ULI Philadelphia Pilots Real Estate Modeling Workshop With City Council Staff

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Employees of the city council took part in the seminar “City plan for civil servants”

In July 2021, ULI Philadelphia held its first UrbanPlan for government officials virtually with a small group of senior Philadelphia city councilors, including from the offices of President Clark, Majority Leader Parker, and councilors Domba, Gauthier, Green, and Quiñones Sánchez.

UrbanPlan is a realistic, intense and engaging land use planning curriculum taught nationwide, in which participants are exposed to the technical, layered and often tedious dynamics of the development process. This program can be delivered to high schools, universities, community groups and civil servants, all of which are currently being tested and expanded in Philadelphia.

Participants are divided into groups and assigned to one of five roles (financial analyst, city liaison, public relations, marketing director, and facility planner) to encourage them to think about prospects outside of their day-to-day profession. Each team then works together to plan and finance the development of the 5.5 sq. reflects the historical activities and services of the region … “.

The program was moderated by ULI Instructor Bridget Aubicoya, a LEED AP Specialist, Planner and Design Engineer from Arlington County, Virginia. Throughout the workshop, ULI member volunteer facilitators asked the teams about their vision, work plans and financial models, who provided feedback. At the end of the workshop, the A1 Consulting and Destination Elmwood teams finalized their proposals and presented them to a fictitious city council committee made up of ULI volunteer members. Both received great praise from the volunteer board members for their presentations, and after careful deliberation, A1 Consulting was selected as an RFP winner for their clear vision, commitment to affordable housing, and emphasis on job creation while meeting or exceeding financial requirements. The group was awarded the coveted UrbanPlan Bragging Rights award.

Maleda Berhane, Director and CEO of AR Spruce, closed the two days with a presentation on how to apply the lessons learned from UrbanPlan to real projects, highlighting the different methods of engaging with the community. She spoke about two projects, The Exchange in North Philadelphia and the Waterloo Playground in West Kensington, and facilitated an engaging conversation about the important relationship between developers and the city council.

Feedback from the workshop was overwhelmingly positive and many participants expressed interest in expanding the program for their colleagues. ULI Philadelphia would like to thank all the participants, ULI volunteers, UrbanPlan Co-Chairs Eleanor Sharp and Tiffany Thurman, and the rest of the committee members, Brigitte Obikoy and Maledu Berhan, for their time and dedication to make this event possible.

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