The ULI District Council Network is composed of 53 councils, or chapters, in the United States, Canada, and Latin America that deliver the Institute’s mission of responsible land use decision making at the local and regional levels. From Hawaii to Boston and New England, and from British Columbia to Mexico City, the District Council Network empowers members to convene and advise local stakeholders on critical land use issues and contribute their expertise toward making communities more livable, prosperous, and sustainable.
In FY 2016, the ULI District Council Network became part of the newly established ULI Americas, a governing body representing members whose primary residence and business are in the United States, Canada, or Latin America. The Americas region was established as part of the Institute’s global evolution initiative to invest more in regional and local networks and establish closer connections to members based in the Americas. The global evolution initiative encourages members to pursue leadership opportunities and customize their experience with ULI through their region, strengthening the Institute’s global influence through a bottom-up, grass-roots approach.
In November 2015, Patricia R. Healy, founding principal of the Raleigh, North Carolina–based Hyde Street Holdings and a ULI Foundation governor, was appointed the inaugural chairman of the Americas region. She leads a newly appointed ULI of the Americas executive committee, made up of top real estate and land use leaders in the Americas. In addition, Jeanne Myerson, a veteran real estate executive and active ULI San Francisco member, was selected as the Americas’ first chief executive officer. In FY 2016, Institute members delivered insights that will enhance the quality of life in communities for decades to come through exemplary district council initiatives and programs. Below are a few examples:
ULI Baltimore: In the spring of 2015, the city of Baltimore was gripped by civil unrest following the death of an unarmed man, Freddie Gray, in police custody. Working closely with community leaders and the mayor’s office, ULI Baltimore convened a Technical Assistance Program panel to identify strategies for revitalizing the Pennsylvania Avenue corridor, near the center of the unrest. ULI’s recommendations now guide a corridor improvement strategy focused on public transportation, safety, and sanitation.
ULI Chicago collaborated with the National Trust for Historic Preservation on an initiative aimed at identifying and removing barriers to repurposing the city’s historic building stock. The resulting report, Building on Chicago’s Strengths: The Partnership for Building Reuse, offers comprehensive recommendations for the market-driven reuse of vacant and underused properties throughout Chicago’s neighborhoods while documenting their potential to spur small business growth.
ULI Columbus: Central Ohio is poised to grow by 500,000 people and to add hundreds of thousands of jobs by 2030. Their preferences in housing, transportation, and community design will likely be different than what historic growth patterns have offered. ULI Columbus engaged in insight2050, a data-driven, scenario-planning process that explicitly mapped out the fiscal, health, and environmental consequences of pursuing more sustainable choices through densification and infill development versus maintaining the status quo. The council presented its findings to more than 4,500 individuals, including public officials, business leaders, and citizens.
ULI Nashville: In the fall of 2015, Megan Barry, the newly elected mayor of Nashville, sought out ULI Nashville for its private sector perspective on developing a set of infrastructure priorities for her first term. ULI Nashville partnered with transportation expert and urbanist Gabe Klein to produce Gear Up 2020: Rapid Goal-Setting for a 21st-Century Nashville, a set of action steps for expanding mobility options and transportation choices and encouraging government innovation and private sector partnerships over the next several years. Even before the report was released, Mayor Barry adopted several of ULI Nashville’s ideas, including a recommendation for establishing a separate municipal department of transportation.
ULI North Florida: The city of Jacksonville had wanted to enhance the street-level experience for pedestrians in downtown as a way to spark redevelopment. It enlisted the help of ULI North Florida to develop a pilot program for parklets, or sidewalk areas that offer seating, tables, public art, and other amenities for pedestrians to rest and to enjoy the street. The mayor’s office asked the council to develop a handbook to streamline and guide the future development of parklets to enhance Jacksonville’s street life.
ULI Toronto held its inaugural Emerging Trends and City Building Fall Symposium, drawing hundreds of land use professionals from North America to learn, engage with each other, and hear a dynamic lineup of speakers, including Ellen Dunham-Jones, Richard Florida, and leading real estate and land leaders from Canada.
ULI Utah and ULI Washington took inspiration from America in 2015: A ULI Survey of Views on Housing, Transportation, and Community and Gen Y and Housing: What They Want and Where They Want It, two reports published by ULI in 2015 that captured current national trends and consumers’ future aspirations regarding housing, neighborhoods, and transportation. ULI Utah published Wasatch Front in 2015, a localized version of America in 2015 that has informed planning and development efforts so that new housing products and transportation choices are in better alignment with consumer needs. ULI Washington published Millennials Inside the Beltway: Optimistic Urbanists, a survey of millennials living in the District of Columbia and inner-ring suburbs that showed high rates of satisfaction with housing and transportation choices and a commitment to remaining inside the Beltway.
Learn more about the ULI District Council Network.