Indigenous Community Planning (ICP) Concentration in MCRP


Honoured friends and relatives,
As Chief of Musqueam Indian Band, I welcome the Community and Regional Planning students that have come to the University of British Columbia, located on the traditional, unceded lands of hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking Musqueam people.
Through a strong partnership, the SCARP program incorporates Musqueam’s award-winning Comprehensive Community Plan (CCP):
nə́c̓aʔmat tə šxʷqʷeləwən ct (We are of One Heart and Mind). First created in 2011 and updated in 2018, we are working hard to implement the Musqueam CCP recommendations and realize our community vision.
Whether you are new to this territory or have lived here for many years, on behalf of Musqueam, I hope you enjoy your time learning and living in Vancouver.
Thank you all, hay ce:p q̓ə
Chief Wayne Sparrow



The Indigenous Community Planning (ICP) Program is a concentration within the dual-accredited MCRP degree program, and has been designated a noteworthy practice by the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB).

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Overview of ICP


Indigenous peoples everywhere have been stewards of their lands and resources, planned their communities, and passed on teachings since time immemorial. The Musqueam people revitalized this tradition in 2011 by creating a Comprehensive Community Plan (CCP). In February 2013, Musqueam’s CCP was recognized by and included on UN Habitat’s website as a Best Practice plan for sustainable community development.

SCARP is honoured to be in a teaching and learning partnership with the Musqueam Indian Band in the design and delivery of the ICP concentration. This concentration attracts both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, from a range of academic and professional backgrounds, who want to work with Indigenous communities. Ten committed students are accepted each year to enter into this concentration.

ICP was a Public Sector finalist in 2016's Land Awards
ICP video commissioned by the Real Estate Foundation of BC


Our intent is to train a new generation of community planners who will break with the colonial legacy and culture of planning in order to work in respectful partnership with Indigenous communities.

We seek to equip emerging community planners with the necessary theory, skills, knowledge, and capacity to support Indigenous communities in achieving their own aspirations for land stewardship, cultural revitalization, strong governance, health and well-being. 

Our approach is grounded in community and land-based learning, emphasizes mutual and transformative learning, and integrates these principles with grounding in Indigenous worldviews (ways of being, knowing, and doing).

Our scope is Canada-wide, but focuses on practical learning with/in First Nations communities in BC, where historical legacies as well as current political, economic and demographic realities present numerous complex issues, including governance, resource management, land use, health, education and employment.

ICP Concentration Design


Students in ICP complete a modified set of general MCRP requirements plus a set of ICP-specific requirements. Foremost, this includes undergoing a Practicum (instead of the Planning Studio) which partners pairs of students with an Indigenous community for eight or more months to work on a planning project (typically a comprehensive community plan).

ICP students complete the program requirements over two academic years and six academic terms.

Throughout the ICP core curriculum and practicum, students will explore:

  • The meaning and significance of Indigenous planning as a re-emerging theory of action among Indigenous community planners, civic leaders, and professionals
  • Values underpinning Indigenous approaches to community development
  • How an Indigenous planning paradigm challenges existing planning practice in Canada
  • How mainstream planning needs to adapt to achieve recognition of and justice for Indigenous peoples
  • Challenges faced by First Nations in BC when implementing projects in their communities
  • The impacts of surrounding jurisdictions (municipal, provincial and federal) on Indigenous planning
  • The impacts of First Nations community development (social and economic) on surrounding jurisdictions
  • Knowledge and skills needed for working with/in an Indigenous community
  • Concepts, praxis, methodology, and ethical/cultural considerations regarding decolonizing planning
  • The role of non-Indigenous planners in Indigenous community planning and development

The Future of MCRP and ICP

SCARP has updated the course requirements for all future sessions of the MCRP program, in order to keep pace with a rapidly-changing world and the range of problems that planners try to solve. These updates were shaped by a consultation between SCARP faculty, students, alumni, and the Canadian Institute of Planners and the American Planning Association.

The updated program addresses some of the biggest challenges facing society today, including climate change, systemic injustice, and planning for more resilient communities; as well as ongoing efforts to repair relationships with Indigenous people and decolonize planning in Canada. 

The updated program is in effect as of the 2022/2023 academic year. Students enrolled in September 2021 will not be held to the updated requirements, and can proceed as per their established program plan. 
Course Requirements & Recommendations

Required Courses (ICP-specific requirements bolded)




PLAN 503Strategic Planning for Community Economic Development3
PLAN 508Foundations of Planning Theory and History3
PLAN 509Urbanism as a Global Way of Life2
PLAN 510Environment and Sustainability Concepts for Planning Practice2
PLAN 521Quantitative Skills for Planners3
PLAN 522Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis2
PLAN 523The Profession of Planning2
PLAN 524Legal Concepts for Professional Planning2
PLAN 525Planning Practice Methods2
PLAN 526Selected Topics in Experiential Learning: The Planning Studio6
PLAN 528BCapstone Professional Report6
PLAN 533Indigenous Community Planning: Ways of Being & Knowing3
PLAN 553Indigenous Law and Governance3
PLAN 595Negotiation, Facilitation, and Mediation: Principle & Practices3
Total credits:42

