Centre for Human Settlements



The Centre for Human Settlements, a unit within the School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP), involves faculty and student associates from various departments at UBC in multidisciplinary research and capacity-building programs related to regional, urban, and community development. In 1990, CHS was named a "Centre of Excellence" in human settlements planning by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

The Centre was created as a legacy of the 1976 United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (HABITAT) that was held in Vancouver and resulted in the Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements. CHS originally housed the collection of audio video presentations by each participating nation in the HABITAT Conference.

In the early 1990s, the entire collection was deposited in the University of British Columbia’s Archives.

The audiovisual material plus textual material about Habitat I & II held in several Vancouver-based Archives (including UBC) was digitized in 2018 through a partnership between SCARP and UN-Habitat and can can be accessed in the

Habitat Conferences Digital Archive at habitat.scarp.ubc.ca


Faculty associates are currently undertaking policy-oriented research on:

  • community design, transportation and public health
  • gender equity
  • healthy and sustainable communities
  • international development planning and urbanization
  • metropolitan governance
  • participatory planning
  • planning for disaster resilience
  • risk analysis
  • rural-urban linkages

Our Sponsors include:

  • Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research CIHR)
  • Government of British Columbia (Various Ministries)
  • Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
  • Infrastructure Canada
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada NSERC)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
  • United Nations Development Program (UNDP)


H. Peter Oberlander photographH. Peter Oberlander, In Memoriam