Some important changes have occurred to ULI’s UrbanPlan program over the past eight months, including transitioning to an all virtual delivery and the handbook undergoing its first wave of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) related edits.
The UrbanPlan classroom program had to quickly pivot to a virtual format when COVID-19 hit back in March. Now, the program is wrapping up its first fully virtual semester with flying colors.
James Suh (Partner, KASA Partner), a longtime UrbanPlan volunteer and School Champion for Gunn High School in Palo Alto remarked, “I have found the virtual platform to be working extremely well. There’s no loss of interactivity since you can still move the building blocks and use the marker tools to focus their attention to specific site plan or financial information, and having the student’s material ahead of time on Google Sheets allows me to be better prepared and to make efficient use of our time.”
We’re looking forward to having more virtual UrbanPlan classrooms in the Spring 2021 semester, including the return of Eastside College Preparatory School in East Palo Alto.
The UrbanPlan team is continuously working to improve the program for students, teachers, and volunteers. The UrbanPlan curriculum was originally drafted in 2002, revised in 2014, and is now due for an update to best reflect best practices in market realities and industry best practices.
Thanks to feedback from teachers and stakeholders, it was clear that a small update to revise or reflect upon dated and problematic language around race and homelessness in the UrbanPlan handbook was necessary in the short term as a first step. Following many hours of conversation amongst the Urban Equity and Inclusion (E&I) working group led by an E&I consultant, teachers, UrbanPlan stakeholders, and ULI staff, a first wave of edits are being made to tackle these issues.
We look forward to launching the revised handbook in the next year and for the continued efforts from the E&I working group to improve the UrbanPlan curriculum and experience for all.
If you’re interested in becoming an UrbanPlan volunteer and lending your time to the virtual classrooms, please submit a volunteer application and we’ll contact you as soon as our February 2021 volunteer training is scheduled!