ULI’s signature UrbanPlan program is a realistic, engaging exercise in which participants—high school students, university students, or public officials—learn about the fundamental forces that affect real estate development in our communities. Participants 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.
Trained UrbanPlan volunteers can have two roles:
1) facilitate teams of students or public officials to redevelop a hypothetical blighted area via a public-private partnership and
2) serve on a mock city councils to judge presentations and select a winning team at the end of the session.
All volunteers must first complete a daylong training session in which they learn the intricacies of the exercise and then how best to communicate their real life experience to the students in the classroom. Once the one time training is completed, the time demand on the volunteers is flexible and self scheduled as the program is run at multiple times and locations each semester.
FAQ for UrbanPlan Volunteers
- Why do I have to be trained?
Volunteers are trained on what the program entails, what the students will be learning and guidance on how to facilitate your meetings with students.
- How often do I have to be trained?
Once! Unless you are interested in a refresher course, you only need to attend one day of training.
- How long is training?
One full day that takes place at a local venue. Lunch is provided.
- What if I cannot attend the full day?
We recommend you choose a training day you can attend fully due to the content of the course. Based on teams, training works best when the entire team is there for the full day.
- When is training?
Trainings will be scheduled throughout the year. Check our events page for any future Urban Plan Volunteer trainings.
UrbanPlan at UTSA
In 2019, ULI San Antonio assisted Dr. Albert Han with the launch of UrbanPlan at UTSA and the program continued in 2020 and 2021. ULI volunteers assist with advising and facilitating the groups and with the mock city council.
Urban Plan for Public Officials
ULI San Antonio also hosted an UrbanPlan for Public Officials workshop in 2019. Participants in the program develop proposals for a hypothetical urban neighborhood. Each participant takes on real-life roles, such as site planner, financial analyst, or marketing director. During the process, team members learn firsthand the intricacies of urban renewal projects –and because profit is often a primary goal, the workshop will also include some down-to-earth lessons on financial reality.
Public officials who complete the UrbanPlan For Public Officials workshop leave with a deeper understanding of the land use process and the practical realities, different time frames, political and financial risks, and necessary trade-offs of the development process. They will have a greater sense of the important role they plan when setting policy and in accomplishing their community’s goals when working with the private sector before they return to their city and approach actual development projects.