What Is UrbanPlan?
UrbanPlan is a realistic, engaging exercise in which participants—high school students, university students, or public officials—learn about the fundamental forces that affect real estate development in our communities. Participants experience the challenging issues, private and public sector roles, complex trade-offs, and fundamental economics in play when proposing realistic land use solutions to vexing growth challenges.
UrbanPlan for Universities
UrbanPlan for Universities aims to develop land use professionals–developers, planners, architects, investors, and policymakers–who are more sophisticated and effective when they enter the workforce. UrbanPlan moves students from a theoretical and ideological understanding of their discipline to the practical realities and demands of the development team and process. In addition, the module is a challenging team building exercise and introduction to ULI and key leaders in the industry.
In the 12-15 hour unit, students address challenging financial, market, social, political, and design issues, develop a pro forma, and create a three-dimensional model of their plan. The module culminates when the teams present their proposal to a “City Council” of ULI members that awards the development contract to the winning team.
How UrbanPlan Works in the Classroom
At strategic times during the project, land use professionals who have been trained in the UrbanPlan curriculum, interact with the student teams. Through the Socratic method, these volunteers visit the teams and challenge the students to think more critically about the UrbanPlan issues and the specific responsibilities of their “roles” (Financial Analyst, Marketing Director, Site Planner, City Liaison, Neighborhood Liaison).
UrbanPlan volunteers engage in interactive discussions with students on the member’s own project work or specific professional challenges. Through thoughtful questioning, the presenter helps students relate these issues and decisions to struggles the students are experiencing in UrbanPlan.
UrbanPlan volunteers hear student presentations, challenge their proposals as would happen in an actual city council hearing, and award the development contract to the winning development team.