UrbanPlan, ULI’s urban design and development curriculum for high school students, university students, and public officials, has grown steadily in the Asia Pacific region, reflecting how the Institute’s education initiative is evolving to be applicable not only to different audiences, but also to different markets around the globe. Following its debut in the Asia Pacific region in early 2018, UrbanPlan expanded throughout fiscal year 2019 with workshops in Hong Kong, Manila, Singapore, and Tokyo. During that time, nearly 230 students and nearly 150 public officials participated in the program.
UrbanPlan’s establishment at the Independent Schools Foundation (ISF) Academy in Hong Kong resulted from leveraging resources developed by UrbanPlan U.K., involving a team of local volunteer facilitators delivering workshops in a one-day, six-hour format. This is a more condensed delivery structure than the one typically used in the United States, where the 15-hour unit is taught over a period of three to four weeks.
Though students in Hong Kong initially embraced UrbanPlan, the need to localize content became apparent because the UrbanPlan U.K. model, which is based on a development scheme for a British community, did not resonate with most students in the Asia Pacific region. When creating development models with blocks, they instinctively fashioned super-tall skyscrapers to represent the building typologies characteristic of Asia’s megacities. As a result, UrbanPlan Hong Kong was adapted to reflect the high-density vertical environments more familiar to local students, as well as to more accurately reflect community and social issues relevant to Hong Kong.