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A snapshot of the programme from an UrbanPlan video

Workshops bring built environment to life for students

UrbanPlan education initiative launches in UK schools this autumn to give young people an inside look at the property industry

Posted by Stephanie Broad | August 05, 2015 | Teaching

Following a successful pilot, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) will launch its ‘UrbanPlan’ educational initiative in schools across the UK in November 2015. 

UrbanPlan teaches young people about the urban environment through a series of interactive workshops and team challenges.  Since its inception in the US over ten years ago, it has reached more than 27,000 students.  Its launch in the UK will mark the first time the programme has been taken overseas.

UrbanPlan UK will deliver targeted, one-day workshops for A level students studying geography and business studies.  The workshops aim to bring the built environment to life by challenging students to plan the redevelopment of a blighted site in a hypothetical town. The main objectives of the programme are to create more informed citizens who better understand the communities in which they live; to enrich the A-level curriculum; to develop links between schools and the property industry; and to encourage young people from diverse social and economic backgrounds to consider careers in property.

The programme has been designed to be delivered free of charge to schools, to fit within the curriculum and class timetables, and to minimise impact on teachers’ workloads. It will use multimedia resources including a teachers’ toolkit, planning resources, and 3D models, as well as briefing films and software packages.  The workshops will be run by professional educators and supported by industry volunteers who help guide the students through the redevelopment process. 

“UrbanPlan gives students from all walks of life a unique insight into the pressures and processes through which communities evolve,” said Simon Clark, Chair of ULI UK and Chair of the UrbanPlan UK steering committee. “This programme will increase their awareness of the complexities of urban redevelopment and help the students become better citizens. Some may even be inspired to consider roles in the property industry. In addition, it will offer volunteers a chance to share their expertise and to promote the role of the property industry in the transformation of urban areas.” 

The launch of UrbanPlan in the UK follows a detailed feasibility study and pilot run in three diverse London schools with 90 A level students in November 2014.  Students, teachers, and volunteers rated the workshops highly and evaluations showed that the programme was particularly successful in raising awareness of the property industry among young people. Key lessons for improvement taken out of the pilot have been incorporated into the final programme.

ULI plans to deliver UrbanPlan in schools across the UK, but will focus initially on cities where ULI has existing relationships including Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, and Manchester.

ULI will be seeking volunteers from the property industry from a range of disciplines including surveyors, planners, developers, lawyers, accountants and architects. Volunteers will be invited to support the delivery of the workshop alongside the professional facilitators.    

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