Urban Land Institute Educating Tomorrow s Voters Neighbors Community by henrypford


									Urban Land

Educating Tomorrow’s
Voters, Neighbors,
Community Leaders,
and Land Use

The United States will add 60 million peo-      ticipants in this decision-making process,
ple in the next 20 years. As our population     which is so critical to our quality of life and
grows, Americans across the country are         the vitality of our democracy.
called on to make increasingly difficult land      If we are to address effectively the chal-
use decisions. Where and how will we, our       lenge of our growing population, if we are to
children, and future generations live, work,    improve our communities as they grow, we
shop, play, and travel from place to place?     must elevate the level of discourse and
How we choose to answer questions like          improve the decision-making capacity of all
these will determine how we accommodate         citizens. UrbanPlan, ULI’s land use planning
growth without squandering valuable natu-       and real estate development program, strives
ral resources, sacrificing the livability of    to change the land use decision-making
our neighborhoods, or violating our sense       process by providing high school juniors
of community. Yet, nothing in our educa-        and seniors with the understanding, insights,
tion arms us with the language and skills       and language to become engaged and
to become effective problem-solving par-        informed problem solvers.

T H E      M I S S I O N
“Our goal is to create a more sophisticated level of discourse among local                        Who Created UrbanPlan?
stakeholders involved in land use decisions. The education of tomorrow’s                          UrbanPlan is based on a program originally
voters, neighbors, community leaders, public officials, and land use profes-                      created by the Urban Land Institute and
                                                                                                  implemented by ULI District Councils in
sionals is mission critical for ULI.”—Ron Nahas, Partner, Rafanelli and Nahas, and                Los Angeles, Orange County, and San
chairman of ULI’s UrbanPlan task force
                                                                                                  Francisco, California; and in Orlando,
                                                                                                  Florida. The current version was devel-
                                                                                                  oped at the Fisher Center for Real Estate
What Is UrbanPlan?                              The Outcome                                       and Urban Economics at the University of
UrbanPlan is a realistic, engaging, and aca-    Students who complete UrbanPlan under-            California, Berkeley, in collaboration with
demically challenging classroom-based,          stand three fundamental principles:               ULI and a team of high school economics
Web-supported program in which students         ■ The built environment does not happen           and government teachers. This collabora-
learn the roles, issues, trade-offs, and eco-   by accident or by mandate.                        tion ensured the reality of the land use
                                                ■ Good development must accommodate
nomics involved in urban development. It                                                          problem as well as the academic credibility
                                                market realities as well as public needs
provides our future voters, neighbors,                                                            and standards-based content demanded
                                                and desires.
community leaders, public officials, and        ■ Our actions as citizens and consumers           by educators.
land use professionals with a hands-on          influence what is built, when it’s built, and        The UrbanPlan curriculum is compatible
experience in developing realistic land use     where it’s built.                                 with all state and national content stan-
solutions to vexing urban growth challenges.       Students often express this understand-        dards for high school economics and pro-
                                                ing with a degree of sophistication that          vides a much-needed local government
                                                stuns the professionals:                          component to the government curriculum.
                                                                                                  It employs the best practices of problem
                                                “The increased density of our plan gives          and project-based learning (PBL) required
                                                us the fiscal leeway to provide more              in schools across the U.S.
                                                affordable housing and public amenities
                                                for the residents of the Elmwood neigh-
                                                borhood.”—Adam Capesi, 17, Berkeley High School
                                                      Where and How Has UrbanPlan                                        Teams of students present plans to a “city council”
                                                                                                                         jury of ULI members.
                                                      Been Tested?
                                                      UrbanPlan was rigorously field tested for two
                                                      years with over 700 high school juniors and
                                                      seniors by teachers in core curriculum eco-
                                                      nomics and government courses in five tra-
                                                      ditional California public high schools—both
                                                      urban and suburban. Refinements based on
                                                      feedback from the students, teachers, and
                                                      land use professionals involved produced a
                                                      program that is highly engaging and
                                                      rewarding for all participants.

                                                     Students in Arlington, Virginia, Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles,
                                                     New York, Orange County, California, Orlando, and San
                                                     Francisco participated in UrbanPlan programs in 2004.

Teams use color-coded LEGO pieces to create the    Using electronic spreadsheets, students input team develop-        The “facilitator,” ULI member Fred Kober. Student Kelly
“massing plans” for their development proposals.   ment decisions and calculate tax revenues, job creation, and       Walsh said, “He made us really question what we were
                                                   developer profitability.                                           doing and why. We realized that everything matters.
                                                                                                                      You can’t just throw things here or there.”

