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Cherie Enns

Cherie Enns, MA, MCIP

Associate Professor

Geography and the Environment

Abbotsford campus, A407e

Phone: 604-504-7441 ext. 4716

email Cherie

View the Lawn Laneway Project from GEOG 464

Read about Cherie's Geography 360 Applied Planning students and their dare to deam for the little town of Yale

Listen to Cherie's views on how no more bridge tolls will affect more than just the economy - CKNW Radio


Upon graduating from Trinity Western University, I went on to earn my Masters of Arts in Community and Regional Planning from the University of British Columbia (1986). Since then, I have worked as a planner and research analyst responsible for community development, social planning, public art, and housing projects throughout Canada.

I have taught courses at the University of the Fraser Valley since 1988, primarily in social geography, community development and planning, internships and the various regional geography courses.  Currently, I’m also expanding an innovative mobile learning project with UN Habitat youth in the global south related to social enterprise and sustainable development.

Over the past two decades, I have participated in several research projects in the United States, Southeast Asia, India and Sub-Sahara Africa.  I also co-lead travel study tours to Kenya, Hawaii and Tanzania.  Recently I have been working with Save the Children and UNICEF on a project for the United Nations World Humanitarian Summit centred on the child’s voice regarding humanitarian aid including workshops in South Sudan, Uganda and Somalia to develop child friendly material relate to their rights and for civil society working in Africa.

I am also involved in professional planning work. Currently, I work with the following organizations in various capacities: BC Housing, Villages of Hope Africa Society, Dodson Foundation, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. In the past, I have worked with a number of Canadian communities, including the City of Abbotsford, Township of Langley, City of Surrey, and the City of Langley, non-profit organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, local churches, housing societies, Salvation Army and the United Way, and local residents in creating social policy and planning policies.

I am currently completing my PhD through Darmstadt University in Germany. My research considers the voice of children and youth within community design, while creating a design that is based on traditional knowledge, vernacular design, social, economic, and environmental durability and longevity.

View my curriculum vitae


PhD Candidate, Darmstadt University, Germany
MA, University of British Columbia, 1986
BA, Trinity Western University, 1983


  • Member of the Canadian Institute of Planners (MCIP)
  • Registered Professional Planner (RPP)

Teaching Philosophy

As education increasingly moves from the classroom into the “real” learning realm, teaching needs to change to reflect what this generation of students desire. I support this shift and believe that the best classroom is the world in which we live, our own experiences, our lives, and how we connect to places, space, and time. I value engaging students and finding innovative ways of providing tangible, applied outputs and real life experience within the community. I emphasize global and community participation as a way to supplement traditional pedagogical methods.

I bring the classroom into the “real” time and offer real learning experiences through field trips, internships, practicum, and travel study. I also incorporate guest speakers and seminars into class time.

My goal as an instructor is to not teach by rote or test for memory retention, rather it is to introduce students to community members who have similar goals and interests and give my students the fundamental skills that they require. I enjoy leading them on a journey of knowledge through grounded theory and hands-on experiential learning. I strive to encourage students in developing concepts and principles into working theories and practices that they can put to use in their own professional lives.  This method of instructing, I believe, gives students the opportunity to lead independent lives and move in the direction that suits their desired employment objectives and life goals.

I integrate a range of sources beyond experiential learning/problem based learning into my classes including academic reading, novels, movies, documentaries, guest speakers, and conferences.  Students are asked to write papers; give presentations; keep a generalized journal that pertains to specific readings, reflect on the connection to the world as they are learning; and create posters.

I also highlight the importance of discussion in the classroom and see it as an effective tool for learning. Each student has a different background, different knowledge and different abilities. Through open forum and discussion we are able to highlight each other’s strengths and achieve remarkable results, benefiting the entire group.

In addition to the lectures listed below, I coordinate and co-lead travel studies in Hawaii, India, Kenya (adjunct at TWU) and Tanzania. I have also placed students in multiple practicum positions.  In Africa, I have placed students in over five countries.  Over the last few years, I have had over fifty students complete coursework and internships in Tanzania.

"This internship has broadened my outlook by giving me invaluable planning experiences in an international setting. Not only has it enhanced my understanding of East Africa, but it has opened by eyes to the world of development, opportunity, and reality that lies in this vast continent." Athena Von Hausen, Summer 2013

Teaching Interests

Innovative Teaching: I have worked to make my teaching practical and applied, often through Field Study and Studio courses. These are certainly my most popular and appreciated courses offered as they provide students with an opportunity to put theoretical ideas and concepts into practice.

Course Development: Involving global topics in course material has been a key focus of my teaching. Over the past five years, I have developed new courses and course curriculum that pertain to global learning. More recently, I have offered a number of opportunities for students to complete internships and coursework simultaneously in Canada or Africa. Those students that travel to Africa, study alongside African University partners. Such experiences help students to build their resumes and pinpoint their career interests.

Core Courses

  • GDS  100     A World of Development
  • GEOG 140   Human Geography
  • GEOG 240   World Regional Geography
  • GEOG 241   Social Geography
  • GEOG 340/GDS 340   Geography of Poverty and Development
  • GEOG 360   Introduction to Regional and Community Planning
  • GEOG 364   International Planning and Climate Change
  • GEOG 396/GDS 310/SOC 396   Canada Internship
  • GEOG 398/GDS 311/SOC 398   International Internship

GEOG 464   Community Planning and Development 

Research Interests

My current research and project interest focus on child and youth friendly communities, HIV/AIDS Orphans, and Vulnerable Children care in Sub-Saharan Africa. I continue to work on projects related to child friendly community planning including initiating and participating in several sustainable community planning projects related to child friendly development in Kenya and, most currently, Tanzania. 

