Leaders from RED Development and ULI Arizona hosted nearly 25 Desert Vista High School students for an afternoon of hands-on learning with the Valley’s real estate best.

The students represented the winning teams of ULI Arizona’s UrbanPlan program, a realistic, engaging, and academically demanding classroom-based curriculum in which students learn about the fundamental forces that affect land use and real estate development.

“These students are tomorrow’s voters, neighbors, leaders, colleagues and public officials,” said Jim Belfiore, UrbanPlan Chair and president of Belfiore Real Estate Consulting. “Urban Plan teaches the critical tools they need to understand the importance of community building.”

As a part of the curriculum, the students explored the thriving urban community of CityScape and its development path. The project case study allowed students to experience the challenging issues, private and public sector roles, complex trade-offs, and fundamental economics that arise in real estate development.

“The tour of CityScape provided students the opportunity to hear details of the process through the perspective of the very people who planned and constructed CityScape,” said Brett Heron, Vice President of Finance for RED Development. “One-on-one time with the city’s experts in development gives them the hands-on experience that will benefit them far into the future.”

UrbanPlan is developed for high school juniors and seniors in economics and government classes.  Student development teams respond to an RFP to redevelop a 5 1/2-block site from a mythical city.

Since its inception, ULI’s UrbanPlan program has reached more than 20,000 high schools and universities across the country since 2003 and in October of 2010, The George Lucas Educational Foundation selected UrbanPlan as one of only 20 programs in the U.S. for grades K-12 in its “What Works in Education Series.”

RED Development, a commercial real estate company and the developer of CityScape,  hosted the event for the winners and was the primary UrbanPlan program sponsor this year.