Undergraduate Courses

SCARP is pleased to offer a dynamic suite of undergraduate courses that will provide a range of diverse approaches to the understanding of our urbanizing world. These courses could serve as complementary electives to various undergraduate programs of study that include but are not limited to Civil Engineering, Geography, Global Resource Systems, Media Studies, Political Science, Real Estate, Sociology, and Urban Forestry.

For course dates and times, please visit the UBC Course Schedule

For more information on how to register for these courses, please contact info.scarp@ubc.ca

Undergraduate Courses Offered

PLAN 211 - City Making: A Global Perspective
Course Instructor: Su-Jan Yeo
Prerequisites: This course is open to students with second year standing or above in any program.

PLAN 211 Course Summary

In 2008 the world’s urban population tipped the scales for the first time in human history, marking the significant prevalence and propulsion of cities. As cities continue to increase in size and number, the more we need to better understand the implications of rapid urbanization on cultural and technological development; and, conversely, how “tech culture” might impact the future of cities. This interdisciplinary course will provide an introduction to the global phenomenon of city-making as explored against the backdrop of culture and technology. The course will culminate in a City-Making Ideathon Challenge—a collaborative and creative platform towards generating idea solutions to a real-world problem through hands-on transference of skills and knowledge. 


PLAN 221 - City Visuals
Course Instructor: Erick Villagomez
Prerequisites: This course is open to students with second year standing or above in any program.

PLAN 221 Course Summary 

An exploratory journey through the vast world of visualizing the city. How has our way of understanding and representing cities evolved from old parchment maps to dynamic real-time data capture with user-interactive visualizations of urban regions? How do we represent spatial data and what do we use, when and how? Gain a historical understanding of how the city has been represented visually, as well as the fundamentals of representation types and information design, in the service of reading and interpreting visualizations of the city. Future creators and consumers of city visuals will be exposed to the data sources and production processes behind a wide variety of representations including; videos, maps, diagrams, plans, charts, fly-through animations, interactive graphics, and comics. Experiential exercises will allow students to comprehend and use the principles for creating clear and powerful graphic narratives of the city.


PLAN 321 - Indigeneity and the City
Course Instructor: Kamala Todd
Prerequisites: This course is open to students with third-year standing or above in any program. Second year students may be admitted with permission of instructor.

PLAN 321 Course Summary

Indigenous City: Conversations in decolonizing planning 

North American cities were built upon Indigenous lands, and the violent dispossession and attempted erasure of the pre-existing Indigenous societies--and their laws, governance, knowledge systems, languages, cultural practices, etc. We are living with the consequences of erasure and mistreatment of the First Peoples and their lands and waters. In recent years, Vancouver has made many commitments to reconciliation, including formally acknowledging that the City was built on unceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh lands. How can such declarations translate into decolonizing policies and approaches? This class will critically examine the assumptions, narratives, and colonial relations entrenched into the city, and listen to other voices, knowledges, and experiences within the overall movement to decolonize urban planning. Indigenous people’s perspectives on community, land use, governance, etc. will form the foundation of this inquiry, as we analyze planning and practice within the Metro Vancouver context.


PLAN 331 - The Just City in a Divided World
Course Instructor: Nora Angeles
Prerequisites: This course is open to UBC students in 3rd year and above, regardless of prior experience. Second year students may be admitted with permission of instructor.

PLAN 331 Course Summary

Cities are often posited as locations of density and agglomeration effects; they exist as necessary hubs for people to come together and share in production and exchange. However, this conception of the urban lacks any normative value. It fails to ask questions such as “Who do cities benefit?”, “Why are those benefits allocated across the population in particular ways?”, and “How do citizens, institutions, and the market negotiate urban values and trajectories?” At the heart of these questions, and the course itself, is the notion of justice. Cities are crucibles of justice, and the craft of city-making requires understanding how spatial and cultural contingencies produce a broad range of expected and unexpected outcomes for urban citizens.


PLAN 341 - Smart Cities: Concepts, Methods & Design
Course Instructor: Martino Tran
Prerequisites: This course is open to students with third year standing or above in any program. Second year students may be admitted with permission of instructor.

PLAN 341 Course Summary

This course is an introduction to the technological and policy challenges and opportunities in the emerging field of Smart Cities. It will begin with a high level policy analysis of current challenges facing cities around the world including population growth, urbanization, social well-being, economic development and climate change. The course will also provide an overview of key concepts, tools and frameworks to assess the sustainability impacts of Smart Cities including: urban metrics and indicators, big-data analysis, and applications in urban modelling and simulation. There will be a focus on how data-driven analytics, and technological and social innovation can help address urban policy challenges and inform evidence-based decision-making.


PLAN 351 - Green Cities
Course Instructor: James Connolly
Prerequisites: This course is open to students with third year standing or above in any program. Second year students may be admitted with permission of instructor.

PLAN 351 Course Summary

Green cities are essential for managing global environmental change. For many cities, the path toward greening is one of lower greenhouse gases; protection from ecological hazards; higher quality of life; and economic growth. Green cities value ecosystem functions and seek to harmonize development with nature. They also provide ways of adapting to and mitigating climate change. However, the rollout of green cities generates social and ecological feedbacks with unintended consequences. As a result, it may simultaneously remove and expose (if not expand) barriers to a healthier connection between humans and the ecosystem.

This course will examine green cities as a planning problematic: simultaneously essential for addressing global environmental degradation and part of urbanization processes that have fueled that degradation. We will examine the key historical, conceptual, and applied aspects of urban greening in cities throughout the world, with an emphasis on North America. As we develop our understanding of how, why, and under what conditions green cities take shape, we will examine both process and outcome – questioning overly-simple descriptions of the urban greening agenda. We will uncover what we mean by green cities; why we need green cities; and how we make green cities, given the challenges and opportunities.


PLAN 425 - Urban Planning Issues and Concepts
Course Instructor: Louisa May Khoo
Prerequisites: This course is open to third- and fourth-year students with interest in urban planning.

PLAN 425 Course Summary

A general introduction to some of the main concepts, challenges, and debates in community and regional planning, both as a professional practice and as a process of social and political intervention in space. At its heart, planning is an action-oriented and problem-oriented activity. As a profession, planners use well-defined tools such as zoning by-laws, citizen engagement, and land-use policies to manage a wide range of issues, including transportation, housing, real estate development, community-building, and the allocation of social services, which affect our everyday lives in communities, cities, and regions. As a general practice by ordinary citizens, planning operates in complex social and political environments that are shaped by local, regional, national, and transnational forces. This course aims to critically engage students with the multiple meanings, practices, and tools that shape the field of community and regional planning.