Environmental Planning (BPl)

Tara Lynne Clapp, Associate Professor and Chair
Mark Groulx, Associate Professor
Rylan Graham, Assistant Professor
Theresa Healy, Assistant Professor
Ray Chipeniuk, Adjunct Professor
Daniela Fisher, Adjunct Professor 
Richard Krehbiel, Adjunct Professor
Finlay Sinclair, Adjunct Professor

Website: www.unbc.ca/environmental-planning

The degree provides a broad education in environmental planning. The focus is on understanding the relationship between people and the environment, reducing the environmental impact of human activities, and responding and adapting to environmental change.

The study of planning examines public processes that improve the quality of decisions affecting the environment. Responsible planning integrates various private and public interests and identifies viable, workable options. Planners play a vital role in decision-making processes concerning the future of human settlements, resource management, environmental protection, human health and well-being, economic development, and many other areas. Ultimately, the work of planners becomes part of, or a catalyst to, public policy.

Environmental Planning offers a comprehensive program of courses, such as environmental assessment, sustainable and inclusive design, housing, First Nations planning, land use planning, and sustainable communities. Each course provides a creative and challenging learning environment for students to tackle today‚Äôs most contentious issues such as sustainability, climate change, biodiversity, environmental stewardship, and urban sprawl. Environmental Planning offers unique perspectives on a rapidly evolving field of study and solutions for an increasingly complex world. Environmental Planning is dedicated to upholding professional standards of practice and is accredited by the Professional Standards Board (PSB) which is recognized by the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) and the Planning Institute of British Columbia (PIBC). Accreditation is a system for promoting national standards of education in planning and for recognizing educational institutions for a level of performance, integrity, and quality. 

Accreditation benefits students in Environmental Planning in three ways:

  • Current students can apply for Student Membership in PIBC.
  • Graduates are eligible for Full Membership in PIBC and CIP after two years of professional planning experience.
  • Employers in the planning field look for students graduating from an accredited planning program, thus significantly improving graduates' job prospects.

Three majors are available to students completing the Bachelor of Planning:

Planning students complete a set of general program requirements totaling 78 credit hours in addition to completing specialized course requirements for each major.

Note: Some upper-division courses may be taught in alternate years; students should consider this when
planning their course sequences.

Program Requirements for all Majors in Planning

Lower-Division General Environmental Planning Requirement

100 Level

ECON 100-3 Microeconomics
ENPL 104-3 Introduction to Planning
ENPL 105-3 Principles and Practices of Planning
FNST 100-3 The Aboriginal Peoples of Canada

One of the following:

ENGL 170-3 Writing and Communication Skills
NRES 100-3 Communications in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies

200 Level

ENPL 206-3 Planning Analysis and Techniques
ENPL 208-4 Land and Indigenous Reconciliation Studio
GEOG 204-3 Introduction to GIS
GEOG 210-3 Introduction to Earth Science
POLS 200-3 Canadian Government and Politics

One of the following:

ECON 205-3 Statistics for Business and the Social Sciences
STAT 240-3 Basic Statistics
STAT 371-3 Probability and Statistics for Scientists and Engineers

Upper-Division General Environmental Planning Requirement 

300 Level

ENPL 301-3 Sustainable Communities: Structure and Sociology
ENPL 304-4 Community Engagement and Inclusion Studio
ENPL 305-3 Environmental Impact Assessment
ENPL 318-3 Professional Planning Practice
ENPL 320-4 Land Use and Development Studio
FNST 300-3 Research Methods in First Nations
     or GEOG 324-3      Community-Based Research
GEOG 300-3 Intermediate GIS
POLS 380-3 Law and Indigenous People

400 Level

ENPL 401-3 Environmental Law
ENPL 404-3 Housing: From Concept to Construction
ENPL 410-3 Land Use Planning
ENPL 411-3 Planning Theory, Process and Implementation
ENVS 414-3 Environmental and Professional Ethics
GEOG 424-3 Northern Communities
     or ORTM 307-3      Land Relations and Communities in Recreation and Tourism

Major Requirement

Students must choose to specialize in one major. All course requirements in the major must be completed.

