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Penelope  Gurstein - University of British Columbia. Vancouver, BC, CA

Penelope Gurstein

Professor and Director, SCARP | University of British Columbia

Vancouver, BC, CANADA

Dr. Penny Gurstein is Professor and Director of the School of Community and Regional Planning and the Centre for Human Settlements at UBC.



Penelope  Gurstein Publication



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Penny Gurstein speaks at Sam Sullivan's May 2011 Public Salon Closing Remarks at UBC Professor Penny Gurstein tells us what she loved about Mitacs Globalink




As the first woman to achieve tenure at UBC School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP), Penny has evolved into a leader in planning education, recognized for learning-by-doing, community engagement and socially just planning. Penny introduced perspectives on gender and social justice into the planning process and transformed the school into Canada’s leader for Indigenous and social planning education. She specializes in the socio-cultural aspects of community planning, with particular emphasis on those who are the most marginalized in planning processes. As Director, Penny oversaw the development of a new degree program in SCARP, the Master of Community and Regional Planning, which provides innovative, real-world learning experiences for students. Following Penny’s example, the next generation of planners is inspired to tackle Vancouver’s biggest planning problems with social consciousness and a desire to serve the community.

Industry Expertise (9)

Architecture and Planning

Construction - Residential


Environmental Services


Public Policy

Program Development



Areas of Expertise (6)

Multimedia and Planning

Affordable Housing

Work and Society


Community-Based Research

Planning for Equity and Urban Sustainability

Accomplishments (1)

YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Education, Training and Development


Education (3)

University of California, Berkeley: Ph.D., Architecture

University of California, Berkeley: M.A., Architecture

The University of British Columbia: B.Arch., Architecture

Affiliations (4)

  • Public Policy and Global Affairs (MPPGA) Partnership Council
  • Applied Science Appointments Retention Promotion and Tenure (ARPT) Committee
  • Organizing Committee for Master of Engineering Leadership Urban Systems
  • Academic Development Leadership Program (ALDP)

Media Appearances (1)

Opinion: Vancouver needs a city-wide plan to manage growth

The Vancouver Sun  


If you were the city of Vancouver and were repeatedly criticized for making planning decisions behind closed doors, how would you gain the trust of your citizens? Recently, the B.C. Supreme Court echoed those concerns and put the brakes on a development in Yaletown. Now the city plans to mount a lengthy and costly appeal. Instead, might you want to consider this setback as an opportunity to take a fresh approach? Vancouver is one of the most livable cities in the world because, aside from our setting, a structure of sound planning and urban design principles was put in place in the 1970s and 1980s that provided a framework when Vancouver began to grow after Expo 86. Citizen engagement was further refined by the CityPlan process in the 1990s. During that time the negotiation process that evolved between developers of large tracts of land and city planners provided many of the public amenities that we now cherish.

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Articles (1)

Gender sensitive community planning: A case study of the Planning Ourselves In Project

Canadian Journal of Urban Research

1996 Corresponding with the current concern to change the centre of gravity within academia to encompass women's knowledge and experience, there are theorists reconsidering fundamental assumptions that exhibit a gender bias in the philosophy and practice of planning...

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