The Urban Land Institute North Florida partnered with the Episcopal School of Jacksonville and Nease High School in Ponte Vedra for an exercise in urban planning.
High school seniors participated in UrbanPlan, a program designed to educate future community leaders, neighbors, public officials and land use professionals about how to create better communities.
“Through UrbanPlan, students learn how the forces of our market economy clash and collaborate with the nonmarket forces of our representative democracy to create the built environment,” said Regency Center’s Bruce Johnson, chair of the ULI North Florida District Council.
“The goal is to help students understand the importance of urban planning and how real estate decisions can affect an entire community,” he said.
During the 15-hour unit, student development teams responded to a “Request for Proposal” for the redevelopment of a blighted site in the mythical city of “Elmwood.”
Each member assumed one of five roles in the team’s private, for-profit firm: finance director, marketing director, city liaison, neighborhood liaison and site planner.
The goal was to win the contract from the city. Teams addressed financial, market, social, political, and design issues; developed a financial pro forma and three-dimensional model of their plan; and presented their proposal to a “city council” made up of local ULI members that are real estate and land use professionals.
Volunteers awarded two teams the development contract. The Episcopal winning team, led by teacher Jacob Nash, included Tyler Miller, Sara Farris, Keegan Ball, Meghan Shmunes and Benton Hosea.
The Nease winning team, led by teacher H.A. Smith, included Danny Gomez, Katryna Demetriou, Mac Reynolds, Mary Warley and Corey Clarkston.
Eighteen ULI North Florida members volunteered at both high schools. Volunteers included Johnson, Corie Baker, Anne Brettingen, Bert Brown, Carolyn Clark, Jay Cunio, Josh Edwards, Tom Fleming, Scott Hobby, Keith Hyatt, Allan Iouse, Emerson Lotzia, Margo Moehring, Andrew Mumford, Lisa Palmer, David Parker, Trip Stanley and Riley Williams.
The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.
The institute was established in 1936 and has nearly 30,000 members representing land use and development disciplines.
The ULI North Florida District Council was formed in 2005 and has members from Flagler to Escambia counties, including Jacksonville, Gainesville, Tallahassee, Panama City and Pensacola.