How Does UrbanPlan Work in the                        posal to a “City Council” of ULI members                        Measures of Success
Classroom?                                            that awards the development contract to                         How do we know that UrbanPlan works?
Student development teams respond to a                the winning team.                                               ■ All teachers and schools that have
“Request for Proposal” for the redevelop-               Over the course of the three-week proj-                       piloted UrbanPlan have continued and
ment of a blighted neighborhood in a                  ect and prior to the presentations, local                       expanded their program.
hypothetical community. Each team mem-                land use professionals, who have attended                       ■ Postive evidence from every community
ber assumes one of five roles: finance                UrbanPlan volunteer training, interact sev-                     that has adopted the program includes:
director, marketing director, city liaison,           eral times with the student teams.                                 • informed parents, students, and
neighborhood liaison, and site planner.                 As “facilitators,” they challenge the                              teachers;
Through these roles, students develop a               students to think more critically about                            • positive media coverage of participat-
real-life understanding of the various                the UrbanPlan issues and the specific                                ing schools and ULI;
stakeholders in the development process               responsibilities of their “job” (Finance,                          • an energized District Council; and
and the challenge of reconciling the stake-           Marketing, Site Planner, City Liaison,                             • a new population of land use profession-
holders’ often competing agendas to cre-              Neighborhood Liaison).                                               als introduced to ULI and its mission.
ate a well-designed, sustainable project.               As “presenters,” they relate their own                        ■ Eighteen ULI District Councils are
   Teams address challenging financial,               local projects to the issues and decisions                      organizing to implement UrbanPlan in
social, political, and design issues, devel-          the students are struggling with in                             their communities.
op a pro forma and three-dimensional                  UrbanPlan.                                                      ■ U.C. Berkeley, U.T. Austin, and DePaul
model of their plan, and present their pro-                                                                           University graduate and undergraduate pro-
                                                                                                                      grams in architecture and real estate use
                                                                                                                      UrbanPlan in their own architecture,
                                                                                                                      finance, and real estate courses.
Success Depends on You                                          The Impact
Working with UP is one of the most rewarding                    What do participants in the program have to say?
experiences for ULI members at the local
level. This powerful and respected program                      “If every citizen in the city of San Rafael did the UrbanPlan program that
                                                                our high school students just completed, I would be one happy redevel-
gives members from every professional disci-
                                                                opment director.”—Nancy Mackle, Redevelopment Director, San Rafael, California
pline the opportunity to give back to their
community at a level of involvment to which
they can realistically commit.
■ Leadership opportunites for those who can
devote the time and perseverence to organize
local efforts.
■ Classroom volunteer: facilitator, presenter,
or “city council” juror—all essential roles
requiring as little as 2 hours per semester.

                                                                ULI Orlando launched the new UrbanPlan teaching unit in local schools in 2004.

                                                                “UrbanPlan is extraordinary. It responds to our need for academically
                                                                challenging programs that demand critical thinking about real-world
                                                                problems. . . in which students must come to well-researched posi-
                                                                tions on the issues, engage in civil and informed discourse about
                                                                these issues, and understand that all positions can have real-world
                                                                consequences.”—Doug Powers, High School Economics Teacher

                                                                “These students are better prepared to dispassionately evaluate the chal-
                                                                lenges, trade-offs, costs, and benefits of development in their communities
                                                                than any adult who hasn’t actually been a member of a development
                                                                team.”—Doug Abbey, Chairman, AMB Capital Partners

                                                                “UrbanPlan distills and transmits the essence of the development
                                                                process to young adults and adults alike more effectively, more
                                                                comprehensively, in less time, and with more lasting impact than
                                                                any other program suitable for a general audience.”—Steve Chamberlin,
In Arlington, Virginia, 27 juniors and seniors at Washington-   President, Chamberlin Associates
Lee High School participated in UrbanPlan in May 2004.

   As ULI members, we can clearly agree that
our public schools need support and that our
citizenry is ill informed about land use issues.
Here is a chance to do something about both.
   Join our efforts to improve the decision-
making environments at the local level,
where the real land use decisions are made.
   For more information about the program
and how to introduce it in your community,
contact Paula Blasier, UrbanPlan Director,
ULI. (pblasier@uli.org)

ULI–the Urban Land Institute
                                                                Students at Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers competed in the ULI New
                                                                York competition in 2004.
1025 Thomas Jefferson Street, N.W.
Suite 500 West
Washington, D.C. 20007

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