UrbanPlan is an interactive exercise about the development process.
UrbanPlan is a program developed by the Urban Land Institute to engage communities in an interactive dialogue about the challenging issues, varying private and public sector roles, complex tradeoffs, and economics that are at play in land use and development decisions.
UrbanPlan workshops are hands-on, interactive simulations in which participants work as competing development teams to respond to a hypothetical request for proposal (RFP) for the redevelopment of a neighborhood in the fictitious City of Yorktown. Teams work together with Legos, a site map, and a financial analysis tool to create a feasible proposal with a completed site plan that meets the RFP’s objectives, the community’s interests and the investors’ bottom line.
The UrbanPlan case study is an example of a city-led redevelopment effort where compromise is needed from the locality, the development team selected through the RFP, and the community. By taking on the role of developer, participants in the workshop get a chance to broaden their knowledge in the following areas:
- the basics of a pro forma and funding of a complex project;
- the economics of different building types and community benefits;
- the different time horizons for the public and private sectors;
- the risk associated with lengthy negotiations among all parties; and
- the importance of a clear and open process in the selection of a private partner.
Who Attends UrbanPlan Workshops?
This experience is useful for people who are relatively new to the land development process as well as to those who are very experienced in one part of the process but want a better understanding of the big picture.
Participants in UrbanPlan for Communities have included Mayors, City Councilors, Planning Commissioners, municipal staff, neighborhood leaders, and more.
Other versions of UrbanPlan have been developed to offer in university and high school classrooms.
Volunteers are drawn from ULI’s membership which includes developers, designers, engineers, attorneys, financiers, planners, and other land use and real estate professionals.