Learn from the best: ‘Introduction to Neighbourhood Design’ (SFU, Scot Hein, April-May 2023)

Public Service Announcement on a great four-session course offered by Scot Hein via SFU. Here we borrow an intro from Jak King.

Scot Hein was one of the most respected planners at Vancouver City Hall. For the last few years, he has been using his skills to train other planners. He has now announced a new short course that will be of value to neighbourhood activists and all those interested in dealing with the City’s zoning and planning departments.

As Scot describes it: “Essentially I will be sharing my best tools, methods, case studies/precedents and engagement practices for all stakeholders towards positive shared results. We’ll also practice how to start a productive design oriented conversation in the neighbourhood.”

It is a four-week course in April and May that includes a walking tour of Kitsilano. Full details are here: https://www.sfu.ca/continuing-studies/courses/city/introduction-to-neighbourhood-design.html


Make a difference in the future of your neighborhood. While city-building has traditionally been a top-down undertaking, neighborhood design has focused on building from the grassroots up. In this course, you will learn the basic tools and strategies to help you join the conversation and advocate for the neighbourhood you want to live in.

You will build a toolkit to help you navigate public processes, including: permitting, zoning, economic planning, context reading, and choosing appropriate built forms. Through examinations of relevant case studies, you will learn how to strategically convey local aspirations towards thoughtful, transformative outcomes.

You’ll also have an opportunity to discuss the current urban design challenges facing your neighbourhood, and develop specific co-design participatory strategies to address them. Walk away with an achievable plan and a support network comprised of others who are passionate about place-making.

Note: This course includes a walking tour through Kitsilano.

Tue, Apr 11, 2023
Tue, Apr 11, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time (virtual class)
Tue, Apr 18, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time (virtual class)
Sat, Apr 22, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time (field trip)
Tue, May 2, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time (virtual class)



After completing this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain municipal development processes and related regulatory language
  • Examine a neighbourhood along the dimensions of urban form context and density
  • Determine the optimal set of urban design best practices for a given neighbourhood context
  • Initiate strategic public engagement processes aimed towards shared outcomes
  • Identify case studies that are relevant to local issues important to neighbourhoods
  • Understand how co-design processes should/could work


  • Expect instructor-led presentations and class discussions
  • Prepare to discuss, debate and formulate your own opinions

You will be evaluated on:

  • 2-page report due after the course


This introductory course is for both professionals and engaged citizens with an interest in learning about neighbourhood design.

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