Omnibus Group Assignment 2010

Analysis of a Planning Process

Assigned September 13th

Signed Agreements October 13th

Initial Draft of Selected Components October 22nd

Presentation Draft November 19th or 26th

Final December 6th




The goals of this Group Assignment are to assist you in becoming a good sustainability planning practitioner by

Forming Groups and Case Selections

As soon as we know how many students are taking the course and find out more about their backgrounds and interests with regard to becoming sustainability planning practitioners, we will form groups, likely of 4-5 individuals. The initial drafts of components 1 and 2 of the Individual Assignment are intended to enable us to begin doing this by the class on September 20th. I will assign individuals to groups taking into account as much as possible their expressed interests following class on September 27th.

A number of ongoing cases in British Columbia will be used to advance your understanding of different types of planning processes and their inter-relations. They are each significant in themselves and together they will develop your knowledge of some of the important characteristics of sustainability planning as it is evolving in this province. They are cases on which you will likely work further in other parts of your planning studies and in which you might well find internships, project or thesis research opportunities, or a first job upon graduation. They also have the advantage of being cases for which information is relatively readily available on the web and through reports, as well as being located near enough for you to observe parts of their planning processes that are ongoing. The cases are as follows

Groups will be expected to cover a set of general questions applying to the overall planning process but also can choose to pursue certain parts of the process in more detail. For example the group undertaking the case study of Metro Vancouver might elect to examine in more detail its emphasis on making the activities of its own organization more sustainable or the City of Vancouver could focus on SEFC and Olympic Village.

Framework of Case Analysis

Each case analysis should include consideration of each of the four major topics for characterizing planning processes that we are examining in the course:

As we proceed through each of these topics week-by-week we will elaborate on the questions that are of interest with regard to each of them. Also you are encouraged to develop your analysis in ways that meet your interests and that are significant with regard to the particular case. For example, the Water Use Planning processes provide more opportunities than the other cases for examining the use of computer modeling in a sustainability planning process.

More specific guidance on the content and role of the analytical framework, as well as other components of the Group Assignment, is provided in the General Feedback to the Group Assignment in 2008.

Components of Assignment

There will be four components to the Group Assignment that require you to develop (i) a written group report and (ii) a presentation to the class:

  1. Two weeks after your group is confirmed you will post on the Omnibus Materials web site a copy of the agreement reached among your group members for the roles and responsibilities in completing the Group Assignment (Due October 13). We will discuss clauses that you might want to include in this agreement. See Agreements for Productive Group Work
  2. Initial outline and partial draft of proposed report by Friday 22nd October including historical background for the case and reflecting the parts of the analysis framework covered in the course to date (through Sustainability Planning Tools).
  3. Post draft report on your case as preparatory reading by the Friday before your session (19, 26 November), including an agenda for the discussion you will lead and facilitate.
  4. Revise draft report in light of session discussion and finalize for submission (December 6th).

Further details for planning, scheduling and conducting these sessions will be discussed as the class proceeds.

Length and Format of the Report

Being able to write concisely, while adequately and effectively communicating the essential content of a report, is an exceedingly valuable skill. It is for this reason that I establish a maximum length for your report. The main body of your report should be no more than 1500 words per person in the group authoring it (i.e. if there are 4 people in your group then there should be a maximum of 6000 words in the body). An additional 20% is permitted for the various appendix materials including listing of references. A further 4 pages of figures, pictures, diagrams etc may also be included and can appear in the body or appendices.

Further guidance on the format and content of the report is provided in the General Feedback to the Group Assignment in 2008.


The grade for designing, leading and facilitating the class session (20% of course grade) and final version of the report for the Group Assignment (35%) will be assigned after the last class. The last 5 minutes of each group presentation will be reserved for feedback from the class members on the session. Grading will follow SCARP's general ranges and the following criteria will be used in assessing the final drafts:

Presentation Session

Written Report

Additional guidance on the content is provided in the General Feedback to the Group Assignment in 2008.