ULI Philadelphia Event Policy Update
ULI Philadelphia values meeting together in real life.
In October 2021, ULI Philadelphia held its first in person, UrbanPlan for Communities workshop with a group of civically involved residents, including Citizen’s Planning Institute (CPI) graduates and Registered Community Organization (RCO) board members. The pilot program was held in January 2021 virtually over Zoom.
UrbanPlan is an engaging program that creates high level and hands on discourse among local stakeholders about the land use development processes through classroom-based curriculum. Similar to last year’s virtual workshop, participants were divided into groups and assigned one of five roles: Financial Analyst, City Liaison, Neighborhood Liaison, Marketing Director, and Site Planner. Participants were encouraged to fully embody their assigned roles, which gave them new perspectives from their everyday profession. Once divided into groups, each team is challenged to develop and finance a 5.5. block area in the fictional city of Yorktown. The main goal of the program is for everyone to walk away with a deeper understanding of the land use and development processes.
Bridget Obikoya, the ULI UrbanPlan instructor and Transportation Planner & Design Engineer from Arlington,VA , excitedly welcomed participants and guided the teams through creating a captivating vision statement, realistic site plan and financial models that met the budgeting constraints and RFP requirements. Once first drafts of their site plans were completed, teams were met with ULI member volunteer facilitators who represented different parts of the planning process and provided teams with constructive feedback. The teams were then able to go back to their site plans and revise as needed, before another group of ULI volunteers came in to ask more challenging questions.
At the end of the workshop, the three teams finalized their proposals and presented them to a fictitious City Council panel, also made up of ULI member volunteers. Everyone received great praises from the volunteer council members for their presentations and after careful deliberation, “Building to Exhale” was chosen as the winner of the RFP for their strong vision statement, dedication to building affordable housing and emphasis on job creation and public space, all while meeting or exceeding the financial requirements. The group was awarded with the coveted prize of ‘UrbanPlan bragging rights’.
ULI Philadelphia would like to thank all the participants, ULI volunteers, the UrbanPlan Committee and instructor Bridget Obikoya for their time and dedication to making this event possible. A special thanks to ULI’s UrbanPlan Philanthropic Leader AR Spruce for their ongoing support.
Contributed by Kendra Hills, Masters of City Planning candidate at the University of Pennsylvania with a concentration in Smart Cities.