COVID-19 information and resources
Douglas College wordmark
Facebook logo Twitter logo Instagram logo Snapchat logo YouTube logo Wordpress logo
back to search

Geographies of Metro Vancouver

Course Code: GEOG 1150
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course introduces students to the geographies of Metro Vancouver with particular attention to the ways in which urban space is shaped by both local and global processes. The course examines the natural and human landscapes of the Lower Mainland, focusing on key contemporary issues related to urbanization, including urban development and the built environment, urban planning and policy, urban space and social identities, and human-environment relations in the city. In addressing these topics, student will gain an understanding of core geographic concepts such as place, landscape, scale, and region, as well as relevant approaches to spatial analysis.

Course Content

NOTE: Content may vary according to the instructor’s selection of topics and changing current affairs.

  1. Metro Vancouver in geographic context: Metro Vancouver as a place and region; the site and situation of cities in the Metro Vancouver; the region’s place in provincial, national, and global context.
  2. Understanding the physical landscape: the geophysical processes that shape the region’s natural landscape; plate tectonics, glaciation, formation of the Fraser River valley and delta, vegetation, and ecosystem services.
  3. Resettlement: the pre-colonial and post-contact human landscapes; First Nations settlements and land use, municipal colonialism.
  4. Urbanization and suburbanization: historical and contemporary growth and urban development in the Metro region.
  5. Public space and urban publics: public space; urban design; how race, ethnicity, gender, and/or sexuality shape and are shaped by urban space; urban indigeneity, immigration, multiculturalism, queer geographies, and ethnic enclaves.
  6. Housing the region: housing availability and affordability; social housing, gentrification, proposed solutions with attention to anti-poverty and housing movements. 
  7. Safety and security: emergency management; public safety, policing; natural hazards, seismic risk, and preparedness.
  8. Food geographies: local food production and consumption geographies; the rise and demise of the Agricultural Land Reserve; food security, and urban agriculture.
  9. Urban climatology: air quality issues, urban heat island effects; region-specific climate change impacts and mitigation efforts.
  10. Planning for sustainability: regional and municipal governance; sustainability and livability; transportation management and funding, solid and liquid wastes, parks and recreation, open space, biodiversity and habitat protection.
  11. Selling the city: place-marketing, tourism, and mega-events. 
  12. Future geographies: emerging trends and possible directions.

Methods of Instruction

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods, including:

  • Lectures
  • Guest speaker presentations
  • Local field work or field trips
  • Videos
  • Small group discussions
  • Individual or group projects
  • Practical in-class exercises
  • Map and data analysis

Means of Assessment

The evaluation will be based on course objectives and be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will provide a written syllabus outlining course objectives and evaluation specifications during the first week of class. An example of an evaluation scheme is as follows:

Preparation and participation:   5%
Field trip: 10%
Map and graph analysis: 10%
Course project/paper: 25%
Midterm exam: 25%
Final exam: 25%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the students will be able to:

  • Synthesize concepts and techniques in urban geography.
  • Critically assess contemporary issues facing Metro Vancouver. 
  • Situate Metro Vancouver in provincial, national, and global context. 
  • Apply geographic theories to emerging urban issues.
  • Communicate orally and in writing about trends and challenges of urban development and urban planning, the role of urban space in the formation of social identities, and human relation impacts on the natural environment in urban space.
  • Use both qualitative and quantitative methods to analyze urban patterns and policies in the region.
  • Interpret and utilize relevant maps, graphs, and charts, in assessing local geographic patterns and phenomena.

course prerequisites




curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.