UrbanPlan’s mission is to create a sophisticated level of discourse among local stakeholders involved in land use decisions through the education of tomorrow’s voters, neighbors, community leaders, public officials, and land use professionals so, together, we can create better communities.


What is UrbanPlan?

UrbanPlan is a realistic, engaging, and academically demanding classroom-based curriculum that teaches the fundamentals of development. Since 2003, more than 52,000 high school and university students in the United States and Canada have discovered the issues, private and public sector roles, complex trade-offs, and fundamental economics of realistic land use solutions and vexing growth challenges.

  • 21 ULI District Councils and 2 satellites ran UrbanPlan programs in the 2017-18 academic year.
  • More members (2,500+ per year)–including trustees, governors, and product council members–participate in UrbanPlan than in any other national or local ULI program.
  • UrbanPlan reached over 3,900 students in 165 classrooms at 67 high schools in the 2017-18 academic year.
  • 15 universities ran UrbanPlan in graduate MBA, Real Estate, City & Regional Planning, and Architecture programs in the 2017-18 academic year.
  • Now in its third year, 107 ULI members engaged 320 public sector decision makers representing 85 jurisdictions through UrbanPlan.
  • 808 volunteers donated over 3,865 hours to the program in the 2017-18 academic year.

UrbanPlan is implemented through a 15 class-hour project-based learning curriculum unit developed for two student populations: 1) high school juniors and seniors in economics and government classes; and 2) university graduate students in land use focused disciplines: city planning, MBA real estate, architecture, and law. Student development teams respond to an RFP to redevelop a 5 ½ block site from a mythical city. Through the process, they discover the dynamic fundamental challenges of development: how the forces of our market economy clash and collaborate with the forces of our representative democracy to create the built environment.

Why UrbanPlan?

With a 2020 population forecast of over 8.5 million residents, New York City’s citizens are increasingly making difficult land use decisions. Where and how will we live, work, shop, and travel?  Our answers to these challenges will impact the character and vibrancy of our neighborhoods and communities. Yet, our students are rarely educated about the interactions of local government with our market economy, and how these forces join to create the built environment — the foundation for any informed land use discussion. Our program provides our future leaders with the necessary skills and understanding to meet the challenges of accommodating growth and improving quality of life. That’s the power of UrbanPlan.

Creating a Connection with New York City’s Youth

Since the program’s New York City debut in 2003, UrbanPlan has reached over 4,800 students at Brooklyn Technical High School, Murry Bergtraum High School, St. Raymond High School for Boys, Stuyvesant High School, Boerum Hill School for International Studies, The Bronx High School of Science, Poly Prep Country Day School, High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology, and Urban Assembly School of Design and Construction. The dedicated teachers at these schools have openly welcomed UrbanPlan and fully embraced its curriculum as part of the semester’s coursework. More than 200 ULI New York volunteers have contributed over 7,200 hours in hands-on classroom interactions through UrbanPlan.

Volunteers and Training

ULI volunteers are an essential component of UrbanPlan. We ask that volunteers have a minimum of 4 years industry experience. Volunteers must commit to one 7-hour training that requires about 4-5 hours of advance preparation. After the time spent training volunteers are eligible to participate as facilitators or “city council” members in the participating high schools. Trained volunteers can elect to participate in a facilitation, which typically lasts 45 minutes to an hour, or a “city council” day, which typically lasts between 90 minutes and 3 hours.

For more information about becoming an UrbanPlan volunteer contact Sofia Guerrero via e-mail  at sofia.guerrero@uli.org  or call 917-773-8834.

UrbanPlan Steering Committee

Carrie C. Lee, Newmark Knight Frank Valuation & Advisory (Co-Chair)
Jon R. Salony, Bayberry Advisors, LLC (Co-Chair)
Joseph Barber-Buxbaum
Christina Battiston, Gensler
Jodi Callender, WeWork
Merrie Frankel, Minerva Realty Consultants
Inbal Himelblau-Denman, IronSky
Michael Horst
Edward Kohler, The Pegasus Group, LLC
Edward LaGrassa, Chilton Realty, Inc
Tony O’Malley, Acorn

Chien Dao Glasgow, Chien Dao Studio (Advisor)

Roles & Responsibilities of the Steering Committee

The UrbanPlan Co-Chairs and Steering Committee members are responsible for supporting the citywide marketing and promotion of ULI New York’s UrbanPlan program, actively recruiting and retaining qualified schools, teachers and ULI volunteers, and maintaining the integrity of the UrbanPlan program locally.

Interested in joining the UrbanPlan Steering Committee? Contact Sofia Guerrero via e-mail at sofia.guerrero@uli.org  or call 917-773-8834 for more information.