Planning Design 4
Instructor: Dr. Janice Barry

Indigenous peoples have done planning since time immemorial. These ways of organizing social, cultural and natural worlds have often been overshadowed by European systems of planning. Although European systems of planning have contributed to the marginalization of Indigenous communities in Canada and other settler-states across the globe, many Indigenous communities have found that these systems can be adapted to suit their needs.

The Indigenous Planning Studio (Planning Studio IV) partners students with Indigenous communities who are reclaiming and reimagining planning in ways that contribute positively to the development of their communities. In the studio, City Planning students work with a First Nation on a project selected by the community. Projects have ranged from cultural mapping, land use planning, housing surveys and community planning.

Throughout the project work, students work closely with a community planning coordinator who ensures the First Nation maintains direct community control over how the planning project is developed and shared. Together, students and community members build knowledge and exchange skills and approaches.

The department has formally partnered with several Manitoba First Nations and engaged over 50 students since 2010. These partnerships often span several years.


  • Lake St. Martin (2014-present)
  • Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (2014-present)
  • Brokenhead Ojibway Nation (2012-present):
  • Sagkeeng First Nation (2012-2013)
  • Sapotaweyak Cree Nation (2011-2013): 2011 Report
  • Swan Lake First Nation (2011-2013): 2011 Report
  • Garden Hill First Nation (2011): 2011 Report
  • Fisher River Cree Nation (2010-2012): 2011 Report

    The Indigeous Planning Studio is also active in the Indigenous Design and Planning Network, a voluntary association that promotes planning in First Nations.

    For more information on becoming a studio partner, or taking part in the Network, contact Dr. Janice Barry at, (204) 474-6426.  


    Indigenous Design & Planning Network

    The Indigenous Design & Planning Network is an informal association of First Nation partners, interested community members, students, technical experts, university faculty and others -- anyone with a passion to learn, share, and network about planning. Facilitated by the Department of City Planning, the Network creates opportunities to share and build planning knowledge.

    The Department of City Planning also helps to coordinate Network Gatherings, welcome past, current and potential partners to share knowledge and build on the momentum of community planning initiatives taking place in communities.

    October 2012 Regional Workshop Summary

    December 2012 Regional Workshop Summary

    December 2013 Network Gathering Report

    March 2014 Network Gathering Report

    Want to learn more, or be part of the Network? Contact Dr. Janice Barry at or (204) 474-6426.