Students use real-life criteria in urban planning competition

Students use real-life criteria in urban planning competition

Megan Altman of Avondale was on the winning team when economics students from Episcopal School of Jacksonville presented complicated plans for rejuvenating a fictional city as part of their UrbanPlan unit to a panel of judges from the Urban Land Institute of North Florida Oct. 29.

UrbanPlanning_04UrbanPlan, a 15-hour class-based curriculum, is offered in economics and government classes. Through the program, upperclassmen explore how the forces of a market economy work with and against non-market forces in a democracy to create the environment in which they live.

In completing their plans the students had to consider economic, social, cultural and political goals of the fictional city and its residents. Some of the items they needed to consider were zoning and design regulations, market demand for different types of land uses and real estate products, traffic patterns, quality of life and the needs of investors and lenders providing the capital for the project. All plans had a time line, during which investors had to be given a return on their investment.

The students were placed into groups of five students. Each group was required to submit a portfolio that included pictures of its Legos plan, financial prospectus, vision statement and list of specific uses within their development. Two groups presented in each of two locations with a winner chosen from each location.

UrbanPlanning_03Altman was a member the winning team Prestige Worldwide LLC. Her teammates were Parker Dickson, Alexis Terkonda, Anish Mirjankar, and Taylor Hulsey.

Also winning the event was the Crown Molders Inc. team comprised of Mikayla Parsons, Kyle Williams, Caroline Cooper, Jonathan Mackoul and Noah Wells.

“The winning teams were consistent in their ability to effectively communicate their vision for their development as well as effectively defending their uses per the requests of the RFP (requests for proposal),” said Perry Walthour, an economics teacher at Episcopal.

“I am always amazed at how well our students are able to defend their development decisions. Several of our former students have made the decision to study real estate in college and plan to make development a career as a result of participating in UrbanPlan,” Walthour said, noting that all students were required to present their projects in professional attire in order to make a positive impression on the judges.

UrbanPlanning_01Serving as judges from the Urban Land Institute for the event were Wiatt Bowers of Atkins; Joe Loretta of Genesis Group; Doug Myers of Collaborative Law Group; Jess Simmons of CBRE; Trip Stanly of Blackwater Capital; Ryan Whitaker of Northmarq; Riley Williams of J. Riley Williams, PLC; and Russell Yaffee of Peters and Yaffee.

By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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