Seventeen grants totaling $250,000 and targeted for projects ranging from Technical Assistance Program (TAP) panels focused on health in Colorado to urban regeneration workshops in Shanghai have been awarded to ULI district and national councils through ULI’s Urban Innovation Grant program. The recipients were announced at the 2013 ULI Fall Meeting in Chicago.

Funding for the program is provided by the ULI Foundation’s Annual Fund, which supports local ULI projects that recognize or launch innovative public/private partnerships that advance the responsible use of land in building healthy, thriving communities worldwide. Only ULI district and national councils are eligible to apply for the grants, which range from $10,000 to $25,000.

According to John H. Mays, chairman of the Urban Innovation Grants committee and chairman/managing partner of Gould & Ratner LLP, the grants help create laboratories for ideas to help tackle the pressing issues facing communities. “The grant awards not only recognize new approaches in solving challenges at the local level, but they serve as a delivery system for innovative ULI ideas that have a lasting impact in creating sustaining and healthy communities,” he said.

The recipients of the 2013 ULI Urban Innovation Grant funds follow.

  • ULI Arizona—Building Healthy Places in Arizona through Community Plan. Building on its ongoing Community Plan education curriculum for public officials, ULI Arizona will convene work groups of land use planning and health professionals in three pilot urban and rural counties to enhance expertise and professional development regarding how the built environment affects health. Lessons learned through these pilots will form the foundation of strategies transferable to communities and regions statewide. This project will include development of a checklist for use in prioritizing local government capital investments that promote healthy community outcomes, as well as Community Plan training materials to integrate healthy community ideals.
  • ULI Carolinas (Charlotte, South Carolina, Triangle)—Carolinas Regional Meeting. In January 2014, ULI Charlotte, ULI South Carolina, and ULI Triangle will convene a forum focused on rethinking the future of southern communities and reorienting them from cars to people. The regional conference will address themes associated with shifting demographics, immigration, access to fresh local food, and innovative community design.
  • ULI Colorado—Building Healthy Places TAPs. ULI Colorado will provide building healthy places–themed TAP panels to three communities from across the state that demonstrate a need for help. The program is designed to connect the expertise of leading ULI members and partners who build healthy places to the communities that need help. Two of the three proposed panels will address general community and public health related to the built environment; each panel will last two days, engaging five to seven ULI volunteers. A third, one-day panel will address a more specific issue, such as a single site or part of a neighborhood. The purpose of including both two- and one-day panels is to compare the effectiveness of different approaches—one community-wide and the other site-specific.
  • ULI Columbus—Growth Scenarios for the Central Ohio Region. To continue the efforts of the district council’s Columbus 2050 initiative and examine more closely the impacts of how and where the region will grow, ULI Columbus will partner with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) and the Columbus Partnership to complete a regional growth analysis of the fiscal, environmental, and public health impacts of alternative land use and transportation scenarios for the central Ohio region. A company will be hired to conduct the regional growth scenario analysis; MORPC will be the primary funder and holder of the contract. The benefits of various growth patterns will be used by MORPC and local governments to guide decisions about regional growth strategies.
  • ULI Florida (Central Florida, North Florida, Southeast Florida/Caribbean, Southwest Florida, Tampa Bay)—Leveraging the Intersection of Transportation, Health, and Land Use in Florida. This statewide initiative will focus on each of the five regions represented by ULI district councils in Florida. With the work of author and physician Richard Jackson as a foundation, the goal is to engage stakeholders in each area to conduct an assessment of local obstacles to healthy communities and merge the input into a larger statewide body of work with specific action items prioritized. As part of the process, Jackson will lead a forum/community discussion for each district council.
  • ULI Los Angeles—Bringing Development Expertise to the Los Angeles River Revitalization Partnership. ULI Los Angeles will partner with the multiple public agencies and private nonprofits to bring the specific development expertise currently lacking in efforts to restore the Los Angeles River linear Central Park. An example of an issue ULI Los Angeles will address is the presence of the Piggyback Yard rail yard adjacent to the river, which is precluding needed river restoration. ULI will bring its national expertise to an examination of how other cities have dealt with conflicts between longstanding central-city rail infrastructure and much-needed modern urban green recreational space. A modified TAP panel could examine Los Angeles–specific solutions, identifying potential relocation sites and the policies, regulations, and/or incentives that are necessary to make the sites economically feasible.
  • ULI Mainland China—Urban Regeneration in Shanghai. ULI Mainland China will hold a series of workshops to study the key challenges to and opportunities for urban regeneration with key stakeholders, including participants from the government, developers, investors, urban planners, and civic groups. The seminars should identify key principles for urban regeneration that will facilitate sustainable and healthy communities. With greenfield development opportunities dwindling and a growing stock of existing buildings suffering from poor maintenance and obsolescence, China’s urban cores need regeneration in order to meet the rising aspirations of Chinese urban residents. Upon completion of the workshops, a Ten Principles for Urban Regeneration report will be published.
  • ULI Minnesota—Building Healthy Places: Prospect Park Station District. The Prospect North Partnership has contracted with ULI Minnesota to cofacilitate a public/private partnership to support redevelopment, housing and employment opportunity, transit connectivity, and 21st-century sustainable urban living, with strong support from the surrounding neighborhood and the University of Minnesota. The 80-acre (32 ha) Prospect North Station District is on the soon-to-be-opened Central Corridor light-rail transit line. ULI Minnesota will convene diverse Prospect North stakeholders and ULI Minnesota members to create both the culture and the place that will support healthy living. ULI Minnesota will then enlist champions and develop an implementation guide that will be endorsed and implemented by the partnership.
