UrbanPlan is a realistic, engaging, and academically challenging classroom-based, Web-supported program in which students learn the roles, issues, trade-offs, and economics involved in urban development.
Thank you to our UrbanPlan sponsors!
“At Boston Latin School, urban planning from the pros” – Click here for the full Boston Globe piece that originally appeared on February 18, 2014
What is UrbanPlan? UrbanPlan is a realistic, engaging, and academically challenging classroom-based, Web-supported program in which students learn the roles, issues, trade-offs, and economics involved in urban development. It provides our future voters, neighbors, community leaders, public officials, and land use professionals with hands-on experience in developing realistic land use solutions to vexing urban growth challenges.
Become a Volunteer: See Navigator Link below to inquire about becoming an UrbanPlan Volunteer. Training is typically held twice a year, in the Fall and Spring
UrbanPlan is currently conducted in:
- Bedford High School
- Boston Latin School
- Boston College
- Boston University
- Brookline High School
- Cambridge Rindge and Latin School
- Newton North High School
UrbanPlan for High Schools and Universities
UrbanPlan is an academically challenging program that the Urban Land Institute created to teach high school students about the challenges and complexities surrounding land use development through hands-on learning, real-life economics lessons, and interaction with local real estate professionals. The goal is to help develop a more educated citizenry, and facilitate a more sophisticated level of discourse and debate so that the students – as future business people, policymakers, citizens, and voters – can work together to make the best decisions for creating and sustaining the best possible communities. In the Boston district council, the program has proven so successful that not only has it been implemented at five local high schools, it has also been adapted for use in the undergraduate and graduate schools of Boston University and Boston College.
What your colleagues say… The UrbanPlan training is absolutely the best training of any kind that I have ever attended! The session is fast-paced and thoroughly enjoyable. The training materials are very well put together, succinctly capturing the complexities of the problem and process. – Tim Pattison, former Director of Real Estate, Partners HealthCare System, Inc, Boston, MA
What the students say… I now understand the problems that companies and cities face when it comes to new development projects like these….There is always something you could add to make your project better, but for every one of those, there is also a tradeoff and you need to decide what is more important. UrbanPlan really tied everything pertaining to Economics together. It incorporated everything from supply and demand to opportunity costs to profit. – Jill, Boston Latin School Senior
UrbanPlan Public Leadership Institute (UPPLI)
UPPLI gives elected officials the opportunity to gain a better understanding of real estate and land use fundamentals by focusing on leadership, integrated problem solving, public/private collaboration, and peer-to-peer learning.
Modeled in part after the Daniel Rose Center Fellowship Program, a ULI National public leadership training and professional development program offered to newly elected mayors of major U.S. cities, UPPLI bring similar opportunities to City Councilors, Selectmen, and Aldermen throughout New England.
Participants will engage in a dialogue about the challenging issues, varying private and public sector roles, complex trade-offs, and fundamental economics that are at play in real estate development in communities across the region.
With a goal of building ongoing relationships, ULI Boston/New England will engage the participants for a full year, with access to other programming and professional development opportunities.
The UrbanPlan program centers on the hypothetical “Elmwood” neighborhood, in the city of Yorktown. In a situation familiar throughout New England, the neighborhood, once a thriving town center, has deteriorated. The city has responded by issuing an RFP, seeking a private development team to propose and build a project that will revitalize the neighborhood – and that is where the students/ participants come in.
Working in small groups, the students form teams that compete to create the best redevelopment plan for the neighborhood; over the course of several weeks, they are aided by ULI volunteers, who come into the classroom to help facilitate the creation of the plan. Teams are made up of five different roles (Director of Marketing, Site Planner, City Liaison, Neighborhood Liaison, and Financial Analyst), all of whom must work together to create the site plans, physically created using Legos, that will represent each team’s final proposal.
The program culminates with the student teams presenting their plans to the “City Council” made up of ULI volunteers, who evaluate the projects for the most responsive and compelling answer to Elmwood’s problems, as well as looking for the most fiscally sound proposal. At the end of the process, beyond the economics lessons and experiences working collaboratively, the students have encountered the challenges faced every day by public officials and private developers working to balance the needs, wants, and goals of public and private interests in a market economy.
Once you have made the decision to attend the one-time all day UP training, which requires 4-6 hours of preparation prior to the training session, you are qualified for all volunteer positions.
You need only commit to participating a minimum of twice a year and can elect to spend as little as three hours per year in the classroom once you are trained…but no one ever does! The majority of our volunteers come back, again and again, to participate in UrbanPlan facilitations at Boston area high schools and universities.