TAPs Improve Communities with Urban Development Solutions

Two technical assistance panels (TAPs) conducted by district councils in fiscal year 2019 offer a snapshot of members willingly giving back to their own communities by offering solutions to local urban development issues that could be adapted for use in other markets.

In November 2018, the Los Angeles Local Development Corporation and the Lincoln Heights Leadership Group sought advice from ULI Los Angeles on how to revitalize the North Broadway corridor in the city’s Lincoln Heights neighborhood without compromising the corridor’s small town “feel”—a unique characteristic it has maintained despite its proximity to downtown Los Angeles and other rapidly evolving areas. The corridor is a cherished part of the multigenerational, close-knit Lincoln Heights community.

The TAP convened by ULI Los Angeles was tasked with proposing redevelopment solutions focused on improving health and wellness as well as economic opportunities along the corridor that would benefit existing residents and businesses. The TAP was asked to consider a variety of factors, including future retail possibilities; ways to engage the community in plans for future opportunities; reuse of some parking facilities; improvements to walkability; connections to nearby park space; available funding sources for branding and public realm improvements; and leveraging the corridor’s proximity to anchor institutions.

Following an evaluation of the area and meetings with community stakeholders, business leaders and public officials, the TAP developed recommendations designed to shape the future of Lincoln Heights on terms defined by the community. The recommendations included the following:

– Land use and zoning changes to incentivize the production of workforce and middle-income housing to keep the neighborhood affordable for future generations;

– Urban design improvements to enhance North Broadway’s existing strengths as a thriving pedestrian and commercial corridor;

– Improvements to first- and last-mile connections to employment centers and the nearby light-rail station;

– An approach to branding and community engagement campaigns that will attract and retain local investors and earn the buy-in of residents and business owners; and

– A strategic and incremental approach to achieving the desired vision for the community.

“In this corridor, the planning that took place decades ago locked in a specific approach based on zoning and other factors. ULI brought the credibility to say, ‘That was a great planning effort for its time, but now, that should be revisited,’” said ULI Los Angeles leader and panelist Andrew Fogg, partner at Cox, Castle, and Nicholson LLP in Los Angeles. “Given ULI’s status as an honest broker, we were able to come in with no agenda other than to help the community realize its potential in a responsible, ethical, and thoughtful manner.”

The TAP was sponsored by Los Angeles LDC, Inc., led by ULI Trustee Michael Banner. Subsequent to the TAP, ULI Los Angeles became the first district council to leverage a TAP as the basis for a unique iteration of the UrbanPlan, ULI’s urban development curriculum for students and public officials. During the summer of 2019, ULI Los Angeles brought the program to a high school in the TAP assignment area, giving students an opportunity to apply the TAP market analysis to their own redevelopment plan, with TAP participants serving as respondents.

  • “TAPs provide a tremendous opportunity to give back to the community. ULI is a neutral convener of experts with the credibility to tackle tough issues, and bring the community together to have thoughtful, challenging conversations in a respectful way.”

    – Andrew Fogg, cochair, ULI Los Angeles TAP Committee and ULI Los Angeles TAP participant
  • “Participating on a TAP or an advisory panel is one of the great benefits of being a ULI member. You get to tackle an important, challenging urban development issue, put your experience and wisdom to the test, and make new friends. What could be better than that?”

    – Patrick L. Phillips, ULI Washington TAP Chairman and former ULI Global Chief Executive

The ULI Washington TAP was asked to consider factors such as an optimal design for open space at the intersection; the desired experience for all users; measures to curtail risks to pedestrians and bikers; design or infrastructure improvements to improve economic growth; and ways to improve access to education institutions, community services, and affordable housing.

Following a tour of the area and stakeholder interviews, the TAP created a plan to enhance open spaces, improve safety and the experience for all users, and improve the economic vitality in the study area. Recommendations included the following:

Making the safety of all users a top priority, placing equal emphasis on connections to the intersection and through the intersection;

Creating uniformity of and connectivity between all public spaces created at the intersection;

Balancing short-term, high-impact efforts with longer-term actions designed to accommodate future growth and change; and

Designing for inclusivity; and balancing the interaction between “things that move with things that hold still.”

“The ‘Virtual Circle’ has posed a vexing problem for D.C. for many years. The District’s Department of Transportation had come up with a new solution for the traffic, but it needed ULI’s advice on how best to use the public spaces created by the new alignment. The TAP panel was energetic and creative, and not only produced a conceptual plan for the new parks and plazas, but offered clear and practical advice on how to make this new gateway safer for pedestrians and bikes,” said Patrick L. Phillips, TAP chairman and former ULI global chief executive officer. “Many of the ideas were already out there in the public dialogue, but what the TAP did—and what ULI’s Advisory Services often do—was to reconcile them into a coherent overall vision, set clear priorities, and outline a road map to get it done.”

The TAP was jointly sponsored by the NoMa Business Improvement District (NoMa BID) and the NoMa Parks Foundation.

Support TAPs with a donation to the Annual Fund or the ULI Foundation.

Find opportunities to serve on a TAP through Navigator.

Find TAP reports in Knowledge Finder.

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