Rose Center for Public Leadership

The Rose Center for Public Leadership in Land Use encourages and supports excellence in land use decision making by local governments. A joint program of the National League of Cities (NLC) and ULI, the Rose Center seeks to foster creative, efficient, practical, and sustainable land use policies by providing public officials with access to information, best practices, peer networks, and other resources. The Rose Center hosts workshops, forums, and webinars on various aspects of community building in cities across the United States to promote peer-to-peer learning and exchange among public officials.

The flagship program of the Rose Center is the Daniel Rose Fellowship, a yearlong engagement that empowers municipal leaders to successfully improve their cities. In FY 2016, the cities of Birmingham, Alabama; Denver, Colorado; Long Beach, California, and Rochester, New York, were invited by the Center’s advisory board to participate in the Daniel Rose Fellowship.

Birmingham Mayor William Bell.
Birmingham Mayor William Bell.

Each city’s fellowship team identifies a land use and economic development challenge that it seeks to solve with guidance from peers and the Rose Center faculty, distinguished leaders in design and urban development from around the country. Each participating city hosts a study visit for fellowship participants and Rose Center faculty for in-depth discussion and stakeholder interviews. In addition to technical assistance with their city’s land use challenge, the fellowship program provides participants with leadership training and professional development opportunities through programming and access to public and private sector networks of both NLC and ULI.


The 36-acre Birmingham Civil Rights District is home to landmarks that played a pivotal role in the Americas Civil Rights movement of the mid–20th century. The city has sought ways to leverage historic and newer assets—including the $10 million Freedom Center Public Policy Institute—to stimulate economic development and elevate Birmingham’s brand awareness. Rose Center fellow Mayor William Bell and the Birmingham fellowship team sought advice on strategies for turning the district into a central hub for scholars, educators, students, and activists while promoting economic development, increasing tourism, and enhancing adjacent neighborhoods.


Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

West Colfax is a storied corridor in Denver, having undergone several cycles of decline and redevelopment. Historically a magnet for new immigrants, West Colfax’s residential communities are attracting new development that could escalate housing prices. Rose Center fellow Mayor Michael Hancock and the Denver fellowship team sought advice on attracting new development to the West Colfax corridor that would support existing residents and businesses and maintain the area’s unique character.

Long Beach

Boeing has been a major employer in Long Beach. The closure of a facility that manufactured C-17 military aircraft shook the community, leading to job losses and lowered tax revenue for the city. Rose Center fellow Mayor Robert Garcia and the Long Beach fellowship team sought advice on a redevelopment strategy for the facility and a 130-acre site around the airport to support the city’s vision of becoming a magnet for emerging technologies and innovation industries.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren.


Rochester has experienced a boom in residential development in its downtown. As a result, the city is attracting new businesses and an emerging cohort of millennials, empty nesters, and urban enthusiasts with a desire for urban living. Rose Center fellow Mayor Lovely Warren and the Rochester fellowship team sought advice on encouraging investment in restaurants, retail, and recreational uses to usher in the next phase of downtown’s transformation.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia.

Study Tour and Forums

In addition to study tours of each city, Rose Center fellows participated in a tour of San Juan, Puerto Rico, to understand that city’s urban revitalization efforts despite a crippling economic crisis. Fellows also participated in activities during the 2016 ULI Spring Meeting in Philadelphia, in which they heard from Rose Fellowship alumni including former deputy mayors for the city of Philadelphia, and they participated in ULI product council meetings. In FY 2016, the Rose Center also conducted a forum on the future of large cities at the 2015 ULI Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

Equitable Economic Development Fellowship

In FY 2016, the Rose Center was awarded $1 million over two years to fund a fellowship program for public officials focused on equitable or inclusive economic development. Funded by the Surdna Foundation and Open Society Foundation, the fellowship will equip officials with insight and tools on pursuing economic development in ways that include communities that have been historically disconnected and excluded from regional growth and prosperity. The fellowship kicked off in Portland, Oregon; the six cities participating are Boston, Charlotte, Houston, Memphis, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis. Along with the Rose Center, fellowship cities will receive technical assistance from the NLC and Policy Link, a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity.

Learn more about the Rose Center for Public Leadership in Land Use