How can urban forests and green spaces make our cities more livable and sustainable in a rapidly changing world?

UFOR 100 has no pre-requisites and is open to everyone interested in urban forestry.

For more information, contact Forestry Undergraduate Student Services at or 604.822.1834.

Course Description

This is an introductory course to Urban Forestry, exploring the crucial role of urban forestry and greenspace systems in making our cities sustainable and livable in a rapidly changing world. The course will orient students to key concepts of urban forestry, addressing topics such as: urban forest ecology, urban forest conservation and management, climate change mitigation and adaptation, benefits to society and human well-being, recreation and landscape planning, urban/rural/wildland interface issues, and urban forest policy.

Course Objectives

This course aims to introduce students to the field of urban forestry, including ecology, management, conservation, climate change, social science, planning, design, and policy. Using problem-based learning approaches and systems thinking, students will develop introductory skills in urban ecology, management, and planning and design. These skills will be applied to real world examples in the urban landscape in a range of municipalities and parks, helping them develop practical experience for success in their future careers.

It is expected that students will conduct collaborative work in labs with their peers, and learn to integrate with broader disciplines in forestry and other faculties.

Learning Outcomes

This course introduces students to concepts and skills in urban forestry through lecture, guest lectures with experts, visualization labs and field labs in local municipalities.

Students are introduced to numerous practical skills such as tree and plant identification, soil description, green infrastructure, arboriculture, basic planning and design, visualization and communication. The group-learning visualization and field labs will introduce students to collaborative learning, social engagement and communication techniques that will be essential to their careers in urban forestry.

Students will:

  1. Understand the structure and function of forest ecosystems and how these differ for urban forest ecosystems;
  2. Understand the needs, roles and processes of urban ecosystem management for sustainability and multiple social values;
  3. Understand the role of urban forests in species and conservation;
  4. Understand the role of urban forests in climate change and how they can be managed for mitigation and adaptation;
  5. Understand how urban forest ecosystems interface with urban, rural and wildland environments;
  6. Understand the role of urban forests in maintaining quality of life, health, and human well-being;
  7. Understand economic, political and social factors involved in urban forestry;
  8. Learn what arboriculture, design and planning skills are involved in urban forestry;
  9. Learn urban trees and plants of western Canada.
  10. Understand basic soil and hydrologic processes.