Summer 2022 - URB 497 E100

Comparative Urban Sustainability International Field Studies (9)

Class Number: 2038

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Location: TBA

  • Prerequisites:

    30 units.



International field school with on campus preparatory seminar sessions. Emphasis is placed upon experiential learning in an international urban setting, drawing informed and reasoned comparisons across cultural, political, social, environmental, economic, and built form contexts, and developing trans-national urban research and professional skills and capacities.


Comparative Urban Sustainability

This course will be run in combination with URB 691.

This course takes a comparative and interdisciplinary approach to urban sustainability. Nordic countries are well-cited in the realm of urban sustainability literature and practice. This circumstance often leads to Nordic terms, policies, and practices being adopted elsewhere. However, while a great amount of literature focuses on Nordic urban sustainability practices and outcomes, this field course offers insights that aim to go beyond the textbook explanations. This course will explore sustainability practices in relation to their linguistic and cultural context, both in the Vancouver region and through selected case examples from the Nordic countries, particularly from the Helsinki region in Finland. The course will include critical insights from local experts on urban sustainability, and include exercises and fieldwork that aim to broaden understandings of how cultural contexts, languages, and histories shape sustainability knowledge and outcomes. The overarching learning objective of this course is to advance an understanding of sustainability beyond familiar knowledge and context.

This field course will encourage participants to think beyond their individual ideas and cultural biases around sustainability. Comparisons between places and concepts will be drawn through interdisciplinary discussions and exercises, and course participants will engage with global issues in an active and experiential manner. Case examples, visiting speakers, and lecture materials will further push participants to think more critically and challenge often taken-for-granted understandings of sustainability.

Course times and location

Due to continued uncertainty from the global pandemic, SFU's Summer 2022 schools have contingency plans in place if the global situation does not permit the planned travel. This will be determined by March 1.

If travel is allowed, preliminary field school sessions will be held in the Vancouver region in May/June (4 meeting times) followed by a field school in the Helsinki region from August 1-12, 2022 (dates subject to change).

In the event that travel is not allowed, this course has two contingency plans, in order of preference:
  1. Deliver the field school locally in the Vancouver region. In this case, the course would meet weekly over the course of the summer term.
  2. Deliver the field school virtually. In this case, the course would meet weekly over the course of the summer term.

If you have any questions about the contingency plans, please email the instructor and see the course website for more information:

This course will be run in combination with URB 691.
Rubric and expectations will be different for graduate and undergraduate students.
Detailed grading scale TBD (as contingency plans may be put in place).

Students may not self-enroll in this course. Instead, students will be enrolled based on their application through the Study Abroad office (deadline: Feb. 15). Successful applicants will have the opportunity to decide whether they wish to travel once the permissibility of travel for the course is determined on March 1.


  • TBD 100%




Course readings will be made available online through Canvas and the SFU Library.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site 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.


Teaching at SFU in summer 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction.  Some courses may be offered through alternative methods (remote, online, blended), and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes. 

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, online, or blended courses 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 ( or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the summer 2022 term.