Author: Brett Widness

Brett Widness is the online editor for Urban Land. He has previously worked in online editorial at and AOL Real Estate.

Articles by Brett Widness

  • Kisi Brings Keycard Technology to Smartphones
    Published on August 21, 2014 in Market Trends
    This past July, a company called Kisi took the grand prize at a “Hacker Challenge” for real estate–based apps sponsored by RETechNYC, an advisory firm, and ULI New York. Kisi brings digital entry systems to smartphones without having to completely rework existing entry systems, replacing keycards that can be lost or in limited supply.
  • Dimon, Isaacson among Keynote Speakers at ULI Fall Meeting
    Published on July 31, 2014 in Market Trends
    More than 7,000 of the world’s foremost leaders in the real estate and land use industries are expected to convene at the 2014 ULI Fall Meeting, set for October 21–23 at the Javits Center in New York City.
  • Resilient Cities Challenge Looking for Next Candidates
    Published on July 23, 2014 in Sustainability
    Last December, the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Challenge announced the first 32 cities selected in the program. The second round of the challenge has just opened.
  • NYU Program to Look for Solutions for Rising Inequality
    Published on July 21, 2014 in Market Trends
    Though New York City recently surpassed its own high-water mark with more than 4 million private sector jobs, the unemployment rate is well above the national average at 7.9 percent.
  • July-August Issue of Urban Land Is Available for Download
    Published on July 11, 2014 in Market Trends
    For those of you who have already downloaded the Urban Land app, the latest issue is now available.
  • President Obama Calls for Renewal of Highway Trust Fund
    Published on July 01, 2014 in Infrastructure
    U.S. President Barack Obama called on Congress to patch the Highway Trust Fund saying that a transportation funding shutdown could cost some 700,000 jobs.
  • Submit Your Ideas for the Fall Meeting in New York City
    Published on June 05, 2014 in Market Trends
    Once again, ULI will crowdsource a session for this year’s Fall Meeting in New York City. Using the ULI Meeting Idea Generator, participants can suggest topics and vote for their favorites. In 2013, a panel on the use of micro-units and the shared economy was named the winner.
  • Video: Would You Buy a Driverless Car With No Brakes?
    Published on May 29, 2014 in Market Trends
    Following rumors about a venture capital round that would put Uber's valuation at more than $10 billion, ULI senior visiting fellow Gabe Klein was on Bloomberg TV's Street Smart to talk about Uber, car-free households, and other startups.
  • Video: Are Uber and AirBnb Worth $10 Billion Each?
    Published on May 23, 2014 in Market Trends
    Following rumors about a venture capital round that would put Uber's valuation at more than $10 billion, ULI senior visiting fellow Gabe Klein was on Bloomberg TV's Street Smart to talk about Uber, car-free households, and other startups.
  • May-June Issue of Urban Land Is Available for Download
    Published on May 19, 2014 in Market Trends
    If you have not already downloaded the Urban Land app for your tablet or smartphone, ULI members can do so now and enjoy the latest issue, plus a year of back issues.
  • Chief Executive of Hong Kong to Address ULI Asia Pacific Summit
    Published on May 16, 2014 in News
    The Honorable C.Y. Leung, chief executive, Hong Kong S.A.R., and founding chairman of ULI Asia Pacific will be among the keynotes at the third annual ULI Asia Pacific Summit later this month. Titled “What’s Next? The Dynamics of the Future,” this year’s summit will take place May 20 to 22 at the Grand Hyatt in Hong Kong.
  • Three Growth Models Embrace Healthy Principles
    Published on April 14, 2014 in Sustainability
    Health and wellness are driving part of the offering at Whole Foods, Westin Hotels, and the Baja California resort industry in a way that is likely to increase over time, panelists said at the ULI Spring Meeting last week in Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • Zakaria: Look Past Turmoil for Global Growth Story
    Published on April 14, 2014 in Market Trends
    Despite the turmoil and general unease around the globe, Fareed Zakaria focused on the peace and prosperity of the current decade in his remarks at the ULI Spring Meeting.
