/ Global

Making Connections through ULI Meetings

ULI’s four major meetings in FY 2018—the annual Fall Meeting in Los Angeles, the Europe Conference in Berlin, the Spring Meeting in Detroit, and the Asia Pacific Summit in Hong Kong—together attracted nearly 11,500 industry leaders, bringing together the world’s top land use and real estate professionals to share knowledge, learn from each other, and celebrate best practices in community building. The success of the meetings reflected a collaborative effort with ULI Los Angeles, ULI Germany, ULI Michigan, and ULI Hong Kong, respectively.

Discussions covered all aspects of urban design and development, including housing affordability, access to capital, improving urban resilience, sustainable development practices, technology and real estate, building for health and wellness, and social equity. Thought leaders discussed trends such as: 

The rise of smaller cities: “Secondary markets have dominated population growth in last decade, with higher levels of in-migration than gateway cities. After the recession, people moved to gateway markets as a safe haven. But with the exception of New York City, gateway markets have not performed as well as expected during economic downturns.”—ULI Global Board Member Mary Ludgin, Managing Director and Head of Global Research, Heitman, 2017 Fall Meeting.  

The future of retail: “Development of the retail sector in Asia is outpacing shopping trends in Europe. Whereas Europe is just starting to accept mobile and cashless payments, they are commonplace in China. So much wealth is being accumulated there. Chinese investors will be interested in Europe and the old world, and we have to be prepared to change here [in Europe].”—Former Europe Chairman and ULI Life Trustee Alexander Otto, Chief Executive Officer, ECE Projektmanagement, 2018 Europe Conference. 

Net-zero energy building: “We’re doing this [net-zero development] for people working in the building. Our concern was how to make the building work better for them and to make a better building for the planet. The neighborhood loves this building. Net-zero energy matters to people. They can see the importance of the mission; and if you do it well, they will be with you in the process.”—ULI Washington Chairman Yolanda Cole, Senior Principal and Owner of Hickok Cole Architects, 2018 Spring Meeting. 

Urbanization and wealth accumulation: “With urbanization comes strong, growing purchasing power. And that’s going to be found in this part of the world. This is going to continue, meaning Asia will be the largest investment market in the world over the next 20 years.”—Immediate Past Asia Pacific Chairman and ULI Governing Trustee Ngee Huat Seek, Chairman, GLP, Singapore, 2018 Asia Pacific Summit.

In addition, more than 2,100 regional and local events were hosted by District and National Councils in FY 2018, yielding valuable content from members and for members in specific markets, and helping inform broader issue discussions at ULI’s four major meetings. For example, at the ULI Florida Summit, a keynote panel addressed the issue of resilience across the state. The ULI Japan Spring Conference included a discussion of how Japan’s malls can reinvigorate themselves with culture and content; and the ULI Netherlands Annual Conference in Amsterdam focused on challenges and opportunities posed by urbanization.

  • “I’ve been a ULI member for more than 30 years, and one of the things I value most about every ULI gathering is the certainty that I will meet people who challenge norms and broaden my thinking.”

    – ULI Governing Trustee Michael Spies

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