Our History

The School of Community and Regional Planning has a rich history as one of the first dedicated planning schools in Canada and one of the larger graduate planning schools in North America. 

Our History as a Timeline

Click the chart below for a larger visual history, or read below for a more narrative chronicle.

More on some key parts of SCARP history
The Centre for Human Settlements

The Centre for Human Settlements (CHS) was a unit within SCARP. It involved faculty and student associates from various departments at UBC in multidisciplinary research and capacity-building programs related to regional, urban, and community development. CHS' many publications disseminated the results of its research and reported on its training and consultancy activities. In 1990, CHS was named a "Centre of Excellence" in human settlements planning by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

The Centre was first 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.

CHS Projects

Research Clusters

  • Urbanization and Planning in Asia
  • International Development Planning Projects
  • Habitat Exchange
  • Social and Community Development Planning
  • Planning for the Resilient City: Emergency Preparedness
  • Transportation, Built Form and Sustainability
  • The 21st Century City


  • Active Transportation Lab Projects
  • Climate Justice Project
  • Developing a conceptual framework for understanding provincial legislative efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in BC
  • Evaluating the Quality of Official Community Plans in Southern British Columbia: Are Municipalities Prepared to Promote Sustainable Development Patterns
  • Habitat Exchange
  • Informality Governance in Peri-Urban SE Asia
  • NEWPATH: Built environment influences on diet, physical activity, and obesity: a transdisciplinary approach
  • Systems under stress: An investigation of community resilience to natural disasters
  • Analyzing Infrastructures for Disaster-Resilient Communities
  • Asian Urban Research Network
  • Community Based Watershed Management in Santo André, S.P., Brazil
  • Education for Democratic Planning in Sri Lanka
  • EMERGENCE: Education and Mapping of Employment Relocation in a Global Economy in the New Communications Environment
  • Gender and Development Network
  • Government Responses to Poverty and Income Inequality and their Effects on Children and Families
  • Hanoi Authority for Planning and Investment
  • Localized Poverty Reduction in Vietnam
  • Mitigation of Extreme Event Risk: The Case of Electric Power
  • Multi-level Governance in Canada: the Vancouver Essay
  • New Public Consortia for Metropolitan Governance, Brazil (NPC Project)
  • Neighbourhood Planning in Quanzhou, Fujian, China
  • Project for Promoting Participatory Budgeting in Canada: Building Community Capacity for Deliberative Local Governance in the Greater Vancouver Region
  • Social dynamics of economic performance: Innovation and creativity in city-regions
  • Sustainable Water Resources Management in the Beijing-Tianjin Region, China
  • The role of Coastal Ecosystem Degradation in Tsunami Damage

Resources for CHS materials