  • ULI Nashville—Shaping Healthy Communities: Building Healthy Places. ULI Nashville, in partnership with the Nashville Civic Design Center (NCDC), will host a joint seminar that will include an educational session focused on NCDC’s Shaping Healthy Communities project findings and strategies. The seminar will engage a nationally recognized speaker, and a TAP-style charrette will be held to identify opportunities for implementation of ULI best practices. Members of ULI Nashville and other regional district councils will add action-oriented real estate and development strategies in this implementation TAP/charrette. A TAP/charrette report providing results and measurable recommendations for action will be published and disseminated.
  • ULI New York—Using TOD to Build Healthy, Sustainable Communities: A TAP Panel Series. This project is a series of two two-day TAP panels to develop further implementation strategies for the New York City Department of City Planning (DCP) Sustainable Communities recommendations in east New York, Brooklyn, and University Heights in the Bronx. The strategies were based on two three-year planning studies led by DCP and funded by a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Sustainable Communities Regional Planning grant that focused on the need to develop disadvantaged communities in New York City that have underused transit resources and present tremendous opportunities for transit-oriented development.
  • ULI Norway—The Oslo Winter Olympics Bid as a Driver of Public Health and Urban Development Change as Part of the Proposed Legacy for the 2022 Games. ULI Norway has been active in the discussion with the city of Oslo about its bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics. ULI Norway has offered preliminary technical recommendations about the need for early legacy planning to achieve the city’s built-environment, economic, and health goals. In order to expand on these recommendations, ULI Norway will convene a three-day panel with the intention of setting out tenets of international best practices and accelerating learning of next steps for the city and its partners. After the panel, a formal report will be presented to the city with recommendations to better position it to advance a credible bid for the 2022 Games.
  • ULI Pittsburgh—“Play All Day: Methods and Models for Re-Visioned ParkResources.” ULI Pittsburgh, in partnership with Moraine State Park, the Butler County Tourism and Convention Bureau, and the Moraine Preservation Fund, will launch a building healthy places initiative focused on Pittsburgh as a replicable model for any district council. Re-visioning the resources of parks and open spaces, ULI Pittsburgh will produce “Play All Day: Methods and Models for Re-visioned Resources,” a document providing adaptable uses for open spaces and parks, test piloted through the enhancement of the 16th Annual Lake Arthur Regatta on August 2 and 3, 2014.
  • ULI San Francisco and Northwest—Building Healthy Places through Innovation and Exchange. ULI San Francisco and ULI Northwest will each host a two-day study trip in their respective regions for a group of invited members representing both district councils. ULI members will hear from community stakeholders engaged in promoting public health through panel discussions, site visits, and presentations. The focus will be innovative, “moving the needle” topic areas relevant to land use and real estate. ULI members invited to attend will be the movers and shakers in their respective communities, including developers, lenders, public officials, planners, and architects.
  • ULI Singapore—Creating Healthy Places through Active Mobility. ULI Singapore and the Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC) will conduct a collaborative research project to better understand the behavioral patterns, perceptions, and physical provisions that would help ULI members, government agencies, and the Singapore development community make long-term decisions about walking and biking mobility. ULI Singapore will invite its member experts on building healthy places to participate as research advisers, engaging them for discussions at two workshops. Preliminary findings, particularly from the workshops, will be presented by ULI at the World Cities Summit in June 2014, at the 2014 ULI Fall Meeting, and in a joint ULI/CLC publication, Creating Healthy Places through Active Mobility.
  • ULI Texas (Austin, Houston, North Texas, San Antonio)—ULI Texas Task Force on Building Healthy Places. A regional collaboration among ULI district councils in the four largest Texas markets—Austin, Houston, North Texas (Dallas–Fort Worth), and San Antonio—this project will create a statewide task force of real estate developers engaged in building healthy places and build bridges to create new partnerships with public and private sector leaders. The project will convene the innovative developers to share their experiences and disseminate best practices and lessons learned in suburban greenfield, urban infill, and aging first-ring suburban communities. The publication Building Healthier Places in Texas will be released at a major event in September 2014.
  • ULI U.K.—The Impact of Digital and Technology on Retail and Leisure in Glasgow. Shops in downtown retail zones across the United Kingdom, including Glasgow, have a 30 percent vacancy rate. This project will be built around a series of three knowledge-exchange roundtables that will bring in international experts and practitioners from the retail, leisure, technology, and consumer behavior fields to develop future scenarios for Glasgow’s downtown area. Case studies and data that capture best practices will enable these roundtables to test a series of strategic options that will help Glasgow and its partners develop scenarios for its downtown.
  • ULI Washington—Repurposing Aging Infrastructure for Health: The 11th Street Bridge Park. As the old 11th Street Bridge is being replaced, the District government and nonprofit group Building Bridges across the River will transform aging infrastructure into the city’s first health hub—an elevated park to provide a new venue for healthy recreation, environmental education, and the arts. ULI Washington proposes to facilitate design charrettes with community members to engage them in the design and function of the 11th Street Bridge Park. The outcomes of the charrettes will be used to inform the next phase of the project, which will be a nationwide design competition to create 11th Street Bridge Park.

The grant recipients were selected by a review committee of land use development and planning experts. In addition to Mays, members were Robert E. Engstrom, president, Robert Engstrom Companies; Lizanne Galbreath Megrue, managing partner, Galbreath and Company; Jim Chaffin, partner, Chaffin Light Management LLC; and Thomas W. Toomey, chief executive officer, UDR Inc.