What is UrbanPlan?
Student development teams respond to an “RFP” (request for proposals) for the redevelopment of a blighted site in a hypothetical community. Each team member assumes one of five roles: finance director, marketing director, city liaison, neighborhood liaison, or site planner. Through these roles, students develop a visceral understanding of the various market and nonmarket forces and stakeholders in the development process. They must reconcile the often-competing agendas to create a well-designed, market- responsive, and sustainable project.
Teams address challenging financial, market, social, political, and design issues; develop a pro forma and three-dimensional model of their plan; and present their proposal to a “city council” of ULI members that awards the development contract to the winning team.
What is the Mission?
The Mission of UrbanPlan is to create a more sophisticated level of discourse among local stakeholders involved in land use decisions through the education of tomorrow’s voters, neighbors, community leaders, public officials, and land use professionals so, together, we can create better communities.
Why Do We Need Volunteers?
At three points during the program, local land use professionals assist UrbanPlan by acting as:
“Facilitators”: Through Socratic interaction, volunteers 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, and neighborhood liaison).
“Guest Speakers”: Volunteers engage in interactive discussions with students about their own work projects or specific professional challenges. Through thoughtful questioning, the presenter helps students relate these issues and decisions to struggles the students are experiencing in UrbanPlan.
“City Council”: Volunteers hear student presentations, challenge the students proposals as would happen in an actual city council hearing, and award the development contract to the winning development team.
What is the Time Commitment?
Prior to the training session, you will receive the UrbanPlan manual to review, which may take a couple of hours. The training session itself will be 8 hours. Finally, you will receive a call for volunteers to come into the classroom once to engage with students for 2 or 3 hours at a time. Volunteer based on your availability, but your total time commitment is about 12 to 15 hours during the traditional school year.