Speaking at the ULI Spring Meeting in Nashville, bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Jon Meacham said that as far back in America’s history as the Revolutionary War, Americans have been able to change their minds and switch sides on many issues. “America was founded on the idea that we could think our way through problems,” he said.
The civil rights struggle of 50 years ago—Nashville was the first southern city to desegregate public services, setting an example for activists throughout the South—continues today, but now it is more focused on economic equality. That was the main takeaway from a ULI Spring Meeting session during which panelists discussed how much the civil rights struggle has achieved and how much further it has to go.
The success of ULI’s 2019 Spring Meeting—which drew 4,300 attendees, the highest ever for a Spring Meeting—is indicative of the Institute’s ongoing efforts to improve the member experience, ULI Global Chief Executive Officer Ed Walter said in remarks at the meeting’s closing session. He praised outgoing Global Chairman Thomas Toomey for his leadership in the creation and implementation of ULI’s Global Strategic Plan, which seeks to strengthen member engagement and impact.
New applications for artificial intelligence, 3-D printing, and the “internet of things” promise to transform the commercial real estate industry and create new ways to generate revenue and reduce expenses, said the head of a real estate–oriented investment fund speaking at the 2019 ULI Spring Meeting.
Outgoing ULI Global Chairman Thomas Toomey reflected on the Institute’s uniqueness as well as its future as an organization with a strong philanthropic culture during remarks made at the 2019 Spring Meeting’s closing session. “First, what makes [ULI] unique is that our work, performed by ULI members and real estate leaders, changes people’s lives by changing cities for the better. No other real estate institution comes close to doing so much for so many,” Toomey said. “Second, ULI is unique in that membership is a life journey. It supplements your education as well as your professional growth during the early-to-mid part of your career, and it encourages mentorship and legacy-building in the later years. And third, ULI is a mission-driven organization whose mission—while set forth 80 years ago—is needed more than ever now and in the future, as our cities face so many challenges. That also makes it unique.”
The U.S. economy continues to perform strongly nearly a decade into the current recovery and China appears to be bouncing back from a slowdown, but weakness in Europe is a cause for concern, a prominent business journalist told an audience at the ULI Spring Meeting in Nashville. The U.S. GDP growth trend is still solid, said Kathleen Hays, global economics and policy editor for Bloomberg Television and Bloomberg Radio, who has covered the U.S. economy and the Federal Reserve for more than 30 years. “The bottom line is the economy is still growing and it’s still creating jobs,” Hays said.
The United States’s economic expansion is expected to continue over the next three years, with growth moderating by 2021, according to the 15th annual ULI Real Estate Economic Forecast covering 27 economic and real estate indicators. GDP growth is forecast at 2.3 percent in 2019, which is above the long‐term average but is expected to fall next year to 1.8 percent.
Proptech, a new generation of innovative software platforms that can do everything from monitoring buildings’ energy and water use in real time to providing tenant workforces with on-site access to medical treatment, promises to be a game-changer in commercial real estate, according to panelists at ULI’s Spring Meeting in Nashville.
Nashville is evolving from “a nice small city to an emerging, medium-sized city,” said speakers at the 2019 ULI Spring Meeting, in part because of the city’s willingness to invest in its downtown through public-private partnerships.
In remarks made at the Spring Meeting’s opening general session, ULI Americas Chairman Jack Chandler shared thoughts on the importance of the Institute’s Global Strategic Plan in strengthening member engagement and impact. The plan, which is based on feedback from members on how to improve ULI, is designed to “create a more rewarding and personalized member experience, and allow initiatives in areas such as affordable housing, community resilience, and industry diversity to be scaled up for broader application and greater effect,” Chandler said.