Recommended Courses 


At Other UBC Departments

Outside of BC

PLAN 548H (3 credits)
Current Issues in Planning: Short Film Production
FNIS 501A (3 credits)
Indigenous Theory and Method(ologies)
SFU – REM 606
Indigenous People and Co-management
PLAN 530 (3 credits)
Affordable Housing Policy and Planning
FRST 522 (4 credits)
Social, Community, and Indigenous Forestry
SFU – REM 607
Indigenous Governance and Resource Relationships
PLAN 531 (3 credits)
Planning for Disaster Resilient Communities
GPP 544 (3 credits)
Economic Foundations of Environmental Policies
PLAN 501 (3 credits)
Planning and Reconciliation
FNIS 452 101 (3 credits)
Indigenous Social Movements
 GPP 591 (3 credits)
Special Topics in Public Policy – Power & Practice
 GPP 507 (3 credits)
Environmental Law and Policy Frameworks
 SOWK 440C/529A 001 (3 credits)
Communities, Social Development, and Community Organizing
 CONS 528 (3 credits)
Social Science Research Methods and Design for Natural Resource Management
Course Structure

Year 1 Term 1

Year 1 Term 2

Year 1 Summer

Year 2 Term 1

Year 2 Term 2

Year 2 Summer

PLAN 508PLAN 509PLAN 527APLAN 523  
PLAN 510PLAN 522 PLAN 526 / PLAN 528BPLAN 526 / PLAN 528B 
PLAN 521PLAN 524 PLAN 503  
PLAN 525PLAN 553    
PLAN 533PLAN 595    
Required Courses (as of 2022/2023 academic year)
CodeCreditsDescriptionRequired for
Required for
PLAN 5003Comparative Perspectives on Planning History and FuturesXX
PLAN 5013Reconciliation and PlanningX 
PLAN 5023Sustainability and Resilience in PlanningXX
PLAN 5043Urban Design and Visual RepresentationXX
PLAN 5053Planning Theory, Values, and EthicsXX
PLAN 5063Information and Analysis in PlanningXX
PLAN 5073Engagement and Facilitation for PlannersXX
PLAN 5113The Legal and Institutional Context of PlanningXX
PLAN 5123Urban Economics, Infrastructure, and Real Estate Issues in PlanningX 
PLAN 5133Making and Implementing Community and Regional PlansX 
PLAN 5143Indigenous Planning: Ways of Being, Knowing, and Doing X
PLAN 5153Indigenous Law, Governance, and Community Planning X
PLAN 5163Planning for Community Economic Development X
PLAN 5406Planning PraxisX 
PLAN 5416Planning StudioX 
PLAN 54312Indigenous Community Planning Practicum X
TOTAL CREDITS (not including elective requirements):4242
ELECTIVE COURSES (no more than 6 credits may be at the undergraduate level, i.e., 300/400):1818
Electives (as of 2022/2023 academic year)

Electives can be courses within SCARP or in other departments that relate to the student’s interests. No more than 6 credits of undergraduate-level (300-400) courses will count towards your MCRP program.

Some recommended electives outside of SCARP

Please note:

  • Some courses will need to contact the course instructor and/or department offering the course for permission to be registered
  • Course offering and availability are subject to change by the School offering the course. 
Offered Where
Course Name
At other UBC deptsANTH 540AAdvanced Seminar - Sacred Geography 
APBI 361Key Indicators of Agroecosystem Sustainability 
BAPA 580Topics in Policy Analysis 
BAUL 500Real Estate Markets 
CIVL 598PPedestrian and Bicycle Facility Design 
COM 486XUrban Resilience 
CONS 528Social Science Research Methods and Design for Natural Resource Management3
FISH 506FTraditional Ecological Knowledge in the Fisheries Management - Current Topics in Fisheries 
FISH 506GEconomic Foundations oof Environmental Policies 
FNIS 501AIndigenous Theory and Method(ologies)3
FRST 522Social, Community, and Indigenous Forestry4
FRST 551Landscape Planning for Sustainability 
GEOG 535International Migration and Settlement 
GEOG 560AEconomic Geography 
GPP 507Environmental Law and Policy Frameworks3
GPP 541Policy Dimensions of Energy Systems 
GPP 543Sustainable Water Systems 
GPP 544Economic Foundations of Environmental Policies3
GPP 581Behavioural Foundations for Public Policy 
GPP 582Public Engagement in Policy Decisions 
GPP 584Policy Responses to Global Climate Change 
GPP 591ADesigned Leadership for Change3
GPP 591CLind Initiative Seminar3
GPP 591DSpecial Topics in Public Policy3
GPP 591NPower and Practice3
GRSJ 415Critical Racial and Anti-Colonial Feminist Approaches 
GRSJ 511Difficult Knowledge: Ethics and Pracis of Research in Challenging Settings 
LARC 553Green Network Planning 
LARC 582AutoCAD Workflow for Landscape Architecture Construction 
RES 520Climate Change: Science, Technology, and Sustainable Development 
SOCI 423Sociology of Food 
SOCI 425Urban Sociology 
SOCI 540Social Inequality 
SOIL 516Urban Watershed Management 
SOIL 518Water in International Development 
/529A 001
Communities, Social Development, and Community Organizing3
SPPH 552Risk and Communication in Public Health 
UDES 505Urban Design as Public Policy: Policymaking for a Sustainable Region 
UFOR 495Biodiversity in Urban Areas 
URSY 510Urban Systems and Society 
URSY 520Urban Systems Planning and Analysis 
URSY 550Infrastructure Asset Management 
Courses can be taken at other universities through the Western Deans' agreement.
SFUREM 606Indigenous People and Co-Management 
REM 607Indigenous Governance and Resource Relationships 
Course Structure (as of 2022/2023 academic year)
Year 1 Term 1Year 1 Term 2Year 1 SummerYear 2 Term 1Year 2 Term 2Year 2 Summer
PLAN 500PLAN 505 PLAN 516PLAN 511Elective(s)
PLAN 502PLAN 506 ----------PLAN 543----------
PLAN 504PLAN 507    
PLAN 514PLAN 515    

