Author: Ralph Bivins

Ralph Bivins is a freelance writer based in Houston. He is a prolific blogger and veteran journalist who covered real estate and economic development as a staffer at the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News for two decades. He is a past president of the National Association of Real Estate Editors. He blogs at and posts on Twitter at @RNRBulletin.

Articles by Ralph Bivins

  • Two North Dallas Suburbs Evolving Past Bedroom Communities
    Published on November 01, 2022 in Development
    Growth pours north out of Dallas, the city nicknamed “the Big D,” and one result has been a boom in the suburb of Frisco, which earned the title of the nation’s fastest-growing city of the 2010s, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Frisco's growth has spread to nearby Celina, which has grown 10x since 2010.
  • No End in Sight for Growth in the Texas Triangle
    Published on October 28, 2022 in Development
    The Dallas/Fort Worth metro area is rising on powerful growth that will lift it past Chicago to become the third-largest metropolitan statistical area in the nation, experts said during a session at the ULI Fall Meeting in Dallas.
  • Inequities in Appraisals Harm Communities of Color, Speakers Say
    Published on October 26, 2022 in Capital Markets
    Communities of color struggle to thrive in part because real estate appraisals are marred by racial bias, ossified methodology, and industry practices, according to an expert panel at ULI’s Fall Meeting in Dallas.
  • Repurposing Underused Golf Courses and Retail Centers to Fill Affordability Gaps in Housing
    Published on May 11, 2020 in Trends
    Solutions are slowly emerging as builders attempt to deliver housing that meets the strong demand from middle-class Americans who struggle to afford a home purchase, according to panelists gathered at a ULI housing conference in February.
  • Searching for Answers and Innovations in the Changing Housing Market
    Published on April 27, 2020 in Trends
    The future of housing is being influenced by evolving demographics, increased urbanization, higher construction costs, and financially constrained consumers who nonetheless demand meaningful, walkable communities, said panelists at the 2020 ULI Housing Conference in Miami. A shower of innovation rains down on the housing designers and builders who sort through options that include prefabricated homes, modular building components, and low-carbon technologies that support sustainable development goals.
  • Mayor Bowser Seeks to Create 36,000 New Housing Units in Washington, D.C.
    Published on September 20, 2019 in Development
    Using available land is a key strategy for filling the District of Columbia’s need for affordable housing units, Mayor Muriel Bowser said at ULI’s Fall Meeting in Washington, D.C. Bowser recently articulated her vision to construct 36,000 additional housing units in the District by 2025.
  • Competition for Talented Employees Requires Design of Excellent Office Environments
    Published on September 20, 2019 in Planning & Design
    The business performance of the organizations that occupy the nation’s office towers is increasingly supported by building design that creates excellent employee experiences and work environments. Office buildings must evolve to meet the current demands of the new workplace, according to panelists discussing the future of work at the Fall Meeting.
  • Solutions to the Attainable and Affordable Housing Crisis Are Varied, but Promising
    Published on September 19, 2019 in Development
    No single solution exists among the efforts to deliver attainable and affordable housing in a country where home prices continue to escalate significantly and the dream of homeownership is out of reach of millions of households, an expert panel told attendees at ULI’s 2019 Fall Meeting in Washington, D.C.
  • New Forms of Housing in a Changing World
    Published on October 25, 2017 in Residential/Multifamily
    American housing continues to evolve as new forms of shelter arise to meet changing demographics and consumer demands.
  • Building Equitable Cities in an Urban Nation
    Published on October 24, 2017 in Residential/Multifamily
    The United States is becoming more urbanized. Cities are becoming stronger. But millions of people are being left behind, unable to participate in the urban success, says Henry Cisneros, coauthor of a new ULI book on the topic.
  • Transforming Obsolete Downtown Towers into Offices, Hotels
    Published on November 22, 2016 in Development
    Downtown office properties are no longer disposable, throw-away structures with just a 30-year life span. Today, adaptive use initiatives are revitalizing buildings, changing the purpose of the towers to meet current market demands and extending the buildings’ useful life by many decades. At the 2016 ULI Fall Meeting in Dallas last month, panelists demonstrated the case for redeveloping downtown properties.
  • Leveraging Successful Urban Regeneration Initiatives
    Published on November 03, 2016 in Development
    Regenerative developments are breathing new life and economic growth into mature cities with transformative initiatives that are imparting a new competitiveness and bright futures to urban areas, panelists said at the 2016 ULI Fall Meeting in Dallas. “We aren’t just building buildings. We’re building cities,” said David Pitchford, chief executive officer of UrbanGrowth NSW, a government agency of the Australian state of New South Wales.
  • Suburbs and Cities Are Becoming More Alike
    Published on October 31, 2016 in Development
    American suburbs can be developed into more walkable, sustainable places to rival urban ones and potentially satisfy the changing needs of all generations, panelists said at the ULI Fall Meeting in Dallas. “Suburb does not have to be viewed as a dirty word, because it’s not,” said Adam Ducker, managing director of urban real estate at RCLCO, a real estate advisory firm based in Washington, D.C.
  • Downtown Dallas: A Turnaround Built on Parks, Arts, and People
    Published on October 10, 2016 in Development
    Converting offices to residences—and creating valuable parkland—helped lure people and development back to the urban core.
  • Falling Oil Prices Temper Houston’s Economic Surge
    Published on May 07, 2015 in Economy, Market & Trends
    In other times, Houston’s economic performance in 2014 would have been considered outstanding. But despite those strong results, no euphoria spills from the lips of Houston economists today. Caution rules in the business community.
  • ExxonMobil’s New Campus: Giving Houston a Second Energy Corridor
    Published on May 04, 2015 in Development
    Executives are keeping their large, new campus largely under wraps. Nevertheless, it is transforming the area's real estate.
  • Gateway Houston: Attracting Immigrants, Global Trade, and Investors
    Published on April 27, 2015 in Economy, Market & Trends
    Last year, veteran Texas homebuilder Jim Lemming decided to construct houses to meet the prevailing tastes and lifestyles of Houston’s growing southwest suburbs. That meant building houses with prayer rooms, Islamic-style arches, domed roofs, and extra master bedroom suites to accommodate multigenerational households.
  • Visions of a New Life for Houston’s Historic Astrodome
    Published on January 29, 2015 in Development
    A ULI Advisory Services panel recommends ways to create a popular, green, indoor/outdoor space as an alternative to demolition.
  • Florida’s Economy Has Rebounded from Its Downward Slide
    Published on January 23, 2015 in Economy, Market & Trends
    Ferris wheels, roller coasters, and the Florida economy—they are all famous for their ups and downs.
  • The Economics Underlying the Texas Boom
    Published on July 07, 2014 in Infrastructure
    Extracting oil and natural gas from shale is just one driver of the state's latest glory days.
  • In Focus: LPL Financial at La Jolla Commons
    Published on April 18, 2013 in Sustainability
    Hines is undertaking the largest and most ambitious of the new net-zero energy-producing buildings in the United States—a 13-story office tower in San Diego. The 415,000-square-foot (38,555 sq m) building, slated for completion in 2014, will employ high-performance design and on-site fuel cells that will convert methane gas into electricity.
  • Untapped Market in Smaller Green Retrofits
    Published on April 18, 2013 in Sustainability
    While many "green" building techniques have become the norm for new construction, panelists at a recent ULI forum say significant opportunities exist for upgrading or retrofitting buildings with green systems and technology.