Efforts by ULI members to engage with a broad group of decision-makers who influence urban development were evident in the selection of transportation entrepreneur Robin Chase as the 2017 recipient of the Institute’s J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development.
The prize, which is ULI’s highest honor, recognizes a person or a person representing an institution, whose work demonstrates a commitment to the creation of communities that reflect the highest standards of design and development. Chase rose to prominence in the early 2000s as the cofounder and chief executive officer of Zipcar, the world’s largest car-sharing company. She was the first Nichols Prize laureate whose career has not directly involved real estate practices or policy making.
The effects and implications of Zipcar rippled quickly through city planning departments, the development industry, and academia, changing long-held assumptions about the amount of parking necessary to satisfy city residents. Chase’s car-sharing idea also demonstrated that sharing is welcomed by the mainstream of people, setting the stage for the rise of the sharing economy.