Concentrations and Areas of Focus

Beyond the common foundation provided by the MCRP core courses, students may choose to gain expertise and experience in a particular domain of planning. While some students will elect to pursue a pre-structured Area of Concentration, others may customize a focus area to reflect their interests.

Whether formal or informal, if developing a focus area or AoC students should select a suite of appropriate courses (minimum 12 credits) in consultation with their faculty advisor. As a general guideline, it is sugged that programs with areas of concentration a combination of courses reflecting broad knowledge, specific skills, in-depth knowledge, and perhaps field experience. 

Areas of Concentration

SCARP has designed the following Areas of Concentration:

Informal Areas of Focus

Comparative Development Planning

The Comparative Development Planning area of concentration represents critical analysis of the development/governance logics, processes, and policies shaping local conditions with respect to ongoing urban transition. The scope of this analysis includes local, regional, national, and global scales.

Comparative Development examines the importance of local knowledge, cultural specificity, and relevance of local political, social, and economic structures and forces, as well as their consequences for local trajectories of socioeconomic change and development. It covers the range of factors (e.g., elites, politics), forces (e.g., agency, capitals, modes of accumulation) and institutions (e.g., states, markets, communities, organizations) whose origins lie beyond the local.

This AoC prepares MCRP students for careers in the fields of local, national, regional, and international development planning, at various levels of:

  • Governance
  • Multilateral and bilateral development agencies
  • Philanthropic foundations
  • Volunteer-based organizations
  • Social enterprises
  • Non-profits
  • Non-government and corporate organizations
Environmental Planning

Environmental Planning is concerned with the interaction of human settlements and the natural environment. Communities and governments make many decisions, policies, and plans that have profound impacts on the health and integrity of social and ecological systems. Environmental Planning responds to this problem, with an overarching goal of helping planners design human settlements in a way that minimizes impacts on natural ecosystems and minimizes risks to humans.

In addition to a general Environmental Planning AoC, some options for customized AoCs include:  Disaster and Risk Management Planning; Environment and Infrastructure Planning; and Environment and Health Planning.

This AoC prepares MCRP students for careers in environmental planning at various levels of government, non-profit organizations, and consulting companies. Graduates of this area have worked in such areas as sustainability planning, climate change adaptation planning, and disaster resilience planning.

Social Planning and Policy for Inclusive Communities

Social Policy and Planning for Inclusive Communities is concerned with the always-uneven impacts of economic growth and change, and thereby of developing innovative ways of addressing urban and regional inequalities. It is also concerned with life-cycle planning issues such as child friendly cities and aging in place. From affordable housing and homelessness to the social integration of immigrants, urban Indigenous voice and wellbeing, accommodating transgender needs and more, the overarching goal is to support the development of inclusive, non-discriminatory communities.

This AoC prepares MCRP students for careers in social planning at various levels of government, Indigenous-serving organizations and communities, philanthropic foundations, volunteer-based organizations, social enterprises, and non-profits such as the Social Planning & Research Council of BC.

In addition to a general Social Planning & Policy for Inclusive Communities AoC, some more options for customized AoCs include:

  • Housing Policy
  • Indigenous Planning
  • Feminist Planning
  • Life Cycle Planning
  • Food Security and Sovereignty
  • Immigrant & Refugee Integration
  • Inclusive Public Engagement
  • Advocacy Planning
Transportation Planning

Transportation Planning is a field of expertise concerning the development of goals, policies, designs, and programs to facilitate the movement of people and goods; at scales ranging from a single street to an entire country.

Transportation planners seek to implement participatory processes through which diverse stakeholders can bring their knowledge, experience, and values to the development of transportation plans. Transportation planning considers a wide array of positive and negative transport system impacts, including community vitality, economic resilience, human health, and the natural environment.

In addition to a general Transportation Planning AoC, some options for customized AoCs include:  Transportation Planning and Health, Transportation and Land Use Planning, and Transportation and Urban Design.

This AoC prepares MCRP students for careers in transportation planning at various levels of government, non-profit organizations, and consulting firms. Graduates of this area have gone on to work in planning departments at various municipalities, transit agencies, and transport consultancies.