Summer 2023 - GEOG 363 D100

Urban Planning and Policy (4)

Class Number: 2649

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 8 – Jun 19, 2023: Mon, 9:30 a.m.–1:20 p.m.

  • 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.


This is an INTERSESSION course. That means that the course load value is twice the units because, in the shorter session, classes must meet twice as often or for longer periods to equal the regular term. You can find more information here:

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.

Intersession 2023 note: Students will be working closely with the ‘Renovate the Public Hearing Project’, which seeks a better way to engage in land-use decision-making through law reform, public engagement, and considering alignment with Indigenous governance.  Through a partnership with Amina Yasin, Director of the project with the SFU Wosk Centre for Dialogue and a Canadian Institute of Planning award-winning urban planner, students will learn about the history of public hearings, observe and analyze public hearings in a variety of municipalities, and work in teams to propose solutions and inclusive pathways forward.  This iteration of GEOG363 promises to be experiential, engaged, and enriching for Summer 2023 students.

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


Learning Outcomes

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
  • Have applied course knowledge to real-world case studies
  • Have the tools and critical thinking skills necessary for reflecting upon, and engaging with, urban planning and policy
  • Be able to examine and understand actual city plans and policies


  • Research paper on the history and intent of public hearings - Individual 20%
  • Public Hearing Observational Analysis Report (comparative) - Individual 25%
  • Tutorial Participation - Individual 15%
  • Final Case Study and Policy Change Proposal - Group 40%



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 semester 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.