School of Community and Regional Planning


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. 

SCARP's mission is to advance the transition to sustainability through excellence in integrated policy and planning research, professional education, and community service.

We work, live and play in one of the most scenic urban settings in the world. Vancouver is home to a culture of environmentalism and pluralism with a long history of activism and action. It is also home to formidable socio-economic problems in the Downtown Eastside and elsewhere. Our work is endlessly challenging and there is no shortage of both issues to tackle, and inspiration to draw from, in our lively and dynamic city.

Visit the School of Community and Regional Planning website

June 3 - July 3, 2018 Course Packages

Innovations in Community Economic Development
Social entrepreneurs around the world creatively organize institutions to reconnect the community spirit with economic development. Under the banner of social economy, solidarity economy, sufficiency economy, social enterprise, Community Economic Development (CED) aims to create wealth humanely, fairly, and sustainably. In this course, students will analyze international experience with co-ops, land trusts, and co-management arrangements. We will also visit Vancouver-area Community Economic Development projects such as community gardens, retail-strip business-improvement areas, and credit unions. Lessons for policy-makers, activists, and entrepreneurs will be drawn.
Innovative Housing Solutions
Rising populations, intense competition for scarce resources and a broadening gap between the rich and poor places housing at the centre of considerations of social and spatial justice. As an emerging urbanist, what is your role in addressing or perpetuating these trends? Using Vancouver as an urban lab - you will explore and come to understand gentrification, displacement and the precarious nature of housing. Through this course you will:
  • Investigate new strategies for meeting housing needs;
  • Explore the situation in Vancouver through visits to key organizations, and
  • Investigate the global politics of housing.

We will compare Vancouver's problems and solutions with those of other major cities, and consider how the Vancouver example might add to housing theory. This course will include classroom theory and lectures, site visits, and considerable student analysis and discussion in the field.

July 14 - August 14 2018 Course Packages

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. Upon completion of the course, you will:
  • Advance your critical thinking skills;
  • Understand what a GIS is, how it functions, and how it can be used to establish new information from raw data; and,
  • Become adept at use spatial queries to help solve geospatial problems using a GIS.
Greening the City: Vancouver as a Case
Vancouver is one of a global collective of cities working towards urban sustainability, including its own ambition to be the world’s greenest city. This course will explore how can city planning support and advance the effort towards reducing a city’s ecological footprint and enhancing a city’s environmental performance in balance with myriad other policy objectives. Using Vancouver and its Greenest City Plan as a primary case, we will examine the history, current trends, and future potentials of sustainable city building with an emphasis on building and neighbourhood performance, energy, transport, zero waste, food systems, and regenerative design. This class will include site tours as well as classroom-based presentation and discussion.
Citizen Engagement for Behaviour Change
City managers and planners are interested in understanding human behaviour, often with the aim of changing the choices people make. Should I bike to work? Should I drive less? How do we make it easier for people to make more sustainable decisions? Better individual choices can lead to collective gains and move us closer to an equitable and sustainable society. But which policies are successful at changing people’s habits? What does it take to change human behaviour and how do we know if we are successful? This course will review how policy makers have aimed to induce behavioural change with a particular focus on environmental and experimental economics. We will cover core principles in environmental economics and use experimental games to understand individual preferences, reciprocity, trust, and social capital. Through active exercises in the classroom, we will learn about the opportunities and challenges for inducing behavioural change.