More information:

    The People of ICP

    ICP Graduates

    Graduates from the ICP concentration work for Indigenous nations, at local municipal planning departments, provincial and federal agencies, consulting firms, and non-profit organizations. Graduates from the ICP concentration have found work within a range of communities and organizations including:

    • Beringia Community Planning Inc.
    • Castlemain Group
    • City of Edmonton
    • City of Vancouver
    • City of Victoria
    • Department of Fisheries and Oceans
    • EcoPlan International
    • First Nations Health Authority
    • First Nations Land Management Resource Centre
    • Hupacasath First Nation
    • Indigenous Services Canada
    • Kwikwetlem First Nation
    • Musqueam Indian Band
    • Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund
    • Ontario Trillium Foundation
    • Province of British Columbia
    • Sahtu Land Use Planning Board
    • Squamish Nation
    • Sumas First Nation
    • Taku River Tlingit First Nation
    • The Firelight Group
    • Toquaht Nation
    • Tsleil Waututh Nation
    • University of British Columbia
    • University of Calgary
    • Urban Native Youth Association
    • Vancouver Coastal Health
    ICP Faculty Team
    • Leona Sparrow – Adjunct Professor
      Leona Sparrow is the Treaty, Lands and Resources Director at Musqueam Indian Band. Leona is instrumental in the relationship between SCARP and Musqueam and also serves as Knowledge Holder in residence for ICP.

    • Leonie Sandercock – Professor and Chair
      Leonie Sandercock has worked in partnership with the Musqueam Nation to design and deliver the ICP curriculum and establish the financial support for the ICP program, which she chaired from 2012-20, and now co-chairs with Dr. Maggie Low.

    • Maggie Low Assistant Professor
      Maggie Low is a community engaged scholar and Indigenous planner who has worked with First Nations and Indigenous organizations across Canada. She joined SCARP in 2019 and now co-chairs ICP.

    • Jessie Hemphill Part-time Instructor
      Jessie Hemphill is an Indigenous Planner with over 10 years of professional planning and facilitation experience with Indigenous communities across Canada. She is a partner at Alderhill Planning, an Indigenous consultancy, and joined SCARP in 2019 as the ICP Practicum Instructor and as a practicum supervisor.

    • Shauna Johnson Adjunct Professor
      Shauna Johnson is an ICP grad and a member of the Ts’awout First Nation, now working with WASANEC. She is a practicum supervisor.

    • Scott Graham – Adjunct Professor
      Scott Graham is Associate Director and Director of Research with the Social Planning & Research Council of BC and has worked extensively with BC First Nations. Scott is a Practicum supervisor.

    • Crystal Reeves – Adjunct Professor
      Crystal Reeves is a lawyer and Associate with Mandel Pinder LLP and teaches the Indigenous Law, Governance, and Community Planning core course for ICP.

    • Aftab ErfanAdjunct Professor
      Aftab Erfan is a PhD grad of SCARP and Manager of Dialogue and Conflict Engagement at UBC. She teaches the Negotiation, Facilitation, and Conflict Resolution core course for ICP.

    • William Trousdale – Adjunct Professor 
      Will Trousdale is the Principal and founder of EcoPlan International, an award-winning Vancouver-based consultancy. Will teaches the Strategic Planning for Sustainable Community Economic Development core course for ICP.

    More ICP Infosources:


    SCARP gratefully acknowledges funding from the Real Estate Foundation of BC (2012-2022); Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) (2016-2021); the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund of UBC (2011-2014); and the Faculty of Applied Science, without whose generous support this program would not exist.