Theory and Practice

Our buildings and spaces need to fit our urban, social, and economic environments. This intensive urban design course draws from many disciplines—architecture, ecology, economics, engineering, real estate development, landscape architecture, planning, and sociology—to find that fit.

Drawing on the experience and insight of many specialists who play a role in urban design, as well as our students' individual and collective knowledge, we’ll use the city as our studio for the careful examination of space and built form.

Note: You will have up to four months to complete the take-home assignment.

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Online - Frank Ducote
Michael von Hausen
$700.00 41 Register
Online - Frank Ducote
Michael von Hausen
$700.00 43 Register

Schedule clarification: This course begins on the first date listed and ends six days after the last date listed. Between those times, you work at your own pace within the timelines set by the instructor.

What will I learn?

In this course, you will do the following:

  • Review the history and principles of urban design and place-making
  • Learn a methodology (i.e. The Place Test) for site evaluation and context analysis to improve your visual awareness
  • Apply what you learn to a live site, addressing key elements like built form and massing, public realm, green considerations, and mobility
  • Explore the differences and similarities of suburban and rural urban design
  • Discuss new, emerging elements of urban design
  • Explore Vancouver's successes and lessons through a walking tour of key sites in downtown Vancouver

How will I learn?

  • Lectures
  • Virtual site tours
  • Case studies
  • Site analysis
  • Small group discussions and exercises
  • Group presentations
  • Assignments

What are people saying about this course?

"Wonderful opportunity to learn! New concepts, new vocabulary, new lens, new point of view. I feel enriched."
–Gill Wilson, Project Manager, Sustainable Transportation, City of Ottawa

"Exactly what I wanted! Exceeded my expectations. Loved all of the exercises and how it all came together in the end."

"Great, positive energy! Wonderful to be around this level of passion for this facet of urban design."

"Great workshop. Very useful skills acquired here."

Who should take this course?

  • Planners, architects, and landscape architects
  • Engineers, real estate developers, and building technicians
  • Elected officials and local government administrators
  • NGO staff, financiers, and lawyers
  • Community organizers and advocates

How will I be evaluated?

Your grade will be based on a post-course assignment.

Textbooks and learning materials

We will provide custom course materials that you can access using SFU's online course management system, Canvas. You will receive course details and Canvas access instructions before the first day of the course.

Hardware and software requirements

You will need a computer that connects to the internet so that you can access Canvas, our online course management system. You can check if your browser is compatible with Canvas here. We recommend you use Google Chrome or Firefox.

You can find more information on online-supported learning on our About Online Learning page.

Professional development credits

AIBC CES participants, PIBC members and BCSLA members may self-report for continuing education learning unit consideration.

Related program(s)

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