By the time most ULI members receive this issue of Urban Land, the 9/11 Memorial in New York City—with its granite reflecting pools outlining the twin towers’ original footprints, surrounded by bronze panels inscribed with the names of those who died that day—will be open to the public to mark the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. 

Within five years, lower Manhattan is expected to boast a much newer inventory of office buildings that will include large floor plates; provide the latest in infrastructure, communication, and sustainable technology; and achieve Gold certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

As the tenth anniversary approaches, commercial real estate professionals are reinforcing building code changes and integrating new best practices to keep their buildings and tenants safe through a deep commitment to enhanced risk management and emergency preparedness, accentuated by technology, say Jones Lang LaSalle property management experts. Everything from electronic systems that identify building visitors and their whereabouts to advanced security camera systems that go beyond “people watching” to provide alarms and even identify suspicious packages have helped mitigate risk. Technology has even gone a step further, helping people prepare for emergencies before they occur. For instance, Jones Lang LaSalle has developed a web-based emergency preparedness program called 4Sight that creates a business continuity plan for every property in the firm’s portfolio. The plans are based on property-specific information and a variety of potential disaster scenarios. Because the program is web-based, users can access it from anywhere in the event of a crisis. 

As ULI members get ready to attend this year’s Fall Meeting in Los Angeles, efforts to rebuild and finance the foundation for California’s real estate recovery will depend on new investments in basic infrastructure such as water, energy, and transportation systems. Cutting-edge strategies developed there for addressing water supply and delivery, financing transportation, and tackling infrastructure challenges for new development can be used throughout the United States to deliver the essential systems necessary for a real estate industry recovery. 

On the leading edge of that recovery after much dislocation and losses, the U.S. hotel real estate sector is back. Hotel deal volumes increased 170 percent in the first half of this year as lodging real estate investment trusts (REITs) with strong multiples actively pursued targeted acquisition opportunities. But what will the second half of 2011 look like as hotel asset values shift going forward?

On the institutional front, a number of U.S. universities are partnering to build thriving communities. Most now see themselves as drivers of community and local gateways to the global knowledge economy; no longer do they take pride in residing on isolated and introverted campuses. But what design and development strategies are making these ideas real?

Developers are inventing new real estate solutions that deliver high density and new types of amenities that foster livability. Many Asian cities already embody these solutions and may represent a showcase of future land use practices in the global arena. The rapid pace of market growth, definitions and tradeoffs of neighborhood amenities, and the emerging roles of public, private, and community sectors are highlighted in ULI’s recent Ten Principles for a Sustainable Approach to New Development report, focused on Hong Kong and sponsored by ULI North Asia.

In October 2001, architecture critic Paul Goldberger interviewed Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who died in 2003, at that year’s ULI Fall Meeting in Boston. An edited version of that interview can be found on page 36. In it, Moynihan, reflecting on 9/11, said, “What we built once, we can build again, or we can build differently, depending on what we think is best. This time, we can do it even better.”