Major in Northern and Rural Community Planning

The focus of this major is to promote an understanding of the complexity and diversity of environmental problems, to develop an appreciation of community change processes, and to provide planners with knowledge which will improve the quality of the built environment and reduce the impact of human activities on the natural world. The unique planning requirements of smaller communities and rural regions demand a grounding in both physical and social science methods and an understanding of the relationship between northern communities and surrounding rural resource regions. Environmental planning necessitates strategic thought and action combined with knowledge grounded in professional practice. The Northern and Rural Community Planning major combines concepts such as bioregionalism, sustainability, and inclusion within the context of physical land-use planning, social planning, and community engagement.

Northern and Rural Community Planning is the application of environmental planning principles and practices to the often unique social, economic, and ecological issues confronting northern and circumpolar communities in Canada and elsewhere in the northern hemisphere. Successfully addressing these issues requires an appreciation of how and why communities change, an appreciation of the place and function of northern communities and rural regions in the global environment, and a grounding in both physical and social science methods of research and analysis.

Program requirement for all majors in planning 78 credit hours 
Major requirement:  13 credit hours 
Major elective requirement:  19 credit hours 
General elective requirement:  elective credit hours as necessary to ensure the completion of 120 credit hours.

The minimum requirement for a Bachelor of Planning with a major in Northern and Rural Community Planning is 120 credit hours.

Lower-Division Requirements

BIOL 110-3 Introductory Ecology
ENVS 101-3 Introduction to Environmental Citizenship
    or GEOG 206-3 Social Geography

A minimum of 9 credit hours from the following:

ANTH 213-3 Peoples and Cultures
ECON 206-3 Methods of Economic Evaluation
GEOG 101-3 Planet Earth
GEOG 200-3 British Columbia: People and Places
GEOG 202-3 Resources, Economies, and Sustainability
GEOG 206-3 Social Geography
INTS 100-3 Introduction to Global Studies
INTS 210-3 Globalizations
MATH 115-3 Precalculus
NREM 110-3 Food, Agriculture, and Society
ORTM 206-3 Recreation and Leisure Programming
POLS 100-3 Contemporary Political Issues
SOCW 201-3 Introduction to Social Welfare

Upper-Division Requirements

ENPL 415-4 Sustainable and Inclusive Design Studio
POLS 350-3 Law and Municipal Government

One of the following:

ENPL 409-4  Indigenous Planning Studio
ENPL 417-4 Local Climate Action Studio
ENPL 497-4 Special Topics Studio

One of the following:

NREM 306-3 Society, Policy and Administration
POLS 316-3 Municipal Government and Politics 
POLS 320-3 Canadian Politics and Policy

A minimum of 3 credit hours from the following:

ANTH 405-3 Landscapes, Place and Culture
ANTH 413-3 Environmental Anthropology
ANTH 423-3 Urban Anthropology
ECON 411-3 Cost-Benefit Analysis
ENPL 333-3 Field School in Planning
ENPL 430-6 Undergraduate Thesis
ENPL 431-3 Professional Report
ENPL 440-(2-6) Internship
ENSC 404-3 Waste Management
FNST 303-3 First Nations Religion and Philosophy
GEOG 305-3 Political Ecology: Environmental Knowledge and Decision-Making
GEOG 332-3 Community Development
GEOG 403-3 Indigenous Geographies of Climate Resilience
GEOG 424-3 Northern Communities
HIST 360-3 An Introduction to Environmental History
INTS 304-3 International Development
     or GEOG 306-3      Critical Development Geographies
NREM 306-3 Society, Policy and Administration
POLS 316-3 Municipal Government and Politics
POLS 320-3 Canadian Politics and Policy
POLS 351-3 Local Services and Public Policy
POLS 360-3 Local Government Finance
POLS 415-3 Comparative Northern Development
POLS 434-3 Resource Communities in Transition

Students must ensure that all prerequisites are fulfilled prior to registering in any course.

Students are encouraged to use the general electives to take a minor offered in Geography, Political Science, First Nations Studies, or other fields associated with community development.

Major in First Nations Planning

First Nations communities have significant and growing demands for qualified planners. The opportunities for skilled planners increase as many First Nations move to define land claims in Canada, potentially giving First Nations significant responsibilities for land and community planning. However, planning by and with First Nations requires specific skills and abilities in the planners, whether or not they themselves are First Nation.

For most First Nations communities, few distinctions are made between ecological/environmental planning and planning for social and cultural needs which are developed from within, and are grounded in, the ecosystem. First Nations planning must necessarily integrate all of these domains. Many First Nations wish to remain grounded in tradition and seek to move into the future through sound community economic development and skilled land management. Most face significant community development needs, including infrastructure development, housing, and health planning. Students need not only a sound grasp of planning principles, but also an understanding of the protocols, history, social structure, and ecology of Canadian First Nations. Cross-cultural translation skills, community participation techniques, and a solid grounding in ethics are required.

