The Institute’s Building Healthy Places Initiative (BHP), which promotes building for health and wellness, collaborated with the ULI Sustainable Development Council to publish The Case for Open Space: Why Real Estate Leaders Should Invest in Parks and Open Spaces, which highlights the benefits for developers of incorporating parks and open spaces in their projects.
“Active open spaces are proven to deliver an excellent return on investment, often supplying far more in benefits than they cost to construct,” said Elizabeth Shreeve, chairman of the Sustainable Development Council and principal at the SWA Group. “These benefits accrue to private development while effectively strengthening communities and opening opportunities for all.”
The report, supported by a gift to the ULI Foundation from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, examines five examples of exemplary privately funded open space: Hunter’s Point South in Queens, New York; Levy Park in Houston (a 2018 ULI Urban Open Space Award winner); Grand Park in Los Angeles; Guthrie Green in Tulsa; and Solaris Plaza in Vail, Colorado.
Each demonstrates how partnerships, shared funding models, and local engagement have allowed developers to play a role in creating parks that provide significant community benefits. These benefits include increased buy-in from influential stakeholders such as public officials and investors, faster zoning approvals, the ability to capture strong market demand for parks and open space, and new sources of revenue.
The report is an example of ongoing efforts by the BHP Initiative to leverage the power of ULI’s global member networks to shape projects and places in ways that improve the health of people and communities. BHP worked with Workforce and Affordable Housing Council members on a similar effort, Healthy Housing for All: How Affordable Housing Is Leading the Way, which identifies lessons for the broader housing marketplace from health-oriented affordable housing.