Press Release

Urban Land Institute Washington and NAACP Announce Inaugural ACT-SO Sustainable Building Intensive Featuring UrbanPlan

March 4, 2021

For more information, contact Margit Nahra at 240-605-8735 or 

WASHINGTON (March 4, 2021) – The Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Washington, D.C. District Council and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACPhave announced the inaugural UrbanPlan workshop for high school students participating in the NAACP’s Afro-Academic Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) Sustainable Building Intensive. The workshop will introduce students from across the country to the forces that shape urban development as well as career opportunities in real estate.  

Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. The NAACP has more than 2,200 units and branches across the nation, along with well over 2 million activists. The NAACP’s mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.  

The NAACP’s ACT-SO program is a yearlong achievement program designed to recruit, stimulate, and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students. ACT-SO includes 29 competitions in STEM, humanities, business, and performing, visual and culinary arts. Almost 300,000 young people have participated in the program since its inception.  Starting in 2020, the NAACP’s Centering Equity in the Sustainable Building Sector Initiative and ACT-SO program began hosting a national competition about Sustainable Building, and this year’s inaugural Intensive will help prepare students to compete in 2021.  

The ACT-SO Sustainable Building Intensive is an invitation for 24 ACT-SO students (grades 11 and 12) to participate in a virtual UrbanPlan competition spanning two days from March 13-14. Guided by industry professionals, the students will form teams to create a development plan for a fictional disinvested neighborhood. Each team will present their design proposal to a “city council” comprised of other industry professionals and the winning team will get a prize at the end of the competition.  

ULI is a global, member-driven organization comprising more than 45,000 real estate and urban development professionals dedicated to advancing the mission of shaping the future of the built environment for transformative impact in communities worldwide. ULI Washington represents more than 2,300 members in the DC metro area. UrbanPlan harnesses the power of experiential learning to demystify land-use dynamics and the complexities of real estate development. Generously supported by member gifts to the ULI Foundation and offered through district councils and national councils, UrbanPlan has reached nearly 60,000 students and public officials globally. 

“Our aim as the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization is to be a beacon of inspiration and transformation in centering equity in the sustainable building sector. In doing so, we can catalyze the building of a bigger, broader tent for the sustainable building movement, towards the betterment of the building users, the communities, the economy, and the planet.” 

Jacqui Patterson, Senior Director for Environmental and Climate Justice  

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