Summer 2024 - GEOG 363 B100

Urban Planning and Policy (4)

Class Number: 4841

Delivery Method: Blended


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 13, 2024: Mon, TBA

    May 27, 2024: Mon, TBA

    Jun 3, 2024: Mon, TBA

    Jun 10, 2024: Mon, TBA

    Jun 17, 2024: Mon, TBA

    Location: TBA

  • Instructor:

    Leanne Roderick
    Office: RCB7138
    Office Hours: Office hours will be conducted online through Zoom. Book via
  • 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.

*Blended Format for Intersession 2023 note: Students will be required to attend field trips on the following dates and times. Students should expect to pay up to $80 to the Department to cover costs associated with the field trips. These costs include guided tours, interactive workshops with cultural liaisons, and entrance fees.  Be aware that during the field trip there will be periods of walking on uneven ground. Appropriate clothing and footwear must be worn. Students must at all times remain compliant with all student responsibilities, regulations, and policies as outlined in the current Academic Calendar, as well as relevant regulations and policies as outlined in the SFU Policy Gazette. This includes, but is not limited to, expected student conduct and the maintenance of appropriate medical insurance coverage. In order to participate in the field trip, students must sign an Adult Acknowledgement of Risk form, as well as a liability waiver for the company leading the tour. Further details regarding the field trip will be discussed at the beginning of the semester. Please contact the instructor if you have any concerns before enrolling.

  • Week 2 - May 13th, 9:30am – 12pm, Stanley Park
  • Week 4 – May 27th, 9:30am – 12pm, Olympic Village
  • Week 5 – June 3rd, 9:30am – 12 pm, 312 Main/SFU CERi (tentative)
  • Week 6 – June 10th, 9:30am – 12 pm, Chinatown
  • Week 8 – June 17th, 9:30am – 12 pm, Lonsdale Quay/Shipyards, North Vancouver

All lecture content will be delivered online/asynchronously prior to the field trips.  The purpose of this format is to ensure excellent experiential learning opportunities for students while also allowing for adequate travel time to/from the field sites in consideration of student’s time and existing commitments.

Tutorials will be held in person, and attendance is mandatory each week.

There will be no tutorials in the first week of class.


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
  • Recognize the legacy of past planning decisions on contemporary urban landscapes
  • Understand urbanization trends, by analyzing historical and contemporary trends globally
  • Identify factors influencing the spatial distribution of urban areas
  • Evaluate urban policies and their impact on spatial organization and community development
  • Critically assess the effectiveness of policy interventions in addressing urban challenges
  • Demonstrate an understanding of effective community engagement skills, and the role of community input in shaping urban policies and plans
  • Examine sustainability principles and their application for creating environmentally and socially sustainable urban environments
  • Recognize and critically evaluate socio-economic disparities within urban areas
  • Understand the role of governance structures and institutions in shaping urban policies
  • Effectively communicate research findings, policy recommendations, and spatial analyses through written reports, utilizing appropriate professional and academic conventions in communication and citation


  • Tutorial Participation + Self-Assessment 15%
  • Sustainable Neighbourhood Observation (Olympic Village) – Group Project 10%
  • Public Space Audit (Shipyards) – Group Project 10%
  • Urban Planning Case Report – Individual 25%
  • Public Hearing Observation OR Council Meeting Observation – Individual 15%
  • Mapping Community Resources Assignment – Individual 25%



All required material will be made available digitally from SFU library, as well as posted on the Canvas course page, as noted in syllabus. 


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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.


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the term are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.