Program requirement for all majors in planning: 78 credit hours 
Major requirement:  13 credit hours 
Major elective requirement:  19 credit hours 
General elective requirement:  elective credit hours as necessary to ensure the completion of 120 credit hours 

The minimum requirement for a Bachelor of Planning with a major in First Nations Planning is 120 credit hours.

Lower-Division Requirements

BIOL 110-3 Introductory Ecology
FNST 131-3 A First Nations Language: Level 1 

A minimum of 9 credit hours from the following:

ANTH 205-3 Introduction to Archaeology
ANTH 213-3 Peoples and Cultures 
ENVS 101-3 Introduction to Environmental Citizenship
ENVS 230-3 Introduction to Environmental Policy
FNST 161-3 A First Nations Culture: Level 1
FNST 200-3 Perspectives in First Nations Studies
FNST 203-3 Introduction to Traditional Environmental Knowledge
HHSC 102-3 Introduction to Health Sciences II: Rural and Aboriginal Issues
MATH 115-3 Precalculus
NREM 110-3 Food, Agriculture, and Society
NREM 210-4 Integrated Resource Management

Upper-Division Requirements

ENPL 409-4 Indigenous Planning Studio
FNST 303-3 First Nations Religion and Philosophy
     or FNST 304-3 Indigenous Environmental Philosophy

One of the following:

ENPL 415-4  Sustainable and Inclusive Design Studio
ENPL 417-4 Local Climate Action Studio
ENPL 497-4 Special Topics Studio

A minimum of 6 credit hours from the following:

ANTH 404-3 Comparative Study of Indigenous Peoples of the World
BIOL 350-3 Ethnobotany
ENPL 333-3 Field School in Planning
ENPL 430-6 Undergraduate Thesis
ENPL 431-3 Professional Report
ENPL 440-(2-6) Internship
ENVS 326-3 Public Engagement for Sustainability
FNST 303-3 First Nations Religion and Philosophy
FNST 304-3 Indigenous Environmental Philosophy
FNST 305-3 Seminar in First Nations Studies
FNST 407-3 First Nations Perspectives on Race, Class, Gender and Power
GEOG 403-3 Indigenous Geographies of Climate Resilience
GEOG 420-3 Environmental Justice
HIST 390-3 History of Indigenous People of Canada
NREM 303-3 Aboriginal Perspectives on Land and Resource Management 
ORTM 307-3 Land Relations and Communities in Recreation and Tourism
POLS 350-3 Law and Municipal Government
SOCW 455-3 Indigenous Governance and Social Policy 
SOCW 457-3 Individual and Community Wellness for Indigenous Peoples

In addition to FNST 131-3 and FNST 303-3 or 304-3, students must select a minimum of three FNST courses (9 credit hours) from the upper- and lower-division lists.

Students must ensure that all prerequisites are fulfilled prior to registering in any courses.

Students are encouraged to use the general electives to take a minor offered in First Nations Studies or other courses associated with aboriginal and First Nations issues.

Major in Natural Resources Planning

The major in Natural Resources Planning is designed to provide students with an understanding of the complexities of including the natural and cultural environment in planning decision-making. The major is intended to address both project-level and large-scale environmental planning issues that occur in developments that have an impact on the natural environment.

The objective of this major is to familiarize students with planning and decision-making in a variety of sectors that include provincial land use planning, environmental assessment, watershed planning, and integrated resource and environmental management. These areas of planning are characterized by complex and intricate questions about how to use our natural resources and who should decide. The multidimensional aspects of environmental management include natural and cultural complexity, different desired futures, value differences, assessment and monitoring tools, and integration methods. This major emphasizes an understanding of planning in both the substantive realm (natural and social sciences) and the procedural realm (the process of including people in the decision-making process).

Students enrolled in the Natural Resources Planning major must successfully complete 120 credit hours. Students interested in working with biological and environmental aspects of natural resource planning should take BIOL 103/BIOL 123 and BIOL 104/124 as elective courses and BIOL 201 as the ecology elective to satisfy prerequisites for many of the other biological and environmental courses. Those students interested in the environmental sciences should take first- and second-year Chemistry courses as part of the general electives. Students interested in integrated natural resource planning should take BIOL 104/124 and a mix of courses in areas of Political Science, First Nations Studies (FNST or ENPL), Environmental Science (ENSC), Geography, Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Management, International Studies, and Economics.

