ULI Washington’s summer UrbanPlan program at Bethesda Chevy Chase High School
UrbanPlan uses experiential learning to drive participants 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 and university students, public officials and community members—learn about the forces that shape development in our communities.
How does it work?
Participants develop a real-life understanding of the various stakeholders in the development process and the challenge of reconciling the stakeholders’ often-competing agendas to create a well-designed, sustainable, project. Here’s how:
- Participants form “development firms” tasked with responding to a request for proposals for the development of a disinvested neighborhood in a fictional city. Each member of the team is assigned a role: financial analyst, marketing director, neighborhood liaison, environment & equity director, or site planner.
- Each team collaborates on the proposal, working through challenging financial, social, political, and design issues; developing a pro forma; and building real models to bring redevelopment vision to life.
- Teams are visited by industry professionals who serve as “facilitators” to guide students in the critical assessment of their vision, site plans, and financials.
- The teams use their final site plan and pro forma to pitch to a “City Council” volunteer industry professionals, and one team wins the contract!
UrbanPlan Volunteers Pose with Prof. Kat Grimsley After George Mason University City Council
UrbanPlan Workshop at National League Of Cities Congressional City Conference