ULI Poland Teaches High School Students About the Development Process

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How should a successful real estate project be conceived and developed? What should developers include to attract tenants, residents and investors? These and other questions were addressed head-on by 32 participants in the first UrbanPlan workshop organised by the Urban Land Institute in Poland.

WARSAW (16 May 2017)—The Urban Land Institute (ULI) launched its UrbanPlan educational initiative at the American School in Warsaw on 10 May. UrbanPlan teaches young people about the urban environment through a series of interactive workshops and team challenges.  The workshops were run by professional trainers, supported by experts from the real estate, property development and financial industry—members of ULI Poland.

ULI created the UrbanPlan programme in the United States a decade ago. More than 40,000 students have participated in the programme to date, which has also been held in the UK, Ireland and Germany.

“Our programme is implemented internationally to give students a hint of what a career in the real estate industry entails, and to help young people understand the importance of regenerating urban areas,” said Karolina Kaim, member of the Executive Committee of ULI Poland. ”UrbanPlan inspires students to use their acquired knowledge skills and talents in a fun and educational competition, to design and promote a successful real estate planning and development project. We want our future leaders to understand how important it is to directly influence the space around us. ”

The workshop organised at the American School of Warsaw involved 32 students divided into 8 project teams. Each team acted as a separate virtual company involved in the reconstruction of a part of an imaginary city. They all worked on three-dimensional models and a special budgeting application prepared for the programme. Students took on the roles of financial directors, investment managers, marketing and sales managers and planning directors.

“I think this is a very interesting experience, especially for high school students who will be attending university in a short while but without definite career plans,” said Zuzanna, a workshop participant. Her classmate Oskar added: “I like the fact that we have contact with experts, with the people who deal with it every day, this is their profession. It’s a great chance to try our luck at changing the city”.

After developing the concept and functional mix for their projects, the student teams mapped their plans in an application that helped manage the budget, assess the profits and losses, and incurred investment risk. By dealing with numerous socio-economic problems and changes, students learned how to shape responsible spatial order and manage the development of cities.

At the end of the workshop, students presented their plans to a mock city council comprising industry experts. Participants had to convince the “council members” of their vision, explaining all issues related to development, design, and investment in the city.

“I am very pleased that this programme could finally take place in Poland. I want to express sincere thanks to our sponsor, partners, and volunteers without whom this wonderful event could not have taken place”, said John Banka, Chairman of ULI Poland. “It was really fun and satisfying to coach these students and to witness their incredible passion and commitment to the project.”

The UrbanPlan workshops will hopefully be extended to other high schools in Poland in the future. The main partner for programme at the American School of Warsaw was Echo Investment, with support from Tacit Investment, Coimpex and Vastint Poland as partners.

About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute is a non-profit 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. Established in 1936, the institute has almost 40,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines. For more information, please visit europe.uli.org, follow us on Twitter, or join our LinkedIn group.