  • Vancouver’s Mayor on Affordability, Walkability, and Sea Rise
    Published on April 10, 2014 in Sustainability
    Gregor Robertson spoke at the ULI Spring Meeting, delving into the city’s increasingly car-free lifestyle and how Vancouver is dealing with climate change and creating world-class public spaces.
  • Monday’s Numbers: April 7, 2014
    Published on April 07, 2014 in Capital Markets
    Real estate investment trusts (REITs) are off to a strong start in 2014, showing returns far in excess of alternative public equity investments. REITs continue to have access to both equity and debt capital in size and at low cost, fueling their ability to selectively acquire property on an accretive basis.
  • Previewing the ULI/EY Real Estate Consensus Forecast
    Published on March 28, 2014 in Capital Markets
    Next week, ULI will release the ULI/EY Real Estate Consensus Forecast, a semiannual report based on a survey of 39 of the nation’s leading real estate economists and analysts. The report looks at several broad benchmarks including gross domestic product and the unemployment rate, but also indices specific to the real estate industry.
  • March/April Issue of Urban Land Is Available for Download
    Published on March 24, 2014 in Market Trends
    If you have not already downloaded the Urban Land app for your tablet or smartphone, you can do so now and enjoy the latest issue, plus a year of back issues.
  • Illinois and Maryland Are Top States for LEED
    Published on February 24, 2014 in Sustainability
    The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has released its ranking of the top 10 states for LEED, the widely used green building rating system. Illinois was named the top state for 2013 with 2.29 square feet (0.213 sq m) of space per capita certified during the year, followed by Maryland and Virginia.
  • EPA Recognizes Seven Communities for Smart Growth Achievement
    Published on February 05, 2014 in Sustainability
    The Historic Millwork District (pictured) in Dubuque, Iowa, was one of seven winners of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Award for Smart Growth Achievement.
  • January/February Issue of Urban Land Is Available for Download
    Published on February 03, 2014 in Market Trends
    For those of you who have already downloaded the Urban Land app, the latest issue is now available for download.
  • Building Happier, Healthier, and More Sustainable Cities
    Published on January 27, 2014 in Planning & Design
    While many books have recently focused on making cities denser, more walkable, or more functional, asking how to make urban populations happier is a slightly different question. Charles Montgomery makes his case in his new book The Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design.
  • Most Popular Articles for 2013
    Published on January 06, 2014 in Market Trends
    Now in its third year, Urban Land Online saw a record traffic month in July. While we hate to play favorites -- Apgar Award notwithstanding -- we did want to recognize the articles from last year that helped make our traffic numbers possible.
  • Report Identifies Ten Critical Imperatives Facing U.S. Cities
    Published on December 20, 2013 in Market Trends
    The National League of Cities (NLC) today released a new report that identifies “The 10 Critical Imperatives Facing America’s Cities” and proposes innovative strategies to address these challenges and improve the nation’s communities.
  • November/December Issue of Urban Land Is Available for Download
    Published on December 16, 2013 in Market Trends
    For those of you who have already downloaded the Urban Land app, the latest issue is now available for download.
  • Darwin’s Retail: Survival of the Fittest
    Published on November 18, 2013 in Retail/Entertainment
    Shopping centers, having survived the worst contraction in 50 years, are often turning to restaurants and specialty retailers to replace department stores as anchor tenants.
  • Next Evolution in Micro-Housing: Smarter, Shared, and Modular
    Published on November 18, 2013 in Residential
    During a panel at the ULI Fall Meeting in Chicago, Chris Bledsoe, chief executive officer of Stage 3 Properties, illustrated the ongoing crisis in affordable housing in places like New York City by showing a craigslist post for a “room” with three-foot (1 m) ceilings.
  • Building Gigabit Internet into More Developments
    Published on November 18, 2013 in Residential
    As Americans spend more and more time online using multiple devices, higher-speed internet connections are shifting from a luxury to a necessity, panelists said at the ULI Fall Meeting in Chicago.
