Spring 2024 - URB 499 E100

Urban Innovation Lab (9)

Class Number: 6010

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Thu, 5:30–8:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    60 units and permission of the instructor. Students should seek permission from the instructor prior to the term in which they wish to enroll.



Immersive capstone experience in organizational change processes with external urban laboratory organization. Students will learn and apply understandings of urban innovation, systemic and transformational change, and sustainability transitions. The lab course will consist of lectures, discussions and exercises, intensive reading, extensive time in the field, and preparing a team-based project.


This 9-unit course (cross-listed with URB 692) offers students an intensive and project-based laboratory course in which to develop, refine, and apply theories of and concepts of urban strategy, innovation, and sustainable transformation to the real-world context of an urban public or quasi-public organization. This course is being developed in partnership with the City of New Westminster as a living urban laboratory of vanguard policy development and efforts to implement systemic change.  Working within a lab organization partner, we will work to understand the organizational means by which big policy ideas get translated into organizational and operational change – and what gets lost in translation. Students will have the opportunity to ‘attach’ themselves to a staff member or staff team in the City of New West and will pursue a deep understanding of one or more of the City’s current priorities, including downtown liveability, climate action, reconciliation, and equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

This is a lab-based course: students need to be prepared to spend considerable time outside of class meetings attending meetings and doing field observations within the lab organization. Specific assignments regarding when you are expected to attend events, meetings and other activities within the City of New Westminster will be assigned to you during the course but may change at the last minute – your flexibility with your schedule, and responsibility for relationships within the lab organization that are extended to you in this course, is required for success. The course schedule and format will be discussed at the information session on October 30.


  • Reading and process reviews and reflections 25%
  • Communication 20%
  • Portfolio of Observation Notes and Ephemera 25%
  • Final report 30%


Class meeting times: Most weeks include a combination of meeting times at City Hall in New Westminster and at Harbour Centre campus.

Regular meeting times: Thursdays (evenings at HC, 5:30-8:20 PM) and Thursdays (1:00-4:00 PM at New West City Hall). Some Thursday afternoon sessions will be replaced by Monday daytime or evening council or committee meetings.

Office hours: TBD



All readings required for this course are listed in the weekly summary of topics and activities. All are available from SFU Library and/or free on 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.

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