Growing cities such as Hong Kong are at the epicenter of what Richard Florida has dubbed “the new urban crisis,” with the city’s success sending house prices soaring out of reach of the average resident. The author and urbanist, who is director of cities at the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto, spoke at the 2018 ULI Asia Pacific Summit in Hong Kong.
In April, a team of ULI members on an Advisory Services panel traveled to Miami Beach to advise the city on its preparations for sea-level rise and to brainstorm about what could be done better. The group concluded that the city has made an admirable start, including investment in a $500 million program for stormwater management, but a more comprehensive and holistic approach needs to be taken.
Companies understand the attraction of more economical, more comfortable spaces. But lenders still need to be educated about net-zero energy’s lower operating costs.
A 100,000-square-foot (9,300 sq m) project in an emerging transit district in Boulder, Colorado, is making the business case for net-zero-energy (NZE) multitenant leased office buildings, including lower operating costs, higher profits, reduced carbon emissions, better recruitment and retention for tenants, and happier, healthier, and more productive employees. The new $40 million Boulder Commons, a mixed-use office/restaurant/retail project in two adjacent buildings, is one of the largest NZE multitenant commercial buildings in the United States, according to New Buildings Institute (NBI) data.
A new report from the Urban Land Institute’s Center for Sustainability and Economic Performance outlines ten fundamental principles for building resilient cities and regions that successfully anticipate, respond to, and recover from both immediate shocks such as hurricanes and other extreme weather events and long-term stresses such as sea-level rise, poverty, and declining population.
The Waterfront Alliance, an organization encompassing hundreds of groups that have as their goal improving over 700 miles of shoreline in the New York/New Jersey area, has developed the Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines (WEDG) for real estate projects and sites. WEDG launched the nationally applicable version of the rating system in March after initially piloting a New York–specific set of guidelines. A small number of real estate projects and parks in New York City have been certified under the guidelines, including the Domino Sugar factory site in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which is being redeveloped by Two Trees, and both Brooklyn Bridge Park and Greenpoint Landing.
In 2017, California passed the first net-zero building code in the United States (for new residential construction by 2020). New York City; Washington, D.C.; and other cities have made net-zero building commitments as well, including both new and existing buildings. While a perception remains that achieving net zero is too costly for most residential and office development, a few pioneering development companies are figuring out how to deliver net-zero and net-zero-ready projects with a high net-present value at scale.
In fall 2016, about 100 residents, business owners, and public officials came together to discuss the Franklin Canal in El Paso, Texas, the adjacent neighborhoods, and an opportunity to connect them: a proposed Active Transportation System (ATS) funded by the El Paso Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). These community members were participating in an ULI Advisory Services panel, a weeklong workshop convened to develop a strategy for the “International Beltway” portion of the ATS.
The ULI Responsible Property Investment Council (RPIC) in January kicked off a webinar series that will run through 2018 highlighting the business case for renewable energy investments in real estate.
The inaugural webinar, “Here Comes the Sun,” provided an in-depth look at the project economics of a pilot solar retrofit project developed by Ginkgo Residential, a development and property management company operating in southern Virginia and the Carolinas.
Speaking at a ULI event in February, Toronto’s chief resilience officer said the two issues he is most keen to address in his role are the renewal of the 1,189 apartment towers in Toronto that were built before 1985 and safeguarding the city against a catastrophic flood.