Additionally, I have been exploring alternative methods to teaching beyond the typical classroom instruction and online forum. This research has led to the development of mobile classes for tablets and Smartphone technology. This has led to the creation of an entrepreneurial and sustainable development applied certification program that is interactive and dynamic (in essence a virtual global classroom), using state of the art digital media.

I have continued my research and work related to affordable housing throughout Canadian and African communities, including: 

  • Peachland United Church Seniors Housing Project (Peachland, BC, 2012)
  • Slum Upgrading and Community Housing Projects (Dar es Salaam, TZ, 2011-2012)
  • Affordable Housing and Collaboration; (Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp., BC, 2011)
  • District of Peachland Affordable Housing Study (Peachland, BC, 2011)
  • Child and Youth Friendly Affordable Housing Study (Abbotsford, BC, 2010)
  • Seniors Affordable Housing Study (Abbotsford, BC,  2010)
  • Aged-Friendly Community Evaluation Study (Township of Langley, BC, 2010)
  • Harmony Flex Housing – City of Abbotsford (Abbotsford, BC, 2009-2010)


Aid Effectiveness

  • Advocating for Aid Effectiveness” Presentation at Engineers without Borders Conference, 2010.
  • Intergenerational Design and Intervention leading toward Sustainability.” Presentation at Child in the City Conference – Zangreb, Croatia - September 26-28, 2012.

Child Rights and Child Friendly Cities

  • “Child Friendly Version of the Guide for CSOs on How to Engage with the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC)” Presentation at African Union, 23rd Session of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) - Addis Ababa, Ethiopia April 9-16, 2014.
  • Child and Youth Friendly Design Guidelines for Informal Settlement Upgrading” Poster Presentation at Child in the City Conference – Zangreb, Croatia – September 26-28, 2012.
  • Children’s Homes and Sustainable Design.” Presentation at Villages Of Hope-Africa Leadership Conference, Zimbabwe - August 21-23, 2012
  • Child Friendly Community Design: Responding to the Needs of OVC’s in Western Kenya: Considering the Voice of the Child”, Presentation of findings, IDRC, February 2011.
  • Child Friendly Community Design: Responding to the Needs of OVC’s in Western Kenya: Considering the Voice of the Child”, Poster Presentation of findings, Child in the City Conference, Florence Italy, October 2010.
  • Child in the City: A Canadian Perspective.” Presentation with Lisa Wolff, Child in the City Conference, Florence Italy, October 2010.

Gender Equality

  • How to Involve and Empower Adolescent Girls” Presentation at CUSO-VSO East Africa Gender and Partnership Capacity Building Workshop. February 2011.
  • Because I am a Girl – Digital and Urban Frontiers: Girls in a Changing Landscape” -Presentation at 3rd Annual Technical Roundtable on Plan International’s 2010 report cohosted by Plan Canada and CIDA in Ottawa/Gatineau on October, 2010.

Age Friendly Community Planning

  • We’re All Getting Older: Innovative Approaches for Planning an Age-Friendly Future” –Presented with Lisa Grant and Kate Lambert at the PIBC 2015 Annual Conference - Beyond Borders in Seattle, Washington on April 16, 2015.

Youth and Development

  • The Impact of ICT on Education and Sustainable Development” Presentation at The Annual CASID Conference at Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario on May 30, 2014.
  • Engaging with the World: Highlights from the Students for Development Program” Presentation at Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada Symposium, May 31, 2011.


  • Social Enterprise and Sustainable Development - E-Learning Professional Training Program” (2015) publication for ICICTE 2015 conference in Kos, Greece.
  • Eminus: eLearning” Presentation at eLearning Africa 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on May 22, 2015.
  • Enns, C. and City of Abbotsford (2012) “Harmony Flex Housing Project”, Planning West Vancouver: Planning Institute of BC, Volume 54 No 2 Spring, pp 5-7.
  • Harmony Flex Housing – Key Elements of Success.”Housing Now: Local Solutions Through Local Collaboration. Simon Fraser University (W. Vancouver) - September 22, 2011.
  • Engaging with the World: Highlights from the Students for Development Program.” Presentation at Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada Symposium, May 31, 2011.
  • Best Practices: Harmony Project, Van Maren Construction & City of Abbotsford” – CMHC Affordable Housing Seminars – Cowichan, Terrace, Kelowna – January-April 2011, with Eric Van Maren, Partner, Van Maren Construction Management Ltd.
  • Affordable Housing Opportunity Overview” Presentation at BC Non-Profit Housing Association Conference, November 24, 2010.
  • Harmony Flex-Housing Project and City of Abbotsford – Housing Action Plan”- Presentation at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Municipal Toolkit Workshop, October, 2010
  • Child in the City: A Canadian Perspective.” Presentation with Lisa Wolff, Child in the City Conference, Florence, Italy, October, 2010.
  • Child and the City: Planning and Implementation (Toolkit).” Presentation with Michelle Hoogland, Cities Fit for Children Summit (for Provincial Municipal Leaders), Langley, BC, October 2009.
  • Models of Child and Youth Friendly City Policies.” Presentation, City of Surrey, BC, February 2009.
  •  “Child-Friendly Community Design: Responding to the Needs of Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Western Kenya”, IDRC Ecopolis Graduate Research and Design Award, 2008.
  • Enns, C, et al. “International Child-Friendly Conference: A Summary and Steps Forward”, Shastri Seed Grant, 2008.
  • Enns, C. et al., Muhanda Community Report, Kenya, East Africa, 2007.

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