Urban Systems

Course Information

The MEL a 12-month degree starting in January that follows a project-based curriculum. While 70 per cent of your Urban Systems courses will focus on your technical specialization, the remaining 30 per cent are leadership development courses that will enhance your business, communication and people skills.

Many of the courses you take will adopt a flipped classroom format. This means that you will be expected to review course content ahead of classroom time, through readings or watching lecture videos. During classroom time, you’ll be engaged in discussions and activities to apply what you’ve learned. This could include case studies, group project work, and experiments and demonstrations.

Urban Systems Courses

Winter term: January to April

URSY 510: Urban Systems & Society
The course will cover a wide range of issues that provide the societal context for the design and management of urban systems, including urban systems in society and economy, spatial issues, equity and social justice, governance, policy and regulation, globalization and international development, implications for urban systems, urban and regional economics, infrastructure financing, urban systems and technology, trade-offs, socio-economic-technical systems as well as emerging and green technologies.

URSY 520: Urban Systems Analysis & Planning
This course aims to provide an understanding of the fundamentals of urban systems analysis and planning (including theory, methods and tools) and how they relate to urban systems engineering, design and management. Examples will be drawn from the international context including advanced and emerging economies. Course content includes demand and supply-side infrastructure planning, population and demand modelling, scenario analysis and long-term strategic planning, urban data, metrics and indicators, and integrated modelling and assessment.

URSY 550: Infrastructure Asset Management
This course contributes to the infrastructure management focus area and covers the field of asset management for urban systems. It addresses topics and practices that relate to the operations phase of infrastructure systems, which are a significant component of the professional responsibilities associated with infrastructure, but are rarely addressed in undergraduate engineering programs. Topics include system-specific asset management (road conditions, pipe inspection), maintenance and renewal, data, metrics, indicators and assessment, data sources, performance indicators, assessment, assessing condition and sustainability, multi-objective and multi-criteria decision-making, performance prediction, life-cycle cost analysis (LCA) and sustainability.

APPP 503: Organizational Leadership
Understand the behaviour of people and groups and how this applies to management and leadership within professional organizations. This course explores motivation, group dynamics, organizational structure, leadership styles and tools for assessing organizational effectiveness. The course is collaboratively delivered with the Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration.

BA 580B: Strategy & Innovation
This course provides an introduction to the principles and frameworks of strategic management, as well as concepts surrounding the creation or expansion of innovation capabilities, within organizations. Strategic management involves analysis, planning and execution of initiatives that achieve objectives in support of organizational goals. Innovation generally involves the development of revolutionary new or evolutionary improvements to existing ideas, methods, products, services, or combinations thereof that are adopted. The course will also consider the changing nature of organizational strategy and innovation in an environment of increasing globalization, digitization and automation. Entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship will be recurring themes throughout the course. The course will emphasize actionable lessons and models that students, regardless of their professional or academic backgrounds, can apply in practice to create tangible and valuable outcomes across organizational types, growth stages, and industries.

Summer term: May to August

URSY 530: Urban Systems Engineering
This course ensures familiarity with the full range of technical infrastructure systems that make up urban environments, and helps students understand the interdependencies involved in their design and management. It will provide a survey of systems including water distribution, wastewater and stormwater, solid waste, transportation, energy and data. The course will consider systems’ services and demands, technical alternatives, distribution systems as well as modelling, design, construction, operations and maintenance issues.

APPP 504: Business Acumen for Technical Leaders (August Boot Camp)
An asset to the aspiring technical leader, business acumen is knowing how business works and applying that knowledge with the goal of business improvement. This Boot Camp offers an elevated perspective of how technical skills contribute to building value in a business. The course immerses aspiring technical leaders in the practical application of core business skills and the development of six core business competencies, which are presented as modules: Managerial Accounting, Strategy and Performance, Market Evaluation, Operations Management, Negotiations and Contract Management and Business-Case Building and Valuation. This course is collaboratively delivered with the Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration.

Fall term: September to December

URSY 540: Urban Systems Project Delivery & Economics*
This course contributes to the infrastructure management focus area and covers advanced economic and risk modelling and provides a detailed understanding of project delivery alternatives. It includes topics in stakeholder practices, including stakeholder engagement, public consultation, partnerships, stakeholder management and buy-in. It also covers project delivery (project delivery options, public-private partnerships (P3), integrated project delivery (IPD) and partnering), as well as modelling, analytical methods and decision support such as economic and risk modelling.

*Corequisite: STAT 251 (or equivalent course in elementary statistics) and CIVL 403 (or equivalent course in Engineering Economics).

URSY Technical Elective
Course selection to be made by the student and discussed and approved by the Program Director.

URSY Technical Elective
All 500-level CIVL and PLAN courses have been pre-approved as technical electives for URSY.

UBC Sauder School of Business Courses
Students can choose a UBC Sauder Business Course to gain greater exposure to a particular area of interest.Options include (subject to change):

BA580B – 201: Strategy & Innovation
This course provides an introduction to the principles and frameworks of strategic management, as well as concepts surrounding the creation or expansion of innovation capabilities, within organizations.

BASC 550: Operations and Logistics
This course will introduce students to the key concepts and tools needed to understand and effectively manage supply chains and business operations in general. A key concept in this course is the “business process”, and managing and improving such processes.

BAMA 505-001: Business Development
This course uses the Business Development = Sales = Essential skill for business people = everyone today is in the business of selling thinking. This course is focused on the learning of foundational skills with the intention of enabling students to create better and more successful selling encounters in whatever career they pursue.

APPP 502: Sustainability & Leadership
This course helps students build skills to lead change that influences the triple bottom line and explores concepts related to sustainability, change agency systems thinking, awareness and perspective for engagement and communication, adaptive leadership, and change dynamics. It also incorporates case studies in organizational and social change. This course is collaboratively delivered with the Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration.