Part-time, in class Urban Design Certificate

Our graduates

Our urban design graduates work in communities throughout Western Canada in dozens of professions:

  • Urban planning, architecture, and landscape architecture
  • Engineering and real estate development
  • Transportation
  • Public office and government administration
  • Biology, agrology, and environmental professions
  • Law and finance
  • Non-profit sector and community work
    • Karim Jiwa

      Urban Design graduate Karim has become inspired to contribute more to his community.
      Read more

    • Robin Jenkinson

      A trained biologist, this hardworking grad has made the move from restoring salmon streams to improving her urban surroundings.
      Read more

What our students are saying

Jamie McEwanJamie McEwan, Community Development Manager, District of Lake Country, BC

"SFU's Urban Design Certificate offers outstanding opportunities to learn from experts in the field from across private and public organizations. The courses themselves combine high-level theory with practical exercises to build hands-on skills.

In my current role, I frequently refer to the course materials and use the skills that I built through participating in the program. In addition, the studios and the time spent sharing with classmates fosters long-lasting relationships."

Pat RossPatrick Ross, Manager, Planning & Building Services, City of Whitehorse

"As planners in a northern community, we often find ourselves challenged in the world of urban design planning due to geographical isolation. This course provides a great opportunity to network with professionals of various disciplines and to hear how other municipalities are achieving success in urban design initiatives.

The instructor's passion for their topics is infectious and their experience provides invaluable perspective. The courses are well paced and structured and come with a good balance of reference material and valuable hands-on tools that you can take away and apply in your own work environment. The design studios emulate actual design team exercises that focus on design issues of exciting new development areas. These studios challenge you to utilize both your own personal strengths along with the knowledge gained from the program courses and then make presentations to the actual planning authorities of the area. If you're looking to re-kindle your passion for urban design and planning—this is your program!"

Daniel LealDaniel Leal, M.Arch, MUP, MBA, Urban Design Advisor (Architect), Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo

"If you are thinking on getting a specialized focus on Urban Design at the beginning of your career, or pushing for a strong boost to your mid-career pathway, the SFU's Urban Design Certificate is definitely the very best option I've found all across Canada, for several reasons.

  • The professors are incredibly practical, dynamic, challenging, personable and true facilitators to spark the best out of their students. They healthfully set the design bar pretty high, but on parallel, they provide abundant Best Practices examples, a team-building methodology, and perhaps most valuable, their own hands-on experience.
  • The materials provided (books, articles and other references) are simply of the highest quality and applicability in a daily working basis.
  • The SFU "facilities", which in this Program are both indoor (campuses) and outdoor (key examples all across MetroVancouver) are as varied as incomparable.
  • And the people you meet. One of the best assets of the Certificate is the diverse and highly-motivated peers you meet. Deep and fast-paced activities make you expand your best team-building strategies and tactics. Somehow, you feel you've been working with them for years, and become life-long professional colleagues.

In my case, being in my forties and after 20 years of practice, I have noticed a real update and uplift on my designing skills, at all levels: graphical, analytical, creative and problem-solving skills. All of them has made me being much more confident in my work, staying at the best North American practices level, and broadening my range of ways to approach different internal and external Stakeholders. For all this, I can only recommend the SFU's Urban Design Certificate with the best of my Professional Advice."

Arnaud LuizLuiz Arnaud, Architectural Project Manager, Heritage Office Furnishings

"I have no hesitation in recommending Urban Design Certificate. As an architect, the course definitely refreshed my knowledge and design techniques , especially in studio courses. Instructors and program staff created a friendly atmosphere and using Vancouver as a design/urban lab was great. I am a proud alumnus of the Urban Design program."

Paula Leyton Paula Leyton, architect, head of Urban Development Department, Ministry of Housing and Town Planning, Chile

"Coming from Chile, it's been a great opportunity to take the Urban Design Certificate. As an architect, the program definitely increased my knowledge and gives me new tools of planning and design techniques in such a good way that I feel more confidence that it's possible to apply the principles in my country. The instructors were very professional, and Vancouver is a great lab for understanding the city."

Mark Hornell Mark Hornell, assistant director, Community Planning, City of Victoria Planning and Development Department

"For someone who has spent most of his career in policy planning, the opportunity to engage with active designers and tackle hands-on physical design problems, particularly through studios and assignments, helped fill a gap in my skill set and reconnect me with what brought me to planning in the first place: physical planning and design aimed at creating more livable communities."

Scott Watson Scott Watson, LArch, BCSLA, park planner and designer, City of Abbotsford

"SFU's Urban Design Certificate would benefit any municipal employee in urban design, planning, or park planning. The program brings together a wide assortment of professionals and others who have an interest in the challenges that we as society face today. You not only learn from instructors who are passionate about what they teach, you also get to build on relevant skills from meaningful assignments and studios."

Jacqueline P. Ashby Jacqueline P. Ashby, BA, MEd

"The program is comprehensive, accessible, and applicable to many disciplines and professions. As community members, we have a responsibility to understand how our built environments are developed, what informs the process, the impact these surroundings have on our behaviour and attitudes toward each other, and how our contributions can influence the global community at large."

Harry Harker Harry Harker, BSc, MSc, MCIP, community and planning services director, Red Deer County, and past president, Planning Institute of British Columbia

"The Urban Design Certificate is the closest equivalent in Canada to an executive MBA for planners. The instructors cut to the chase and deliver immediately applicable skills and knowledge that directly benefit both students and their employers."

