The Urban Land Institute Announces 2012 Urban Innovation Fund Grant Recipients in Recognition of Seventy-Five Years of Land Use Leadership

Grants Totaling $750,000 Awarded To ULI District, National Councils During Institute’s Anniversary Year

For more information, contact:
Robert Krueger at 202-624-7051

DENVER (October 16, 2012) – Fifteen grants totaling $250,000 have been awarded to Urban Land Institute (ULI) district and national councils through ULI’s Urban Innovation Fund program. The announcement was made today at ULI’s Fall Meeting in Denver.

For the program, the ULI Foundation’s Annual Fund contributed funds to be distributed as grants to local ULI projects that recognize or launch innovative public-private partnerships that will advance the responsible use of land in building healthy, thriving communities worldwide over the next 75 years. This round of grants were awarded to a select group of innovative projects, with topics ranging from infill development and parking facilities to downtown malls and mixed use development.

This group of grant recipients makes up the second round of ULI’s 75th anniversary Urban Innovation Grants. In total, $750,000 has been awarded during the institute’s anniversary year, with the first found awarded at last year’s ULI Fall Meeting in Los Angeles.

“The ULI Foundation’s Urban Innovation Fund grants are the perfect way to mark the 75th Anniversary of the institute,” said program review committee chair John H. Mays, managing partner at Gould & Ratner. “These awards recognize and help fund innovative approaches to local land use challenges and will assist local ULI Councils, in partnership with private industry, community based not-for-profit organizations and local government, to help build thriving communities worldwide.”

The recipients of the 2012 ULI Urban Innovation Fund grants are:

