EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ – Urban Land Institute (ULI), in partnership with the East Brunswick School District, is honored to announce the introduction of the first UrbanPlan program in New Jersey.  Created by ULI, UrbanPlan, offers students an opportunity to participate in a hands-on, simulated real estate planning program while working side-by-side with leading industry professionals. Through the program, students learn about the fundamental forces that affect real estate development and how responsible development can shape, transform and ultimately improve our communities.  The class is also designed to teach collaboration, teamwork, and presentation skills.  

UrbanPlan is selectively offered at leading high schools and universities nationwide as an advanced placement, undergraduate and graduate class.   ULI Northern New Jersey sought out East Brunswick High School (“EBHS”) as the first school to offer UrbanPlan in New Jersey, given its reputation for excellence in Social Studies and its national leadership in programs such as the Advanced Placement Institute for Political and Legal Education (“IPLE”).  

“EBHS’ leadership and achievements in social studies and extensive advanced placement course offerings made it the perfect district to introduce this exceptional learning opportunity in New Jersey.  It’s also timely given East Brunswick is in the early stages of redeveloping several areas of the town” said Brian Whitmer, Chairman of ULI Northern New Jersey.  “It’s a lot of work for educators to introduce new elements to their curriculum.  We understand and appreciate the time and effort the district took to even consider UrbanPlan” said Mara Winokur, AICP, PP, Senior Director of Urban Land Institute Northern New Jersey and Westchester/Fairfield.   Course materials and training were partially funded by a grant from ULI.

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To be introduced at EBHS in May of 2019, UrbanPlan is a 15 class-hour curriculum that tasks student teams with responding to a “request for proposals” for the redevelopment of a blighted neighborhood in a fictional community. Each team member assumes one of five roles: Finance Director, Marketing Director, City Liaison, Neighborhood Liaison, or Site Planner.

Through these roles, students develop a visceral understanding of how various market forces (supply and demand, availability of capital, risk versus reward, etc.) clash and collaborate with non-market forces (regulation, politics, advocacy groups, etc.) to create the built environment. Using modeling Lego blocks representing differing asset classes of buildings and property usages, each team must reconcile the often-competing agendas to create a well-designed, market-responsive, financeable, and buildable project. Following the creation of their plans, teams will be tasked with presenting and defending their proposals in front of a volunteer-based mock City Council at the East Brunswick Municipal Building in late May.

In addition to the leadership of local ULI chapters, the UrbanPlan curriculum relies heavily upon the assistance of dedicated volunteers from the real estate, legal, and civics communities. In the 2017-2018 school year, 808 volunteers donated over 3,865 hours to UrbanPlan programs across the country. EBHS’ Brunswick’s UrbanPlan program will be supported by a group of dedicated volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds including;

Michael Lachs, SCGREA Middlesex County Board of Taxation, Valbridge Advisors (Co-Chair)

Brian Whitmer, Cushman & Wakefield (Co-Chair)

Dan Johnson, R&J Strategic Communications

Matthew Giammanco, AvalonBay Communities, Inc.

Dr. Brad Cohen, Township of East Brunswick (Mayor)

Ben Mitsmenn, PE, Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.

Gabrielle Gornelli, Dresdner Robin

Atanas Nakev, Sorin Group, LLC.

Jessica Sweet, Esq., J. Sweet & Co.

Stephanie Turkot, GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc.

Jim Wendell, Township of East Brunswick, (Councilman & Chair of the EB Redevelopment Agency)

Anshu Karundia, Investment Sales and Commercial Leasing

Professor Colette Santasieri, New Jersey Institute of Technology

Priti Shah, Madison Adams Real Estate

George J. Carfagno, Developing Solutions LLC

Jessica Washington, Ripco

Dan Duggan, Bohler Engineering

Mara Winokur, AICP, PP, Senior Director, ULI NNJ & West/FF

Susan Wright, The Wright Architect

“As one of the nation’s most dynamic real estate markets, students in ULI Northern New Jersey’s UrbanPlan program will have unique access to some of the nation’s most experienced and knowledgeable real estate professionals. We appreciate their hard work in putting this program together and we look forward to expanding to additional New Jersey high schools and universities over the next several years,” added Mara Winokur, AICP, PP, Senior Director of Urban Land Institute Northern New Jersey and Westchester/Fairfield.

Since 2003, UrbanPlan has reached over 52,000 high school and university students in the United States & Canada. In 2017-2018 alone, UrbanPlan reached over 3,900 students in 165 classrooms at 67 high schools across the nation.

Real estate professionals interested in participating in or sponsoring UrbanPlan can contact Mara Winokur, Senior Director of ULI Northern New Jersey & Westchester/Fairfield at 201.312.8817 ormara.winokur@uli.org.

About Urban Land Institute

Established in 1936, the Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit education and research institute with almost 40,000 members across the globe. The mission of the Urban Land Institute is to provide responsible leadership in the use of land in order to enhance the total environment. ULI’s mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. For more information on ULI, visit www.uli.org. To learn more about ULI Northern New Jersey, visit www.nnj.uli.org.