Fall 2021 - GEOG 363 D100

Urban Planning and Policy (4)

Class Number: 7775

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 8:30 AM – 10:20 AM
    HCC 1800, Vancouver

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 9, 2021
    4:00 PM – 4:00 PM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Leanne Roderick
    Office: RCB 7138
    Office Hours: Office hours will be conducted online through Zoom. Book via www.calendly.com/leanne_roderick
  • Prerequisites:

    At least 45 units, including GEOG 100.



An introduction to the major approaches and key ideas of the professions of urban governance; urban planning and urban policy. Through a focus on contemporary theory, process-based understanding, and specific issues and examples, the course examines key trends and interventions and promotes critical reflection on urban development.


Course Details

Many of our most pressing environmental, social, and economic problems manifest themselves in cities.  The urban scale is where local governments design and implement plans and policies that address these problems.  Things like poverty, infrastructure, sustainability, shelter, basic services, and economic development are all subject to the priorities and plans of city governments.  This course adopts a critical approach that focuses on the intellectual history of urban planning and policy by placing it within theories of power, decolonization, economic geography, racial capitalism, place, and governance.  Drawing on historical and contemporary case studies in Vancouver, this course uses a place-based approach to explore policy issues in urban planning using ideas about sustainability, equity, accountability, and the right to the city.

Course Delivery

GEOG 363 will be delivered in a blended format.  Lectures and tutorials will be held synchronously via Zoom at designated times.  Some weeks (approx. 4-5) of the term, students will have the opportunity to attend class in-person for an outdoor field trip and/or field exercise in either Vancouver or North Vancouver.  If students feel unwell, or are otherwise unable to attend in-person, all content and instructions for the in-person class will be made available for students to complete individually.  For precise details and course schedule, please refer to the syllabus and the course Canvas page.

There will be no tutorials the first week of class.


Learning Outcomes

The course aims to provide you with the skills to become a more discerning and engaged citizen with respect to urban planning and policy.  It offers a wide range of theoretical perspectives, analytical tools, and ideological inclinations within the interdisciplinary terrain of urban planning.  The form of the course is designed to develop and refine undergraduate level writing and critical reading skills in the social sciences.  You will learn to read effectively by identifying core arguments and premises of each reading.  You will learn to synthesize analytical insights across the various required theoretical readings as well as apply them to non-academic insights or ‘case study material’ drawn from the media and real-world case studies.  Upon successful completion of this course, you will:

  • Have formulated sufficient levels of understanding about the history, legal basis, traditions, ethical considerations, and major theories of planning
  • Have applied course knowledge to real-world case studies
  • Have the tools and critical thinking skills necessary for reflecting upon, and engaging with, urban planning and policy
  • Be able to examine and understand actual city plans and policies


  • Urban Planning Case Report (Individual, 5% proposal, 20% final = 25%) 25%
  • Urban Planning creative project (Individual OR Group, 40%) 40%
  • Tutorial Participation (Individual, 15%) 15%
  • Final Exam (take home format) (20%) 20%



Gurstein, P. And T. Hutton.  2019.  Planning on the Edge: Vancouver and the Challenges of Reconciliation, Social Justice, and Sustainable Development.  UBC Press.  PDF ISBN ISBN:9780774861687. 

Available for purchase: https://www.ubcpress.ca/planning-on-the-edge

Other readings available digitally from SFU library, as well as posted on the Canvas course page, as noted in syllabus. 

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.