The Planning Evaluation Lab (PEL) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) focuses on the effectiveness of the municipal government land use planning function. Our projects involve evaluating the content and quality of municipal official community plans and related documents, examining whether and to what extent plans and policies are implemented, and exploring the role that government planners play in helping to achieve plan goals. The overarching goal of our work at the PEL is to foster more effective land use planning that promotes sustainable development goals at the municipal level.

PEL is directed by Dr. Mark Stevens, and while the lab was formally established in 2013, its research activities began in 2009 when Dr. Stevens joined the School of Community & Regional Planning (SCARP) at UBC. To date, PEL has received support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the UBC Hampton Fund, and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.


What’s New?

January 6, 2017

Does compact development make people drive less?

Check out the Winter 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol 83 Number 1. My study “Does Compact Development Make People Drive Less?” is the cover story for the issue, and you can also find 5 commentaries about my study that were written by some of the biggest names in transportation research.

Keep an eye out for Spring 2017 issue, which is scheduled to publish a few more commentaries on my study as well as my response to the commentaries.

November 10, 2016

Does compact development make people drive less?

My study “Does Compact Development Make People Drive Less?” has been published online at the Journal of the American Planning Association. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01944363.2016.1240044

October 5, 2016

Does compact development really make people drive less and use alternative transportation more? 

That is the question I sought to answer in my recent study on the influence that compact development features (such as density and mixed land uses) have on driving, walking, and using transit.

I found that while several compact development features do appear to have an influence on how people choose to travel, that influence is small to modest in size.

The results of my study for driving are scheduled to be published online soon and in the Winter 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Planning Association.

The results of my study for walking and transit will hopefully be published some time later in 2017. Stay tuned for updates.


September, 2016

A focus issue of Journal of Planning Education and Research on land use planning for climate change adaptation 

Can communities use land use planning to better adapt to climate change? Texas A&M Professor Phil Berke and I served as guest editors of a recent focus issue of Journal of Planning Education and Research that seeks to answer that question.

In our introductory article to the focus issue entitled “Land Use Planning for Climate Adaptation: Theory and Practice”, we discuss how rational and participatory theories of planning can inform land use planning efforts for climate change adaptation purposes and we describe how the six articles in the issue contribute to scholarship and practice in this important area of planning.

Check out the focus issue here: http://jpe.sagepub.com/content/36/3/283.short