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WASHINGTON D.C., (September 2, 2021) – A team of five students from Iolani High School, Honolulu, Hawaii, has won the second-annual UrbanPlan National Student Competition, run by the Urban Land Institute (ULI). The Iolani High School team beat nine other high schools from across the United States and Canada to win a $5,000 prize. ULI is a global, member-driven organization comprising more than 45,000 real estate and urban development professionals dedicated to advancing the Institute’s mission of shaping the future of the built environment for transformative impact in communities worldwide.
UrbanPlan is a realistic, engaging exercise in which participants—high school students, university students, or public officials—learn the fundamental forces that affect development in our communities. Participants experience public and private sector roles, complex trade-offs, and fundamental economics while proposing realistic land use solutions to development challenges. Generously supported by member gifts to the ULI Foundation, and offered through ULI’s District Councils and National Councils, UrbanPlan has reached nearly 60,000 students and public officials globally.
The students were tasked with redeveloping six blocks in the fictional city of Elmwood. The student’s fictional companies had to balance historical preservation, dereliction, and competing neighborhood priorities, along with financial constraints to meet the needs of the city and its residents. For this challenge, the Request for Proposal also mandated a specific focus on sustainability by asking students to create a street-level plan for the central corridor and factor in costs for upgrading buildings to LEED Platinum.
The competition involved 60 students comprising 14 teams from 10 high schools around the United States and Canada: Berkeley High in San Francisco, California; East Brunswick High School, Brunswick, New Jersey; Brooklyn Technical High School, Brooklyn, New York; Iolani High School, Honolulu, Hawaii; Kalani High School, Honolulu, Hawaii; Mounds View High School, Arden Hills, Minnesota; Bedford High School, Bedford, Massachusetts; Palot Alto High School, Palo Alto, California; Central Toronto Academy, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and participants in the REEC Summer Program.
Forma Inc., of Iolani High School, Honolulu, Hawaii, won the competition and took home $5,000 in prize money. Berkeley High School placed second and Kalani High School placed third. Forma Inc’s team (Sumin Sung, Jensen Ahokovi, Brandon Chin, Dyson Lee, and Micah Morikuni) designed a neighborhood centered around the values of community, sustainability, and activity. At the heart of their plan was a central park comprising an entire city block.
Lance Suzuki, teacher at Iolani High School, and mentor to Forma Inc., celebrated his students and the opportunity to compete: “The competition is an activity that students perennially point to as being especially memorable and it allows them to exercise important soft skills like collaboration and critical thinking. In addition, in this very challenging school year, UrbanPlan gave students a bit of normalcy and something positive to focus their energies on. We are humbled to be able to hoist a metaphorical championship banner!”
ULI Hawaii has worked for 20 years to bring high quality resources on innovative practices in land use from Hawaii, the nation, and around the world. ULI Hawaii provides solutions to highly technical and difficult land use issues. ULI Hawaii provides an open forum that brings together the public, private, and non-profit sectors and all others devoted to land use that is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.
About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to shape the future of the built environment for transformative impact in communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the institute has more than 45,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines. For more information on ULI, please visit uli.org or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.