SCARP’s Planning Studio is an intensive 7-month professionally oriented course in which students partner with community, municipal and private sector organizations to identify problems and propose possible solutions. Students work in teams of three with complementary skills and abilities and draw upon the cumulative academic learning from all their other SCARP courses as well as their own life experiences. Three faculty instructors, and a team of faculty advisors with diverse planning knowledge and expertise, support the students through all stages of project definition, analysis, revision and delivery.

Each year SCARP engages four or five local, regional or international organizations to undertake collaboratively conceived studio projects. The best projects are ones at the early stages of conceptualization and problem definition. They are important projects that can benefit from the creative and intellectual energy of students and faculty advisors and the active engagement of project partners. Projects can be oriented towards exploratory research, policy or urban design. The best learning and report outcomes occur when the studio includes a variety of partners and a variety of projects. The best partnerships are multi-year partnerships with longitudinal gains and committed project champions within the partner organizations.