UrbanPlan is a realistic, engaging and academically challenging classroom curriculum.

Photo by: University of Minnesota, College of Design, BDA Program

Students at the U of M Design School experience the UrbanPlan program

Photo by: University of Minnesota, College of Design, BDA Program

U of M Design School students use the UrbanPlan program as a example to students of the complications of the development process


Educating tomorrow’s voters, neighbors, community leaders, and land use professionals!


urbanplan-logoUrbanPlan is an educational program that focuses on urban redevelopment. Students form “company teams” to respond to a Request for Proposals for the redevelopment of a specific urban area. Their goal is to be awarded the contract from the authorizing community. It is a realistic, engaging and academically challenging classroom curriculum in which high school seniors learn the roles, issues, economics and tradeoffs involved in urban development.

The students are responsible for preparing a business proposal with documentation and visual aids to support their decisions. UrbanPlan is a classic problem-based learning model in which students and teachers confront a dilemma in a particular discipline that allows for more than one solution and teaches students the problem-solving skills required for a fulfilling career.

With the leadership of teacher Steve Bekemeyer, ULI Minnesota has conducted UrbanPlan at Roseville Area High School since 2006. In 2016, the program expanded into Saint Paul Central High School (SPCHS), and in 2017 the program launched at the School of Environmental Studies in Apple Valley, MN. In 2019, we have the opportunity to expand further by launching the program at Mounds View High School to reach 100 additional high school students!

Check out the UrbanPlan website

Get Involved With UrbanPlan

ULI MN members can volunteer as facilitators or jurors in a classroom-based, web-supported program in which high school students learn the roles, issues, trade-offs, and economics relative to urban development.

Contact Aubrey Albrecht to learn more about becoming an UrbanPlan High School or to volunteer.

UrbanPlan Sponsors

Make a difference! Sponsor UrbanPlan.


Kare 11 Features UrbanPlan

ULI Minnesota’s UrbanPlan in Roseville High School was profiled on Kare 11 Cool in School! UrbanPlan gives high school students hands-on experience with the issues, tradeoffs and economics of urban redevelopment. All expenses for the curriculum, teacher training and materials are paid by ULI MN. We are seeking another participating school – 12th grade economics/government class is preferred.

View the segment from Kare 11 on UrbanPlan.

Roseville Teacher Receives UrbanPlan Award

Steve Bekemeyer was awarded the Minnesota City County Management Association Teacher Achievement Award for his work in fostering an interest in local government through UrbanPlan. For the past several years, MCMA has extended an annual “Teacher’s Achievement Award” to a secondary educator who has demonstrated creativity and commitment in teaching his or her students about local government and active citizenship. The winner is selected by a committee of MCMA members, and public presentation of the award takes place at the annual meeting of the League of Minnesota Cities.

What Students Say About UrbanPlan

I came into this class expecting nothing more than a ton of worksheets and a small short speech at the end. I was wrong. UrbanPlan is a well put together process to work as a team and develop a wonderful project. This was the greatest experience of my high school career.  — Wade Piche

UrbanPlan is a well designed project that is great preparation for other kinds of presentations and proposals in college and in the business world. The financial program could be improved if there were options for specific types of neighborhood retail that would affect the town financially. — Ian Gunsolus

This project has influenced my decision on future professions and college education. With the skills I have gained through UrbanPlan, I can envision myself becoming very successful in the business field. Again, thank you for this rewarding opportunity and I hope you continue to expand this program in the future.  — Katie Cooney

Developing Minds: UrbanPlan

Download UrbanPlan Video

This “Developing Minds” video was created by The George Lucas Educational Foundation. GLEF’s mission is to create awareness of innovative and effective curricula and program models in kindergarten thru 12 grade. In October 2010 GLEF selected UrbanPlan as one of only 20 programs running nationally in grades k-12 their “What Works in Education” series.

To obtain the video from the I-tunes Store, follow these easy steps:

1. Go to the iTunes Store
2. In the search box write: Edutopia Developing Minds
3. Download