UrbanPlan is a realistic, engaging, and academically demanding classroom-based curriculum in which students learn about the fundamental forces that affect development in the United States. Students 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.
UrbanPlan is a curriculum unit for core content classes at both the university and high school levels. UrbanPlan includes a simulation classroom exercise in which students work in development teams to analyze and respond to a hypothetical “request for proposal” for the redevelopment of a blighted urban area. The ULI UrbanPlan director trains teachers to lead the six-week course and travels to District Councils to train volunteers who participate in the classroom.
ROLE OF THE DISTRICT COUNCILS
Through UrbanPlan’s 15 hour classroom curriculum, ULI members interact with students on a regular basis. As “facilitators” and experts in the land use profession, the members challenge students to think critically about the UrbanPlan issues and the specific responsibilities of the students’ assigned roles as finance directors, marketing directors, city liaisons, neighborhood liaisons, and site planners. ULI members also serve on a “city council” to judge the teams’ proposals. District Council staff and UrbanPlan committees are responsible for:
- recruiting appropriate teachers;
- covering the cost of the teachers’ training;
- providing the computers and UrbanPlan supplies for each classroom;
- training the volunteers (10–15 needed per course); and
- scheduling the volunteers for UrbanPlan classes.
The cost of the program ranges from $5,000 to $20,000, depending in large part on the amount of staff time involved.
Each course takes 15 weeks to complete. Volunteers participate in four classes in each course offering. It is best to recruit teachers in the spring for classes to be offered the next fall or spring.