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 the Urban Land Institute’s facilitation platform to learn about the fundamental forces that affect development in our communities through a creative Lego demonstration to solve land use challenges.
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 launched UrbanPlan in the 2021/22 academic year, hosting in two high schools and virtually with the University of Northern British Columbia. We are looking forward to growing the program in the years ahead and launching in various schools across Metro Vancouver!
ULI BC would also like to thank Grosvenor and ULI Member and ULI BC UrbanPlan Chair, Patti Glass, Vice President, Corporate Marketing & Communications, for their support as our Founding Partner of UrbanPlan. They were integral to the successful launch of UrbanPlan in British Columbia and we truly appreciate their support in this exceptional initiative.
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 and/or participate in on-demand virtual training for 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. *Please note that it is a requirement of UrbanPlan volunteers to be current members with ULI.
The training and volunteer time commitment includes:
- Minor preparation prior to the training session
- A one-day training session and/or on-demand virtual training, and
- In-class commitment of approximately 4-6 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 Interest Application and take the New Volunteer Training (on-demand or potentially a one-day in person training session).
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 runs an hour or more per class, or a “City Council” day, which could run 90 minutes to up to 3 hours depending on the size of the group and how many teams are presenting.
As a volunteer with UrbanPlan, in addition to opportunities for you to participate in BC, we may extend opportunities to assist virtually among District Councils across the Americas region.