There is what may be an interesting three-night course this November at SFU Downtown: Planning for Non-Planners.
“You will learn about the matters, purpose and practice of urban planning in Canada, British Columbia, and the Metro Vancouver region. This course offers a special focus on planning and development issues in the region, and the planners’ role in building cities. We will explore the interrelationships between the physical, environmental, economic, social, and built considerations in planning at the site, neighbourhood, city, and regional scales.
The course will include defining urban planning and planning theory and history, explaining why we need to plan the physical environment. It outlines the role of participants, stakeholders, and decision-makers in the planning and development processes. This will include a review of the regulatory hierarchies, and the application of land use tools, including: plans, policies, bylaws, development permitting, and other approvals.”
It could be very useful. If nothing else, this may give community activists both the vocabulary and perhaps some tools to use in disputes with City Planning.