Rather than being siloed as strictly transportation initiatives, urban mobility projects and policies are increasingly being viewed in part as economic investment. London is a prime example of this approach, said experts speaking at the ULI Netherlands Conference in May.
Behind the new home construction, park improvements, and a rising downtown skyline that are attracting out-of-state migration, some longtime families in Boise, Idaho, are struggling to afford housing in a market that has seen rents more than double in the past decade.
Changsha is a bustling city of 7 million people in China’s central Hunan province. The Baxi River meanders through the city, carrying water flows that have created 15 scattered islands near the city. Seasonal flooding, rapid water flow, and constructed monocultures have caused escalating erosion, destabilization, and loss of habitat along the banks. Past approaches to managing the river have favored the creation of hard edges to protect land and property. With the two-mile-long (3.2 km), 156-acre (63 ha) Baxi River Forest Island, the local government tried a new approach. It embraced the river ecosystem, creating a new park that is helping both nature and people thrive.
The Ricardo Lara Linear Park in Lynwood, California, demonstrates how underused land can be repurposed to benefit an entire community. Teamwork and creativity transformed a vacant five-acre (2 ha) stretch of land along Interstate 105 into a park that advances social equity, improves environmental health, and offers recreation spaces for all ages.
The Quequechan River Trail is reusing an abandoned rail right-of-way to provide public access to the Quequechan River, offering benefits for the community of Fall River, Massachusetts, improving water quality, and creating valuable wetland habitat. In 1958, the construction of Interstate 195 split the city in half and blocked access to the river. The new trail, made possible through strong partnerships, now provides almost two miles (3.2 km) of trails to pedestrians and bicyclists and restores a connection to the Quequechan River.
As one of the only public green spaces in Houston’s Upper Kirby District, the underused Levy Park has been reimagined as an active, vibrant civic destination. The 5.9-acre (2.4 ha) public park offers free programming and public events, and includes a 40,000-square-foot (3,700 sq m) children’s garden, a 7,500-square-foot (700 sq m) rain garden, a 43,000-square-foot (4,000 sq m) event lawn, and a 2,500-square-foot (230 sq m) multipurpose performance space.
Madrid Rio Park was made possible by the burial of 25 miles (40 km) of urban motorways that had separated Madrid’s 6 million residents from the Manzanares River, which flows through the city. The park now occupies 360 acres (146 ha) of green space, with trails and urban beaches sharing space with art centers, playgrounds, and cafés, providing a link between city and river, and between the urban ecosystem and the vast Manzanares River basin.
The ULI Urban Open Space Award recognizes vibrant parks and open spaces that have been transformative in promoting healthy, sustainable, and equitable outcomes in their communities. This year, five projects were selected as finalists.
Hong Kong Central remained the most expensive office market in the world, according to CBRE’s annual Global Prime Office Occupancy Costs report. Hong Kong Central’s overall prime occupancy costs of US$307 per square foot (US$3,305 per sq m) per year topped the “most expensive” list, followed by London’s West End, Beijing’s Finance Street, and Hong Kong’s Kowloon.
The growing popularity of building for health and wellness and the value derived from it are explored in a new ULI report, The Business Case for Healthy Buildings: Insights from Early Adopters. The report documents how real estate leaders worldwide are increasingly seeking to create environments that support healthy lifestyles in both workspaces and homes.