  • ULI Arizona: Reinvent Phoenix Anchor Institution Convening – ULI Arizona’s ongoing involvement with the Reinvent Phoenix program will unite small groups of decision makers focused on community revitalization and investment through public/private partnerships with the city of Phoenix and ten anchor institutions. The ULI grant will fund facilitated forums addressing topics such as district parking facilities, employee/student housing, and real estate investment.
  • ULI Baltimore: Improved Methods to Achieve Infill and Urban Developments – ULI Baltimore will facilitate discussions that identify best practices in infill and urban development planning pertaining to comprehensive rezoning and private development entitlement. The best practices will be presented to a conference for Maryland public officials, as well as a published in a new “Models and Guidelines” document by the Maryland Department of Planning.
  • ULI Houston: ULI Making the Case for Urban Green Space – ULI Houston, in collaboration with Texas A&M University graduate students and faculty, will research and complete a technical assistance panel report for the Houston Bayou Greenway Initiative, a ten- to 15-year project focused on bayou greenway and parks improvements to enhance flood control and stormwater quality.
  • ULI Idaho: Treasure Valley Real Estate Partnership – Through convening more than 14 real estate organizations, ULI Idaho intends to spur action toward common goals in the industry, such as incentivizing downtown and infill development. The district council will act as the organizing body for developing a vision and purpose, hosting roundtable discussions, providing research, and building consensus on issues and solutions.
  • ULI Los Angeles: Partnership for Transportation Corridors – In partnership with the city of L.A., ULI Los Angeles hopes to reform current dialogue about public transportation infrastructure initiatives to focus on corridor development, as opposed to Los Angeles County’s focus on transit stations. This broadened view will create an urban design agenda linking transit stations, improved access to stations, walkable streetscapes, and mixed-use development along the corridors. The role of ULI L.A. will be to convene the city government and development experts to create a formal report, and the city government and communications experts to recommend public outreach efforts.
  • ULI Louisiana: Imagine Downtown, Lafayette, LA: Open Ideas Competition – ULI Louisiana and Creative Action Acadiana, in partnership with the Lafayette Consolidated Government, will launch an open ideas competition to shape dialogue surrounding future creative and economic growth in six downtown Lafayette sites. Community members, students, and professionals will have the opportunity to contribute to a vision to transform downtown into a vibrant, sustainable, and economically competitive region.
  • ULI Minnesota: Reality Check 2.0 – Integrating the ULI What’s Next? study and the Reality Check program, ULI Minnesota will create Reality Check 2.0 as a public/private partnership ensuring that regions collaborate to advance healthy, thriving communities in the new economy. ULI Minnesota will collaborate with Blue Cross Blue Shield—as well as with various Minneapolis public and private sector partners—to capitalize on the connection between urban design principles and healthy, active lifestyles.
  • ULI Nashville: Lessons from a ULI Fellow: Retrofitting Homes and Rebuilding Healthy Communities – Go Green, a collaborative residential retrofit program for energy efficiency, translates ULI’s priorities of sustainability and innovative public/private partnerships into action as it brings the retrofit program to Chestnut Hill, a disadvantaged Nashville neighborhood. ULI Nashville initiated the Go Green program over three years ago and continues to drive the conversation, partnerships, thought leadership, and press coverage of the efforts.
  • ULI Northwest: Strong Companies, Strong Communities: Generating a Thriving Economy for Portland – ULI Northwest seeks to harness the innovation occurring in small, entrepreneurial endeavors throughout central Portland. The business, real estate, and economic development communities will convene to create a roadmap for investment to transform emerging businesses into midmarket companies supporting the long-term economic health of the central business district and burgeoning neighborhood commercial centers.
  • ULI Orange County/Inland Empire: Reality Check 2.0 – Through Reality Check 2.0, ULI Orange County will research and enable discussions about the current trend of the globally coveted 18- to 35-year-old demographic being driven out of the region due to the limited access to “creative professional” jobs. Using interviews, crowd sourcing, and conferences, the project will build a strong case for land use planning and real estate development meeting the economic development and quality-of-life needs of this age group.
  • ULI Philadelphia: Global Positioning Strategy for World Class Infrastructure in Greater Philadelphia – As part of the World Class Greater Philadelphia initiative, ULI Philadelphia, in partnership with the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, will convene business executives, civic leaders, and issue experts to help create a global positioning strategy for infrastructure. The strategy will include short- and long-term approaches to enhancing global and national connections, improving regional mobility, developing signature destinations, and improving sustainability of energy and water systems.
  • ULI Richmond: RVA Reality Check – ULI Richmond is planning a Reality Check in May 2013 focusing on engaging diverse regional leaders to build consensus on providing housing and jobs across the region. The grant will assist ULI Richmond with outreach to public officials, community groups, and citizens in order to create a sustainable model for regional collaboration efforts for and beyond Reality Check.
  • ULI Sacramento: Transforming Downtown Plaza: A Vision for Downtown Sacramento – ULI Sacramento will lead a technical advisory panel (TAP) exploring opportunities for a new vision for Sacramento’s Downtown Plaza, once the center of retail, services, and entertainment. The TAP will convene public and private partners to provide expertise on the downtown mall, as well as provide a catalyst for other downtown projects.
  • ULI San Diego: Global Forum on the Culture of Innovation: Growing More Ideas per Square Foot – In partnership with the Aspen Institute and expanding on the 2012 program, the Global Forum on the Culture of Innovation will encourage discussion among industry sector leaders to consider San Diego’s niche in the worldwide marketplace and how to capitalize on the city’s strengths to attract talented people. This Global Forum keeps ULI San Diego on the cutting edge of innovation-economies research and practice and provides the resources to create a lasting relationship with the Aspen Institute.
  • ULI SE Florida/Caribbean: Location and Economic Support for Transit (Rail) in Southeast Florida – Southeast Florida is planning to expand commuter transit in the corridors connecting Miami and northern Palm Beach County. ULI Southeast Florida will work with the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) to analyze potential station areas and design and develop financing mechanisms in a “shark tank”–type forum where location, design, and financing options are subjected to review, analysis, and “ground truthing” by ULI members.

The winners were selected by a review committee of renowned land use development and planning experts. In addition to review chairman Mays, other members were Robert E. Engstrom, president, Robert Engstrom Companies, Minneapolis; Neisen O. Kasdin, office managing shareholder, Akerman, Miami; M. Leanne Lachman, president, Lachman Associates, New York; and Caroline Moore, chief executive officer, Ekistics LLC, Baltimore.

In selecting the winners, the jury sought projects that reflected innovative, new ideas; measurable outcomes; a prominent role for ULI in the project; models that could be applied to other places; and projects that focused on ULI’s three core areas: sustainability, infrastructure and workforce/affordable housing.

About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute ( is a global nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in sustaining and creating thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has nearly 30,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.

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