Spring 2023 - URB 630 G100

Urban Development, Planning and Policy (4)

Class Number: 3995

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 4 – Apr 11, 2023: Tue, 5:30–9:20 p.m.



The focus of this course is the evolving relationship between state interventions into the city, and dynamics of urban development. The class emphasizes the historical context to urban planning and policy, with particular reference to the Canadian city.


When I began teaching this course in the early 2000s, the story of Vancouver’s development and planning was one of celebration and triumph. “The Vancouver Achievement,” as its planning and development paradigm was called by author John Punter, had put Vancouver on the map as a promising model for cities in the global and neoliberal era that could be dense yet liveable, sustainable yet competitive, collaborative with and responsive to the need of locals yet attractive to  global capital and migrants, and able to extract community amenities from real estate developers who nevertheless scrambled for the chance to build.  Today, the story is more complicated, as the city struggles with enormous challenges of affordability and inequality wrought in part by the Vancouver planning and development paradigm; the city’s “green” slogan has been questioned, especially in the context of a growing climate emergency; and as Indigenous and Black Vancouverites have come to the table, challenging the status quo as intervenors, planners, and developers.

The course will use the Vancouver story as a backdrop to understand many of the dominant practices, paradoxes, opportunities, and challenges of contemporary urban planning and development in the global North.


  • Participation 25%
  • 2 position papers 30%
  • Teaching facilitation 15%
  • Case study 30%



We will be reading a wide variety of journal articles, book chapters, and urban planning, and policy documents. All will be available electronically, via the SFU Library, the course Canvas site, or the internet.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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