UrbanPlan in Asia Pacific Reflects Adaptability to Different Regions

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.

  • “This is the sort of learning that every student should be doing. It’s about analysis, it’s about collaboration, and it’s about creativity.”

    – Dr. Malcolm Pritchard, Head of School, ISF Academy, Hong Kong

In November 2018, UrbanPlan for Hong Kong was tested with students and teachers at the ISF Academy, and the localized version was well received. The UrbanPlan team is planning to offer the program at other schools in Hong Kong and continue making improvements to help expand its reach and ensure its relevance. Watch the video on the ISF Academy program.

ULI Singapore conducted a similar effort to customize its version of UrbanPlan, which debuted in February 2019 and is targeted to public officials. In addition, ULI Philippines has piloted separate workshops for public officials and university students, and is considering localizing UrbanPlan at the university level. ULI Japan piloted UrbanPlan among university students, academics, and program volunteers and is planning to expand the program. And, discussions are underway to bring the program to Shanghai and Sydney.

The expansion of UrbanPlan in the Asia Pacific region—specifically in Hong Kong—has been made possible with generous support from corporate sponsor Grosvenor, which also supports the program in Europe. Efforts are being made to identify other sponsors willing to help make UrbanPlan available throughout the region.

Give to the Annual Fund and the ULI Foundation to support UrbanPlan.

Find volunteer opportunities for UrbanPlan through Navigator.

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