  • Education, Immigration Reform Are Keys to a Brighter Future
    Published on November 13, 2013 in Market Trends
    Prior to beginning his career in politics, Jeb Bush worked in commercial real estate in south Florida. Immigration and education are two areas he sees needing reform.
  • Space, Place, and the Future of Higher Education
    Published on November 06, 2013 in Development
    Higher education is in many ways as vulnerable to disruption by new technologies as retail was a decade ago, said panelists at the ULI Fall Meeting.
  • The Future Is Not What It Used to Be
    Published on November 06, 2013 in Planning & Design
    By 2050, 70 percent of the world's population will live in just 200 cities. While some gateway cities will prosper, how will the others stay competitive?
  • Event App Helps Attendees Get the Most from the ULI Fall Meeting
    Published on October 31, 2013 in News
    Those attending the Institute’s 2013 Fall Meeting in Chicago November 5–8 will find it easier to get the most out of the event thanks to a new mobile app for iPads, iPhones, and other smartphones capable of browsing the web. The free app is designed to help attendees plan their schedules, communicate with each other instantly through Twitter, comment on programs—and even find nearby restaurants.
  • Urban Land Coming to Mobile Devices
    Published on October 21, 2013 in News
    This fall, Urban Land will be available for the first time as an app for tablets and smartphones on either Apple’s iOS operating system or Google’s Android. As a preview, the Urban Land magazine app will offer our September/October issue free of charge to anyone wishing to download it. Starting with the November/December issue, an authentication feature that restricts access to ULI members will be added.
  • ULI Forecast Sees CMBS Issuance Rising to $100 Billion in 2015
    Published on October 21, 2013 in Capital Markets
    A new U.S. forecast from the Urban Land Institute and EY projects continued improvement for real estate capital markets and commercial real estate fundamentals. The latest findings reveal high expectations for growth in the housing sector, as well as improved confidence about commercial mortgage–backed securities (CMBS) issuance, existing single-family housing prices, and industrial-sector fundamentals when compared to responses from just six months ago.
  • City in Focus: Chicago
    Published on October 21, 2013 in Fall Meeting
    Leading up to this year's ULI Fall Meeting in Chicago, Urban Land will highlight projects and topics of interest from the Chicagoland area. Chicago Coverage
  • Suburban Revitalization: Adjusting to the New Normal
    Published on September 27, 2013 in Planning & Design
    In her book The End of the Suburbs, Leigh Gallagher argues that while the suburbs suffered the worst during the housing bust, the recession is a catalyst for a much larger trend, driven by high fuel prices, the decline of the nuclear family, and the resurgence of cities. But she also says, "Not all suburbs are going to vanish."
  • “Rate Risk” Tops Real Estate Issues for 2013
    Published on June 17, 2013 in Capital Markets
    Interest and capitalization rate risk, shifting demand for health care, and the resurgence of capital markets are the top three risks to real estate for 2013, according to the Chicago-based Counselors of Real Estate (CRE).
  • Innovation Fuels Cities
    Published on May 31, 2013 in Market Trends
    While innovation is often associated with Silicon Valley’s high-tech industry or New York City’s financial giants, programs like Google Fiber and incubators are bringing growth to cities like Portland and Kansas City, according to panelists at the 2013 ULI Spring Meeting in San Diego.
  • Online Models for Community Engagement Emerge
    Published on May 22, 2013 in Market Trends
    While public hearings aren’t going away, two companies talked about how they are helping developers and civic leaders get input from community members at the 2013 ULI Spring Meeting.
  • Hutchison Calls for Energy Independence, More Businesspeople in Congress
    Published on May 21, 2013 in Market Trends
    The former Texas senator says she is optimistic about American energy independence by the end of this decade, but wishes more business people would run for office, as their perspective is needed on issues like Dodd-Frank, the fiscal cliff, and the Affordable Care Act.
  • Four Growth Strategies for Uncertain Times
    Published on May 16, 2013 in Market Trends
    Whether it comes in the form of the federal sequestration budget cuts or a new startup disrupting an entire industry, Geoff Colvin, author and senior editor of Fortune, says companies and individuals are increasingly have to do work around higher levels of uncertainty.
