Randall Lewis, a ULI Foundation governor and longtime ULI member, has made a $500,000 gift in support of the ULI Building Healthy Places (BHP) Initiative. Lewis’s gift will fund the creation of several new programs and build internal capacity within the BHP Initiative, which is intended to leverage the power of the Institute’s global networks to shape projects and places in ways that improve the health of people and communities.
Lewis’s gift will enable ULI to scale up efforts to disseminate knowledge about health-promoting design, building, and land use practices among Institute members and significantly increase awareness of the impact that the built environment has on human health among ULI member networks and emerging real estate and land use professionals.
“ULI is the premier land use organization in the country,” Lewis said. “If we want to move the needle in a significant way in terms of empowering people to choose physically active, healthier lifestyles through design, infrastructure, and other aspects of the built environment, then ULI is the organization to make this happen. What better way to make an impact on public health than in supporting an organization whose members impact thousands of communities across the United States and the world.”
Research has increasingly shown that the availability of bike and walking paths and access to fresh food can help reduce rates of diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic diseases to improve health outcomes. The specific activities that Lewis’s gift will support include the following:
- The creation of a Healthy Leader Network to communicate and promote land use practices that improve human health and facilitate access to healthy food and physical activity;
- A mentorship program for real estate and planning graduate students to deepen their understanding of how the built environment shapes and influences human health; and
- Increased outreach and communication of best practices curated in the Building Healthy Places Toolkit, Active Transportation in Real Estate: The Next Frontier, and other BHP research publications to universities, health care institutions, the public health community, and other organizations outside the field of real estate.
“Mr. Lewis’s gift will allow ULI’s Building Healthy Places Initiative to reach real estate and land use professionals in all stages of their careers, with the clear message that the way in which our buildings, streets, neighborhoods, and cities are designed and built can positively influence health outcomes,” said Sara Hammerschmidt, director of the BHP Initiative. “We are excited at the opportunity this gift has provided us to significantly expand our outreach and disseminate health-promoting practices to professionals within and outside the real estate industry.”