Youth – Plan, Learn, Act, Now! (Y-PLAN)

IUHR has teamed up with the Center for Cities & Schools at the University of California at Berkeley (UCB) to begin implementing its award-winning Y-PLAN initiative outside of California.

Y-PlanY-PLAN brings together young people in the public schools with emerging and seasoned urban planners to take on real-life challenges in students’ urban neighborhoods.

Y-PLAN began in 1999 as an interdisciplinary course between the Department of City and Regional Planning and the Graduate School of Education. As it operates currently at UC-Berkeley, Y-PLAN enlists graduate students to work with public school educators and youth program directors to implement the Y-PLAN methodology throughout which high school students, graduate students and teachers collaboratively address specific challenges in their communities. Working side-by-side with their graduate-student mentors for about ten weeks, students learn the fundamentals of community development by taking on urban planning projects in the real world. At the end of the Y-PLAN session, the high school students present their plans to their clients – as these projects are real initiatives of cities and towns.

Clients may include city leaders, residents and peers. In recent years, students enrolled in Y-PLAN have proposed everything from a redesign of a train station in West Oakland to the development of a wellness center in an unused portion of a secondary school in Oakland. With DiversityData-Kids, an IUHR project, the Center for Cities and Schools will develop mechanisms for scaling up Y-PLAN activities as well as implement Y-PLAN in Detroit, Michigan, addressing regionally important youth policy issues.

Associated IUHRP Staff

Dolores Acevedo-Garcia

Dolores Acevedo-Garcia

Research Coordinator
Lindsay Rosenfeld

Lindsay Rosenfeld

Project Coordinator

Relevant Publications & Links

Y-Plan Handbook. (2010).  Berkeley, CA: Center for Cities and Schools at the University of California-Berkeley.  Available at

Bernard, Sara. (2008). Mapping Their Futures: Kids Foster School-Community Connections, Students at the Y-PLAN project create bonds through grassroots city planning. Edutopia.  Available at:

McKoy, D.L., & Vincent, J.M. (2007). Engaging Schools in Urban Revitalization: The Y-PLAN (Youth – Plan, Learn, Act, Now!). Journal of Planning Education and Research, 26(4), 389-403. Available at