“Great exposure to the essentials of urban design and a great way to network with others in the industry. As a municipal employee, I found it very helpful to discover how other municipalities were addressing common issues.”

Chris Conner, Project Manager at City of Calgary

“The design insights taken away are second only to the insights gained from connecting with planners and professionals from across the province.”

Brent Elliot, Manager of Community Planning at CitySpaces Consulting

“This course has been an excellent mid-career compliment to my work in LEED Neighbourhood Development as well as general interest in urban environmental issues and sustainable city design. The courses have been well taught, interactive, engaging and there has been ample additional reading material provided. Networking with fellow professionals and learning about the diversity of the industry has also been incredible beneficial.”

Shane O'Hanlon, Sustainability Advisor at Cobalt Engineering

“The Urban Design Certificate has a practical and thought provoking curriculum that lets you interact and learn with a wide array of like-minded professionals. The skills and techniques are applicable to the planning and development industry, and if practiced, provide a comprehensive and efficient production model for client deliverables. On top of this, the program team and instructors are passionate, engage the class, and make the whole experience easy-going and enjoyable. Highly recommended.”

Breelyn Gray, Planner at Stantec

“Urban Design is great program. The curriculum and teaching styles are very effective. It provides continuing education opportunities for professionals to build upon their individual experiences. Application of Urban Design theory, principles, tools and techniques in studio courses was one of my best experiences. These fabulous courses stimulate my creativity, and inspired me to think differently about our cities. I highly recommend it.”

Hylkije Gollopeni

“The SFU Urban Design program creates a great learning environment, that examines the fundamentals of urban design through in-depth course lectures and walking tours hosted by experts in the field. It's a great way to see what has been done and how to do it. I found this to be a valuable experience.”

Carol-Ann Beswick, Project Manager at City of Calgary


“My urban design education has had direct impact on a number of developments and policy documents. It is an excellent program.”

Ian McIntosh, manager of Development Services, District of Summerland

“My experience with the City Program has been compelling and immediately relevant to my work. The instructors are consistently of high quality, and Vancouver is a fantastic laboratory for the study of urban design.”

George Adams, urban design manager, City of Austin, Texas

“The Urban Design Certificate has played a key role in my professional development by providing me with the tools to take my urban design skills to the next level. The instructors are first-rate and the participants are all passionate professionals committed to excellence in urban design. The dynamic, multidisciplinary approach creates a synergy in the classroom that is palpable and energizing, and also serves as a model for the 'new urban design.' This program is a must for anyone involved in the planning, design, and building of communities.”

Juan Estepa, SALA, CSLA, ASLA, coordinator of landscape design, City of Regina

“For civil engineers in the public realm, technical excellence is expected. Of equal importance is a thorough understanding of social and ecological issues of urban design. This design series provides necessary background in an interactive learning medium. The communication skills enhancement alone makes this fabulous course vital to engineers who believe in a presence at the decision making table.”

David Grigg, BSc (Hons), APEGBC, associate director, University of British Columbia Campus and Community Planning

“The program is inspirational, skills-based, and highly transferable to municipalities at every stage in their urban design 'evolution,' from Vancouver to Calgary and anywhere a quality public realm is valued. Calgary's partnership has already resulted in better built projects, policy, and design dialogue.”

Brent Toderian, MCIP, director of planning, City of Vancouver; former Calgary manager of centre city planning and design

“I have worked as a planner in Edmonton for over 30 years and sensed that something was missing in our evaluation of projects. This program helped fill the missing link... it gives the student the tools, the language, and the confidence necessary to articulate what needs to happen when evaluating new development, and directing where change needs to occur.”

Paula Ainsley, principal planner, City of Edmonton

“The Urban Design Certificate provides an important continuing education opportunity for practitioners to build upon their individual expertise and develop an additional highly relevant skill set. ”

Dave Witty, PhD, MRAIC, FCIP, former dean, School of Architecture, University of Manitoba

“The value of the Urban Design Certificate is that the principles learned are transferable and applicable to development in rural areas as well as in urban situations.”

Gerard LeBlanc, MCIP, general manager, Community Planning Services Regional District of Comox-Strathcona

“Hand-picked instructors working in the field deliver practical applications of the theories of quality urban design. These courses stimulated my creativity and encouraged out-of-the-box thinking in an environment that promotes lively interaction among the students and the instructors. A great program!”

Debra Bodner, BA, heritage consultant, City of Nanaimo

“The City Program increased my understanding of city planning and urban design in such a way that I can now make better decisions about shaping my community’s future.”

Douglas B. McLean, BComm, MA, city councillor, City of White Rock

“By working with a diverse group of professionals in a high-energy, dynamic, and creative environment, we are able to take an integrated, hands-on approach to addressing a variety of urban design challenges on live sites. This program has helped me develop the skills and knowledge that have universal applicability in building better places, neighbourhoods, towns, and cities.”

John Madden, planner, City of Vancouver

“SFU has introduced an excellent urban design program for career professionals interested in this field. The curriculum and teaching styles are extremely effective, particularly the emphasis on the use of design studios to illustrate the application of urban design theory and technique in complex settings. It offers good value-added education that planners will want to take advantage of.”

Mark Head, principal planner, Region of Peel, Ontario