ULI celebrated 75 years of leadership in community building in December with a series of events in communities throughout the United States. More than 35 proclamations were issued declaring December 14 “ULI Day.”
This year’s Fall Meeting in Los Angeles—which kicked off the institute’s 75th anniversary celebration—was particularly focused on the long-term future of the industry and ULI.
“You have to look globally because the world has been globalizing over the last 20 years,” says Richard M. Rosan, president of the ULI Foundation, which supports ULI through philanthropy. He also served as ULI’s chief executive for 17 years, during which he led the expansion abroad.
In 1936, no organization existed in the United States to research, analyze, or encourage responsible patterns for long-term urban growth. As ULI begins its next 75 years, the real estate and land use industry has reached a pivotal point with both formidable challenges and promising opportunities. ULI is and will be at the forefront of this change.
The third panel ULI ever conducted, in April 1948, and the most recent one, in June 2011, involved the same city—Indianapolis. The comparison shows that problems faced by cities after World War II—transportation, environmental degradation, overcoming blight, and finding sufficient funds—have not disappeared.
Few places speak more eloquently in embodying the attributes of a ULI Heritage Award than its first honoree, in 1989, Rockefeller Center. ULI’s Heritage Award is given periodically to developments that have demonstrated industry excellence for at least 25 years.
“Considered anathema 30 to 40 years ago, architects and developers are now designing spaces that focus on employee cognitive functions and productivity to stay competitive in a knowledge economy gone global,” explains David Hobstetter, principal at San Francisco–based KMD Architects.
Real estate practices may have changed in 75 years, but the Urban Land Institute remains the premier organization for the industry. “The real estate industry moves quickly, but ULI keeps its finger on the pulse,” says Sir Stuart Lipton, deputy chairman of London-based ¬Chelsfield Partners.
Read about ULI from the 1930s—when a fledgling ULI emerged as an independent organization designed to help U.S. land developers—a place where practical knowledge is gathered, shared, and expanded even today—to the 2010s—when ULI kicked off a yearlong celebration of its 75th anniversary at the Institute’s annual Fall Meeting and Urban Land Expo at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Walter S. Schmidt, the founder and first president of ULI in the 1930s. Schmidt conceived of an organization where the ingredients were businessmen with knowledge, experience, and a philosophy about the problems of the urban growth and decay of the American City.