On February 10 SCARP hosted its fourth annual Student Symposium, this year titled “Rethink: Planning for an Uncertain Future.” The symposium honoured the work of retiring SCARP professors Tony Dorcey and Dr. Bill Rees, who gave a joint keynote address reflecting on their careers at SCARP and offering inspiration for the future of the school and the planning profession. The day’s other keynote speakers were Richard Heinberg of the Post-Carbon Institute and the Honourable Mike Harcourt.

Musqueam Elder Larry Grant opened the conference, welcoming us and speaking on the relevance of Indigenous land use planning. Twelve well-attended panels filled the day, with topics ranging from OCP development to youth engagement to local food networks.

The 2012 Symposium was a great success, selling out with more than 170 registered participants. Attendees included SCARP students and faculty members, students from UBC and other academic institutions, as well as professional planners and community members, some of whom traveled from as far as Revelstoke, Washington State, and California.

According to SCARP director Dr. Penny Gurstein, “The Symposium was outstanding and has clearly become one of the highlights of the SCARP school year.”

Professor Emeritus Tony Dorcey had high praise for the student organizers, saying that, “The sessions I was able to attend were thoughtful and provoked lively exchanges, a great credit to the careful preparation and skillful facilitation of their conveners and the focused remarks from very well chosen panelists.” He listed some personal highlights, which included hearing from SCARP alumnus Senator Pat Carney, attending the SCARP alumni panel on professional development, and meeting with several prospective SCARP students who were in attendance.

SCARP Masters student Ruth Legg felt that “The Symposium hosted a range of articulate speakers, inspiring innovative ideas, and stimulating engaging conversations.”

The Symposium was capped with a wine and cheese event and speech from the Honourable Mike Harcourt, former premier of B.C., which was organized by Adam Cooper and the SCARP Alumni Association.

The Symposium organizing committee—Yazmin Hernandez Banuelas and Juliet Van Vliet—did a tremendous job and were assisted by a dedicated team of volunteers, panel organizers, and presenters. Thanks are due also to sponsors MITACS, the SCARP Alumni Association, the UBC Alumni Association, and William Rees.

“I was really pleased with the event,” said co-organizer Yazmin Hernandez Banuelas. “Our volunteers helped out and made it run smoothly.” For Juliet Van Vliet, it was an opportunity to “bring the wider SCARP community together to share food and stimulating discussion.”

Stay tuned for information about the 2013 Student Symposium.


NewsBytes is SCARP’s tri-annual newsletter highlighting current announcements, recent accomplishments, events, research, and broader planning movements of interest to staff, faculty, students, and alumni, as well as prospective students and members of the community. Below are a selection of articles from the most recent NewsBytes, as well as a link to download the newsletter.

Previous issues of NewsBytes are available from the NewsBytes Archive.

Winter 2014 NewsBytes


The Winter2014 edition of NewsBytes covers activities and reflections from SCARP between November 2013-February 2014 (download it here!).  Christa Brown starts us off with an overview of her involvement with the 10th Annual Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival for Nathan Edelson's Social Learning Studio course last fall.  We're then introduced to our 2014 PSA President Rebecca Chaster and the PSA Executive, before learning a little bit about the role of open data in planning from Karen Quinn Fung.

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