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 accredited MCRP degree program, and has been designated a noteworthy practice by the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB). See


The ICP Program was a Public Sector finalist in the 2016 Land Awards presented at the Real Estate Foundation of BC Land Awards Gala held October 21, 2016.



ICP program video commissioned by the Real Estate Foundation of BC (a longer version of this video can be found on the ICP website)


Click here to view the 2019/2020 ICP Brochure



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 Mission

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

There are three main components to the ICP Concentration. Pease click on each below to learn more.


Students in the ICP concentration take all MCRP required courses in addition to courses directly related to planning within an Indigenous context.

In first year, ICP students take the following courses during Winter Term 1 and Term 2:

  • PLAN 533 - Indigenous Planning: Ways of Being and Knowing (taught in partnership with Musqueam)
  • PLAN 553 - Indigenous Law, Governance, and Community Planning
  • PLAN 595 - Negotiation, Facilitation and Conflict Resolution for Planners


In second year, ICP students complete one more ICP-specific course in Winter Term 1:

  • PLAN 503 - Planning for Sustainable Community Economic Development

Students also complete a planning practicum (see below for more information), supported by two combined courses running through Winter Term 1 and Term 2:

  • PLAN 526 – The Planning Studio
  • PLAN 528B – The Capstone Project

Together, these two courses make up 12 credits towards the full ICP concentration requirements.


For more information on the ICP concentration requirements and a list of recommended electives, please see the ICP Concentration Course Memo and the MCRP Program Requirements.


Throughout the ICP core curriculum and practicum, we explore the following:

  • 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 and change 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
  • Is it possible to ‘decolonize’ planning? What would this process look like?
  • What is a ‘decolonizing methodology’? What are the ethical and cultural considerations in working with First Nations?
  • What is the role of a non-Indigenous planner in Indigenous community planning and development?

Students are required to complete an internship as part of both ICP and MCRP requirements.  Most students complete their internships during the summer between their first and second year of study.


For students in the ICP concentration, internships may be conducted with any of the following, with supervisor discretion depending on students’ previous experience:

  • An Indigenous community (urban or reserve) or Indigenous organization;
  • An Indigenous-serving organization (e.g. BC Housing, Indigenous Services Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada), as long as the focus of the internship is on working with Indigenous people and/or communities;
  • An Indigenous planning consultant/cy;
  • A non-Indigenous planning consultancy whose work is predominantly with Indigenous communities;
  • A non-Indigenous organization with a mission to decolonize/indigenize (e.g. The Vancouver  Board of Parks and Recreation; municipalities with a stated mission to decolonize their practice, etc.); or
  • Other opportunities that arise related to the decolonizing of planning in Canada or internationally, at the discretion of the chair of the ICP concentration, and depending on students’ prior experience.

The Practicum is a foundational requirement for the Indigenous Community Planning (ICP) concentration and occurs during the second year of study. In small groups (usually pairs) students are engaged in a planning process (typically a comprehensive community plan) through in-community service with an Indigenous community for a period of eight or more months.


Through the Practicum, students:

  • Gain experience in practice using newly developed skills and competencies;
  • Deepen their understanding of Indigenous ways of planning and the challenges of decolonizing Western planning practice;
  • Synthesize their knowledge of planning; and
  • Articulate and reflect on their learning as it is applied in practice.

While the ICP Practicum has the potential to take on a range of forms, it is community-centric in focus, and must be executed in relation to a plan of action and set of outcomes developed between the students and the host Indigenous community.


Indigenous communities that host ICP Practicums can benefit by:

  • Receiving assistance with their community planning process and needs;
  • Increasing planning capacity and skills;
  • Building additional support networks and planning partnerships;
  • Participating in a mutual, collaborative learning environment;
  • Showcasing their planning efforts through SCARP; and
  • Developing a partnership with SCARP to further their community planning efforts.

Indigenous communities or organizations interested in hosting a student practicum should contact Practicum Coordinator Jessie Hemphill ( at the School of Community and Regional Planning to learn more about this opportunity.


Projects ICP students have worked on during their practicums include:

  • Gitksan Government Commission implementation of the housing strategy component of their CCP;
  • Halalt First Nation’s Comprehensive Community Plan;
  • Homalco First Nation’s CCP process and draft plan;
  • Lake Babine Nation’s CCP;
  • Musqueam Indian Band’s community census and CCP updates;
  • Old Massett Village Council’s CCP;
  • Qualicum First Nation’s CCP process
  • Seabird Island’s Sustainable Community Planning (SCP) efforts;
  • Siska First Nation’s CCP process and Plan;
  • Skidegate Band Council’s Comprehensive Community Planning Process;
  • Skidegate Band Council’s Land Use Plan;
  • Sq'éwlets First Nation First Nation’s CCP process and Plan;
  • Stellat'en First Nation’s CCP process and Plan; and
  • Ts’ilqotin National Government’s Community Health and Wellness Plan.

Click here to view an ICP Student Handbook for additional information


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. See here for full bio.
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. See here for full bio.
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. See here for full bio.
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. See here for full bio.
Shauna Johnson – Adjunct Professor
Shauna is an ICP grad and a member of the Ts’awout First Nation, now working with WASANEC. She is a practicum supervisor. See here for full bio
Scott Graham – Adjunct Professor
Scott 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. See here for full bio.
Crystal Reeves – Adjunct Professor
Crystal is a lawyer and Associate with Mandel Pinder LLP and teaches the Indigenous Law, Governance, and Community Planning core course for ICP. See here for full bio.
Aftab Erfan – Adjunct Professor
Aftab 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. See here for full bio.
William Trousdale – Adjunct Professor 
Will 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. See here for full bio.



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.