ULI’s signature UrbanPlan program 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.
How Does It Work
UrbanPlan’s curriculum teaches participants how the forces of our market economy clash and collaborate with the non-market forces of our representative democracy to create the built environment – providing the foundation needed for any informed land use discussion. Participants form teams to develop proposals to redevelop the neighborhood of Elmwood in accordance with an RFP issued by the fictional city of Yorktown. Over the course of the exercise, ULI member volunteers who are local land use professionals meet with the teams on a regular basis. As “facilitators,” the volunteers challenge participants to think more critically about the issues raised by the RFP and the specific responsibilities of the participants’ assigned roles as finance directors, marketing directors, city liaisons, neighborhood liaisons, and site planners. The exercise culminates in a mock “City Council” at which the teams present their proposals to a panel of volunteers who select the winning proposal.
UrbanPlan in Our Region
ULI Virginia offers UrbanPlan in three formats: in high school classrooms, in university classrooms, and at workshops for public officials and community members.
UrbanPlan in Local High Schools
High school students in the Hampton Roads region participate in UrbanPlan each year. Currently, ULI Virginia works with teachers to implement UrbanPlan:
To learn more about UrbanPlan in the high school classroom, click here or email Dave Ermini, Director of UrbanPlan for ULI Virginia. Teachers interested in exploring whether UrbanPlan would be appropriate in their classroom may also wish to consult the UrbanPlan High School Teacher FAQs.
UrbanPlan in Local Universities
UrbanPlan is currently offered in programs at two universities:
- Virginia Commonwealth University – Kornblau Real Estate Program; School of Business
- Old Dominion University – Strome College of Business
To learn more about UrbanPlan in the university classroom, click here or email Jane Milici, Director for ULI Virginia. University professors interested in exploring whether UrbanPlan would be appropriate in their classroom may also consult the UrbanPlan at the University Overview.
In addition to the UrbanPlan classroom curriculum, ULI Washington offers UrbanPlan workshops for public officials, county and municipal staff, and concerned citizens. The mission of these workshops is to empower the participants with the knowledge and skills to create better, stronger communities through more informed land use decisions.