Ceiling of la sagrada familia cathedral

Barcelona - Planning Studio

PLAN 545C | 6 Credits

Apply by December 6, 2018

  1. Log in to the Gateway online application program
  2. Select “Search Experiences” and type "GSP" to explore Global Seminars programs
  3. Upload the application form for your selected Global Seminar – see Application documents below

Please note that you can apply for up to a maximum of 2 Global Seminars.

Students are encouraged to meet with the Program Director at an orientation session or one-on-one to learn more about the program.


About the course

This course is led by Jordi Honey-Rosés.

This course will explore Barcelona as an ideal location to learn about, analyse, experience and discuss urban design and planning as it has evolved over time. Through immersing yourself in the life of the city and partaking in series of tours and activities, you will gain a historical understanding of the rich history of urban design and transformation within the European context and its relationship to local culture and social circumstances.

Barcelona is one of the world’s major global cities. As one of Spain’s main nodes of culture, tourism, finance and economic trade, its contemporary importance is undisputed. Like any other urban centre, its current status developed incrementally over time; one that dates back to over 2000 years ago and saw it develop as the most significant industrial centre in Catalonia.

As with all settlements, Barcelona’s long and interesting history has had a direct impact on its form—etched itself into the city’s urban fabric. However, unlike many other cities in the world, the built remnants of over 2000 years of cultural, social and urban development remains largely intact. From the medieval planning of the original roman settlement of Barcino, to the medieval streets of the Gothic Quarter, Ildefons Cerdà's unique Eixample grid—one of the largest planned housing projects in history—to the popular waterfront of the Port Olimpic, redeveloped 1992 Summer Olympics, the urban structure of Barcelona stands out as one-of-a-kind. Change continues today, as evident in the ambitious urban transformations of the  “Superilles” or Super Blocks—which entails street pacification and the recovery of major streets for public space.

About the experience

The field component of the course will take place during the first two weeks of June 2018, focusing on cultural and contextual immersion. The student will explore the city and region from an urban design and planning point of view while debate and discussion of research compared to experience will be engaged. Within interdisciplinary teams, students will observe, collect information on and analysis critical aspects of the built environment: visually recording and documenting significant sites, pertinent details, important design concepts and ideas observed on location. Connecting design and planning solutions to site and context (cultural, historical, geographical, climatic) will be critical, as well as recognizing similarities and differences with Vancouver.  We will present our final work in an event open to the public, with public officials and members of the community.

A typical day might include site visits to historical sites in Barcelona, walking tours led by the program directors and local neighbourhood groups, and original field work to develop design proposals.

General timeline

Program Dates: 2 weeks in early June.

The following summarizes the larger sections covered in the course:

The program will take place in Barcelona, Spain for 2 weeks in early June. Prior to your time in the field, you will be required to attend pre-departure sessions in Vancouver, in addition to six pre-trip class sessions between April 30th  and May 21st, 2018.  

Pre-flight preparation and planning

The class will hold four pre-trip sessions prior to the field component of the course. These sessions will cover introductory course content and logistics, as well as the research and presentation of the Pre-flight assignments that will investigate Barcelona from different, but complementary, perspectives and scales. One assignment will focus on the creation of a Timeline explored through five different, but related themes—Land-use, Transportation, Natural Systems, Cultural History and Global Historical Context—while the other will focus on researching and presenting specific sites of significance. These exercises will ultimately serve to ground our experience within a broader physical and cultural framework across scales and give us a relatively comprehensive understanding of the Barcelona area, prior to visiting the city.  


Prospective applicants to the course should be graduate students or upper level undergraduate students.  Priority given to graduate students at UBC. Familiarity with the Spanish language is preferred.

Planning, Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Geography

Program fees and costs

CAD $2700-3100 + tuition and flight.

The final fee depends on the number of students in the program. Students do not pay the Go Global fee when applying to a Global Seminar. The Go Global fee is built into the Program Fee and is payable upon acceptance to the program.

All qualifying students will receive a $1000 Go Global Award

Program fee includes Program fee DOES NOT include
Accommodation Tuition*
Program-related travel Flight*
Program-related excursions Incidentals*
Meals *depending on program
Go Global fee ($415.00)

*UBC Tuition - Not included. Part of your costs

This amount will differ for domestic and international students. This amount will be assigned to you on the Student Service Centre (SSC) according to normal UBC tuition timelines. Read about tuition fees.

This amount is not determined or applied by Go Global.

All students participating in a Global Seminar will have tuition applied to their SSC account.

*Flights - Not Included. Part of your costs

Travel to your destination is a separate cost. You are responsible for arranging your own travel. You should not book your flight until you are notified to book. All Global Seminars only run if there is a minimum number of students enrolled.

*Incidentals - Not Included. Part of your costs

Some examples include personal mobile communication, personal transportation that is not related to the learning outcomes of the program, additional meals that are not already identified as part of the program fee, immunizations, Visas, etc.

Please contact a Global Seminar Advisor if you have questions about the program fee. Connecting early with an Enrolment Service Advisor will also be helpful in order to plan for your trip.

Global Seminars refund policy

Adjustment on deposits

Students are eligible for an adjustment of their deposit under the following circumstances:

Withdrawal after you accept your spot in the program

  • You are eligible to have your Global Seminar deposit adjusted from $750 to $93.25 (ie: you receive a $656.75 credit)

Withdrawal after deposit posted on SSC

  • You are eligible to have your Global Seminar deposit adjusted from $750 to $321.75 (ie: you receive a $428.25 credit)

Withdrawal after deposit due date

  • The deposit and all remaining program fees are completely non-refundable. Exceptions may be determined at the discretion of Go Global. 

Any funds allocated to students through the ARA program must be returned in their entirety.

Students who decide to withdraw their application must submit a request in writing by email to the Global Seminar Advisor at go.global@ubc.ca.


If you are considering applying for a Go Global program and identify with having a disability or pre-existing health condition (mental or physical) which could impact your participation, or if you require academic accommodations, you can contact the following offices and meet with an Accessibility Advisor before the start of the program:

The Centre for Accessibility (Vancouver) 604 822-5844

Disability Resource Centre (Okanagan) 250 807-8053

Pre-departure policy

Safety Abroad

UBC is committed to preparing students for safe and successful international experiences. In order to achieve this, any student participating in a Go Global Program must complete the following:

  • All UBC Student Safety Abroad requirements
  • Go Global Program-specific pre-departure requirements (includes both online and in-person components)

Failure to successfully complete these and any other requirements may result in withdrawal from the Go Global Program.


Global Seminars Advisor

Student Advising

Drop in advising - Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 1:00-3:00pm

Please email go.global@ubc.ca with your student number in the subject line.

Global Seminars Advisor


Telephone: 604 822 0942

Fax: 604 822 9885

UBC Life Building
6138 Student Union Blvd
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1


9:00 am - 4:15 pm
9:00 am - 4:15 pm
9:00 am - 4:15 pm
9:00 am - 4:15 pm
9:00 am - 4:15 pm