metrics and insights. In addition, you will learn how to use open-source programming tools, such as R and Python, to analyze and visualize the data. These statistical tools and methods will be complemented by machine learning and pattern detection techniques, in addition to new technologies for big data.

Spatial Analysis Using Geographic Information Systems

GIS technology sits at the intersection of the world around us and our incredible computing capabilities that allows us to investigate and visualize that world in new and exciting ways. This course will introduce you to key concepts, methods, and tools used to collect, analyze, map, and visualize geospatial data. You will explore what makes spatial data special, some of the ways it is collected, and how it can be used to answer questions about the world around us. You will use geospatial data to help with decision making and to inform policy-making. You will use computer-based geographical methods of data input and analysis to model the world around them, to explore real-world scenarios, and present their findings to others. Practical applications will be investigated in both the natural and human realms through lectures, discussions, group exercises, and a hands-on computer lab component.

Participants must be 19 years or older.
No prerequisites.

Project Initiation and Planning 

The role of projects in countries, communities, and organizations is gaining more grounds and receiving increasing attention as projects are the major building blocks for implementing and achieving strategic development goals. And planners, architects, engineers, economists, managers, politicians etc. are always at the center stage of this initiative. Hence, the crux of this course is to equip students (from different disciplines) with the requisite knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques for initiating and designing range of projects for implementation. The modules of the course include tools and techniques for stakeholder analysis and engagement, needs assessment (prioritization) and project identification, project feasibility studies and appraisals (environmental, technical, social, economic, and financial analysis), and project activity and resource scheduling (using Gantt Charts, Critical Path and Network Diagrams, among others).Through a combination of lecture and workshop presentations, students—working in groups as project team—will have the opportunity to apply these sets of tools and techniques to initiate and plan different projects, ranging from small events to large scale investment/developmental projects.

Project Implementation Management

Once a project is carefully planned, it’s ready for implementation. Hence, this course is built on ‘Course A” to provide students with a holistic view of the whole project life cycle. Accordingly, students would be equipped with knowledge and skills that would enable them put project plans into action [to meet the project objective and/or deliverables]. Some of the course modules include project control, time and resource management, communication and procurement management, total quality control, risk management, and the application of PERT and Logical Framework Metrics (LogFrame) as implementation, monitoring and evaluation tools.

Participants must be 19 years or older.
No prerequisites.

Student testimonials

“On the plane back home, I couldn’t help remembering the wonderful moments that I came across in the campus of UBC. I attended the summer program in the School of Community and Regional Planning. From kind and knowledgeable professors to diverse and cooperative students, from time-honour anthropology museum to elegant botanical gardens, from the GIS project in my laptop to the new perspective of Big Data in my mind, I told myself that it was a month worth more than a month time.”

– Kan Haoyu, VSP SCARP Student

“As an interdisciplinary program, community and regional planning offer me the chance to get to know people from different kinds of majors, including geography, politics, computer science and finance. We shared and discussed different perspectives with various knowledge backgrounds during our group project and after-class team activities. I think it is an invaluable opportunity to gain knowledge in other fields and cooperate with people from diverse knowledge background.”

– Yanjian, VSP SCARP Student