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 43,000 high school and university students in the United States have discovered the issues, private and public sector roles, complex trade-offs, and fundamental economics of realistic land use solutions and vexing growth challenges.

  • Nineteen 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 3,300 students in 124 classrooms at 35 high schools in the 2017-18 academic year.
  • Twelve universities ran UrbanPlan in graduate MBA, Real Estate, City & Regional Planning, and Architecture programs in the 2017-18 academic year.
  • In its first year, 70 ULI members engaged over 150 public sector decision makers representing 65 jurisdictions through UrbanPlan for Public Officials.
  • Eight hundred twenty volunteers donated over 2,800 hours to the program in the 2016-17 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, NNJ’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.

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 Mara Winokur via e-mail  at mara.winokur@uli.org  or call 201-312-8817.

UrbanPlan Steering Committee

Michael Lachs, Middlesex County Board of Taxation (Co-Chair)
Brian Whitmer, Cushman & Wakefield (Co-Chair)

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 NNJ’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 Mara Winokur via e-mail at Mara.Winokur@uli.org or call 201-312-8817 for more information.

ULI NNJ launches inaugural Urban Plan Program in East Brunswick High School



Thank you to our UrbanPlan Sponsors!

High school students get real-life experience in real estate development through unique program.