  • ULI Spring Meeting: May 15–17 in San Diego
    Published on May 03, 2013 in Market Trends
    Registration is underway for the 2013 ULI Spring Meeting, taking place May 15 to 17 in San Diego.
  • Cities Leading the Way on Sustainability
    Published on May 03, 2013 in Sustainability
    At the second New York Times Energy for Tomorrow conference, titled “Building Sustainable Cities,” panels covering topics ranging from self-driving cars to clean-tech investing in China were hosted by Times columnists, including Thomas Friedman, Andrew Ross Sorkin, Joe Nocera, and Bill Keller.
  • Colvin Sees Rapid Obsolescence As a Challenge for Builders
    Published on March 22, 2013 in Capital Markets
    Geoff Colvin, longtime editor and columnist for Fortune, spoke with Urban Land in anticipation of his keynote in May at the 2013 ULI Spring Meeting in San Diego. One of the issues he sees for the built environment is adaptability to ever-changing business models.
  • How Singapore Builds Smarter Density
    Published on February 01, 2013 in Planning & Design
    A new report draws upon Singapore’s successful urbanization experience. Despite its population density, the city-state has consistently ranked favorably in various surveys measuring the livability and sustainability of cities around the globe.
  • Hines Competition Focused on New Land Uses for Area Near Proposed Stadium
    Published on January 14, 2013 in Planning & Design
    With the Super Bowl just a few weeks away, this year’s ULI Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition looks at how stadiums can spur redevelopment. A Minneapolis site, adjacent to the proposed location for a new NFL stadium in Downtown East, has been selected as this year’s focus. The ideas competition, open to graduate-level students will provide multidisciplinary teams the opportunity to propose a long-term development plan that creates value for property owners, city residents, and the greater Twin Cities region.
  • India May Outpace China by 2032
    Published on January 07, 2013 in Market Trends
    Although the World Bank projects the Chinese economy will grow by more than 8 percent in 2013, developers may find better bets in India and some other Asian countries over the next 20 years, according to a report from Hong Kong-based Global Demographics.
  • University Library ‘Goes Green’ For Finals
    Published on December 06, 2012 in Planning & Design
    Cornell University students looking for a break from the winter weather and the pressure of finals can still get a hint of warmer weather, thanks to a temporary grass installation in several buildings on campus.
  • Seven Communities Honored with EPA Award for Smart Growth
    Published on December 06, 2012 in Sustainability
    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized seven communities with its 2012 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement. Honorees included projects in Portsmouth, Va., Brattleboro, Vt., and Lancaster, Calif.
  • Tending to Ireland’s Green Shoots
    Published on December 03, 2012 in Capital Markets
    After five long years of fiscal crisis, there appears to be some stabilization in commercial real estate, according to a CBRE report issued in November. CBRE analysts cite four consecutive quarters of positive returns in Ireland’s commercial real estate sector.
  • Approaching the Fiscal Cliff
    Published on November 30, 2012 in Market Trends
    In the past few months, unemployment has fallen, the housing market has strengthened, gas prices have fallen, and consumer confidence is at a five-year high. Would those positive indicators be negated by the economic shock of falling off the fiscal cliff, and plunge the U.S. back into recession?
  • London Gets the Gold in Mori’s Global Power Index
    Published on November 26, 2012 in Market Trends
    For the first time since the Mori Memorial Foundation began compiling its Global Power City Index in 2008, New York City fell from the top spot. Mostly due to the activities surrounding this year’s Olympics, the Japanese-based researcher found that London ranked the highest in terms of "magnetism."
  • Storm’s Aftermath Casts New Light on Familiar Topics
    Published on November 06, 2012 in Market Trends
    Whatever form natural disasters take, cities need to incorporate resilience and sustainability into their existing infrastructure and in their plans for growth.
  • ULI-Greenprint Center Report Suggests Improvements in Carbon, Energy Emissions
    Published on October 17, 2012 in Fall Meeting
    A new report being released today by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Greenprint Center for Building Performance showed a 4.4 percent reduction in year-over year energy consumption in a portfolio of properties from 46 countries.