Allow me to introduce myself as the new editor in chief of Urban Land.
As a journalist who has spent 30 years in the nation’s capital, writing and editing stories about real estate, I have followed Urban Land, and ULI, to stay up-to-date with the latest thinking on land use. Now I am excited—and challenged—by the opportunity to help shape this venerable magazine and its companion website, urbanland.uli.org.
When a new editor takes the helm of a publication, it is reasonable for readers to wonder what changes are in store. While any editor inevitably leaves her own stamp on a publication, no major overhaul is planned for Urban Land. The changes will be incremental. You can expect to see more articles about real estate in Europe and Asia, in accordance with ULI’s increased activities globally. Our print and online editions of the magazine will be more closely coordinated, and we are developing more interactive tools to enhance the online experience. In the online version, readers can find timely updates, such as ULI senior resident fellow Stephen R. Blank‘s commentary on weekly economic trends. The online version also provides readers the opportunity to comment on articles, including those they may have found first in the print version.
The goals I have in mind for Urban Land are straightforward: I want to make you late for a meeting because you wanted to finish reading an Urban Land article. I want Urban Land to be the magazine that someone swipes from your reception area. Most important, Urban Land is designed to be a booster shot of the career and intellectual stimulation that ULI members receive when attending the Spring and Fall meetings, the annual Paris meeting, or the new Asia summit that will debut in May. Progressive thinking, best practices, honest assessments—and examples of urban spaces that thrive—will be part of our mix in each issue.
Over three decades in Washington, I have had the rare opportunity to see how thoughtful development, paired with the tough slog of policy making, can resuscitate a city. When I arrived in the early 1980s, an area just two blocks from the White House was dominated by seedy adult theaters and the even seedier activities that so often accompany them. The District’s Union Station, with its glorious arched ceiling and Roman statuary, was boarded up, unsafe for habitation. One block from the White House, the historic Willard Hotel (now the elegant Willard InterContinental), where Abraham Lincoln and his family stayed shortly before his inauguration as president, was shuttered. All have been redeveloped, offering Class A office, retail, and hotel space. Areas of the city that were still scarred by the riots of 1968 have been redeveloped and now attract mixed-use developments, condominiums, restaurants, clubs—and many young, new residents. After decades of public and private effort, Washington, D.C., suddenly (it seems to those who have not been here to watch the metamorphosis) is the place to be. You can find a story on how access to light-rail transit is helping that continued regeneration on page 86.
We welcome suggestions about what you would like to see in Urban Land. This organization was created so members could learn from each other—their failures as well as their successes—and that continues to be the philosophy guiding Urban Land magazine.