Program requirement for all majors in planning: 78 credit hours 
Major requirement: 18 credit hours 
Major elective requirement: 16 credit hours 
General elective requirement: elective credit hours as necessary to ensure the completion of 120 credit hours.

The minimum requirement for a Bachelor of Planning with a major in Natural Resources Planning is 120 credit hours.  

Lower-Division Requirements

BIOL 110-3 Introductory Ecology
     or BIOL 201-3 Ecology
GEOG 205-3 Cartography and Geomatics
NREM 210-4 Integrated Resource Management

A minimum of 9 credit hours from the following:

BIOL 103-3
  and BIOL 123-1
Introductory Biology I
  Introductory Biology I Laboratory
BIOL 104-3
  and BIOL 124-1
Introductory Biology II
  Introductory Biology II Laboratory
CHEM 100-3
  and CHEM 120-1
General Chemistry I
  General Chemistry Lab I
ENSC 201-3 Weather and Climate
ENSC 202-3 Introduction to Aquatic Systems
FNST 100-3 The Aboriginal Peoples of Canada
FNST 203-3 Introduction to Traditional Environmental Knowledge
FSTY 205-3 Introduction to Soil Science
INTS 100-3 Introduction to Global Studies
MATH 115-3 Precalculus
NREM 101-3 Introduction to Natural Resources Management and Conservation
NREM 110-3 Food, Agriculture, and Society
NREM 203-3 Resource Inventories and Measurements
NREM 204-3 Introduction to Wildlife and Fisheries
ORTM 200-3 Sustainable Outdoor Recreation and Tourism

Upper-Division Requirements

ENPL 409-4 Indigenous Planning Studio
NREM 400-4 Natural Resources Planning

One of the following:

ENPL 415-4  Sustainable and Inclusive Design Studio
ENPL 417-4 Local Climate Action Studio
ENPL 497-4 Special Topics Studio

A minimum of 3 credit hours from the following:

BIOL 302-3 Limnology
BIOL 411-3 Conservation Biology
ECON 305-3 Environmental Economics and Environmental Policy
ECON 331-3 Forestry Economics
ECON 411-3 Cost-Benefit Analysis
ENPL 333-3 Field School in Planning
ENPL 430-6 Undergraduate Thesis
ENPL 431-3 Professional Report
ENPL 440-(2-6) Internship
ENSC 308-3 Northern Contaminated Environments
ENSC 312-3 Biometeorology
ENSC 404-3 Waste Management
ENSC 412-3 Air Pollution
ENSC 425-3 Climate Change and Global Warming
ENVS 326-3 Public Engagement for Sustainability
FNST 451-3 Traditional Use Studies
GEOG 401-3 Tenure, Conflict, and Resource Geography
NREM 303-3 Aboriginal Perspectives on Land and Resource Management
NREM 413-3 Agroforestry
ORTM 300-3 Recreation and Tourism Impacts 
ORTM 305-3 Protected Area Planning and Management
POLS 344-3 Society, Policy and Administration of Natural Resources
     or NREM 306-3      Society, Policy and Administration
POLS 350-3 Law and Municipal Government

Students must ensure that all prerequisites are fulfilled prior to registering in any course.

Students are encouraged to use the general electives to take a minor offered in areas of Geography, Political Science, First Nations Studies, or other fields associated with community development.

Minor in Planning

The minor in Planning is designed to provide students with an opportunity to acquire a basic knowledge of planning theory and methods. The minor consists of 12 required credit hours (four designated courses) and 6 credit hours of upper-division elective courses listed below. A maximum of 6 credit hours (two courses) used to fulfill program requirements for a major or another minor may also be used to fulfill requirements for a minor in Planning.

Requirements 

ENPL 104-3 Introduction to Planning
ENPL 105-3 Principles and Practices of Planning
ENPL 301-3 Sustainable Communities: Structure and Sociology
ENPL 411-3 Planning Theory, Process and Implementation

Electives

Two of the following:

ENPL 305-3 Environmental Impact Assessment
ENPL 318-3           Professional Planning Practice 
ENPL 404-3 Housing: From Concept to Construction
ENPL 410-3 Land Use Planning
ENPL 415-4 Sustainable and Inclusive Design Studio

Updated: May 22, 2024