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ULI North Florida partners with local high schools to promote responsible land use

The Nease winning team

Urban Land Institute (ULI) North Florida recently partnered with two local high schools for an exercise in urban planning. Seniors at Nease High School in Ponte Vedra and Episcopal High School in Jacksonville participated in UrbanPlan, a program designed to educate tomorrow’s neighbors, community leaders, public officials, and land use professionals in order to create better communities.

“Through UrbanPlan, students learn how the forces of our market economy clash and collaborate with the nonmarket forces of our representative democracy to create the built environment,” said Regency Center’s Bruce Johnson, chair of the ULI North Florida district council. “The goal is to help students understand the importance of urban planning and how real estate decisions can affect an entire community.”

The Episcopal winning team

During the 15-hour unit, student development teams respond to a “Request for Proposal” for the redevelopment of a blighted site in the mythical city of “Elmwood.” Each team member assumes one of five roles in their private, for-profit firm: finance director, marketing director, city liaison, neighborhood liaison and site planner.

Their goal is to win the contract from the city. Teams address challenging financial, market, social, political, and design issues; develop a financial proforma and three-dimensional model of their plan; and present their proposal to a “city council” made up of local ULI members that are real estate and land use professionals.

Volunteers awarded two teams the development contract. The Episcopal winning team, led by teacher Jacob Nash, included Tyler Miller, Sara Farris, Keegan Ball, Meghan Shmunes and Benton Hosea. The Nease winning team, led by teacher H.A. Smith, included Danny Gomez, Katryna Demetriou, Mac Reynolds, Mary Warley and Corey Clarkston.

Eighteen ULI North Florida members volunteered at both high schools including Corie Baker, Anne Brettingen, Bert Brown, Carolyn Clark, Jay Cunio, Josh Edwards, Tom Fleming, Scott Hobby, Keith Hyatt, Allan Iouse, Bruce Johnson, Emerson Lotzia, Margo Moehring, Andrew Mumford, Lisa Palmer, David Parker, Trip Stanley and Riley Williams.

More information about UrbanPlan, ULI and ULI North Florida is available online at or

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