A group of high school students in Wards 5 and 7 got hands-on experience learning about urban redevelopment this fall when ULI Washington’s UrbanPlan program launched at two new DCPS schools: Ron Brown College Preparatory High School (@RBHSMonarchs) and Phelps ACE High School (@Phelps_DC).
UrbanPlan is a simulation exercise that teaches students about the market and non-market forces that shape urban redevelopment projects. Students form five-person teams comprised of a financial analyst, city liaison, neighborhood liaison, marketing director and site planner to compete to create a winning bid to redevelop the fictional neighborhood of Elmwood. Over the course of the exercise, trained UrbanPlan volunteers visit the classrooms to provide expert feedback on the students’ development plans, introduce students to public and private real estate careers and provide an authentic link between the exercise and the students’ built environment.
At Ron Brown, teacher Travis Bouldin introduced UrbanPlan in his government classes, while at Phelps, teacher Andrea Martinez incorporated UrbanPlan in her Architecture classes. At each school, about a dozen ULI Washington members supported the program by volunteering in the classroom, providing resources such as speakers and professional publications, arranging site visits for the students, and judging the teams’ final proposals. In addition, each teacher attended a training program last summer with other UrbanPlan teachers from around the country to prepare for their school’s program.
Coincidentally, the two schools played each other this year in Phelps’ homecoming football game. The match prompted the schools to challenge each other to an UrbanPlan face-off as well. Scheduling arrangements are currently underway — stay tuned for updates on these inspired and inspiring students!