UrbanPlan harnesses the power of experiential learning to drive students to more deeply engage in the complex nature of land-use decisions and inspire them to take an active role as engaged citizens to create better communities.
What Is UrbanPlan?
UrbanPlan is an engaging simulation exercise in which participants—high school students, university students, public officials and community members—learn about the market and non-market forces that shape 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.
Urban Plan in BC
ULI British Columbia is excited to launch UrbanPlan in the 2021/22 academic year! We are implementing UrbanPlan at high schools to start, along with additional opportunities for UrbanPlan volunteers to assist with UrbanPlan at both the high school and university level.
Stay tuned for opportunities to get involved with Urban Plan here in BC!
Urban Plan for High Schools
UrbanPlan is a classroom-based learning curriculum developed for high school juniors and seniors. Traditionally imbedded into semester-long Economics or Government classes, the program is currently reaching almost 4,000 students per year in 52 high schools in 39 cities through ULI’s network of District Councils. In the 15 class hours of the curriculum, students learn about land use and its related disciplines in business, city planning, real estate, architecture, and law.
Students form development teams and respond to an RFP to redevelop a 5½ block site in a fictional city. Each team member assumes one of five development roles and together the team develops a financial proforma and physical model of their plan. Once complete, each team presents their proposal to a mock City Council who then awards the ‘development contract’ to the winning team.
Where and how will we live, work, shop, and commute impacts the character and vibrancy of our neighbourhoods. Yet, our students are rarely educated about the interactions of local government with our market economy, and how these forces join to create the built environment — the foundation for any informed land use discussion. Our program provides our future leaders with the necessary skills and understanding to meet the challenges of accommodating growth and improving quality of life. That’s the power of UrbanPlan.
Get Involved with UrbanPlan
Volunteers accepted into the program are invited to a 1-day training session for hands-on experience with the program and tools. Trained volunteers serve in the classroom as Facilitators and/or as members of a mock City Council for final student presentations.
The training and volunteer time commitment includes:
- Minor preparation prior to the training session
- A one-day training session, and
- In-class commitment of approximately three hours per semester
The role with the greatest impact, most responsibility, and least time commitment is the role of Facilitator. Facilitators challenge the students to think more critically about the UrbanPlan issues and the specific responsibilities of their respective roles.
Facilitators draw deeply on professional experience and are rewarded by creating excitement and inspiration in students for the urban development process.
City Council Member
Students present their final proposals to a five-person mock City Council comprised of volunteers. By challenging the students’ work as if in an actual City Council meeting, the volunteers assess whether the proposals are responsive to the RFP, grounded in the facts of the UrbanPlan case, and consistent with reality. The City Council then awards the contract to the winning team.
Volunteers are fundamental to UrbanPlan. We are looking for professionals that demonstrate commitment to the learning experience of UrbanPlan in an interactive setting. To volunteer you must have real estate (or related) industry experience and attend a full day of training. Once trained, you will be able to actively volunteer as an UrbanPlan Facilitator or “City Council” member in a classroom or workshop.
Becoming an UrbanPlan Volunteer
The first step to becoming an UrbanPlan Volunteer is to fill out and submit an UrbanPlan Volunteer Application and take the New Volunteer Training. Once your application is reviewed we will determine your eligibility to participate and confirm you for an upcoming training session (typically schedule training sessions once or twice a year). The training, which is led by a national UrbanPlan instructor, is a full day (~7 hours) interactive session where participants will learn the basics of the program, run through the exercise, and become trained on playing the role of a Facilitator and “City Council” member at our participating schools. *There may also some required pre-training preparation.
Once trained, you will be eligible to participate as an UrbanPlan volunteer in the classroom or workshop. Trained volunteers can elect to participate in a Facilitation, which typically lasts 45 minutes to an hour, or a “City Council” day, which typically lasts between 90 minutes and 3 hours depending on the size of the group and how many teams are presenting.
As a volunteer with UrbanPlan, there may not only be opportunities for you to participate in BC. With the virtual world, and having District Councils whom offer UrbanPlan all over North America, there are additional opportunities to participate.