phillips_351tSeptember signals a busy time for ULI as we step up preparations for our signature event—the annual Fall Meeting. It’s also a time of great anticipation because the Fall Meeting represents the best of ULI, offering unprecedented opportunities to share and gain knowledge, and to network with peers.

Each year, the event seems to be packed with more and more to absorb—in fact, according to many of you, it has become so packed that what had long made the meeting appealing has started to make it overwhelming. In response to your ideas and suggestions, we have changed the Fall Meeting format, starting with the 2014 meeting next month in New York City. This new structure reflects greater sensitivity to your time constraints and allows you greater flexibility to take advantage of programming and events that matter most to you.

First, the meeting will start earlier in the week. The first full day of programming for the 2014 Fall Meeting will be Tuesday, October 21; it will continue through Thursday, October 23. Optional tours of local real estate developments will take place Monday, October 20. Concluding the meeting on Thursday afternoon will allow you to be back at work on Friday or schedule additional meetings in New York.

Register for the Fall Meeting

Second, each day of the meeting will have a specific focus. Tuesday’s program will center on leadership. We will have several sessions on professional and personal development that day, as well as our main committee meetings. Wednesday will be Council Day and the ULI Stan Ross Real Estate Trends Conference, with a focus on the trends that are shaping our industry. Thursday’s program will focus on successfully negotiating transactions in the post-recession environment.

Third, we will be offering new ways for attendees to connect, through events such as informal “dine and learn” sessions related to specific topics (an opportunity to meet with members sharing similar industry interests in a more social setting); leadership meet-and-greets; and interactive “meet-ups” focused on cutting-edge business issues.

ULI’s Spring Meeting is also being revised to differentiate it from the Fall Meeting and to create another unique event providing great member value. These changes will start with the 2015 event in Houston on May 13 and 14. In New York, you will hear more about the new Spring Meeting format.

Rest assured that our new format has not altered the quality of the meeting content or diminished the opportunities for networking. We are simply revamping what we offer to make it more productive for you on site—and more useful for you after the meeting ends.

We can look forward to keynote presentations from Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase; and Walter Isaacson, president and chief executive officer of the Aspen Institute, former editor of Time magazine, and former chief executive officer of CNN. Jennifer Lawson of MakerBot will provide insights on the 3-D printing revolution, and Vincent Stanley of Patagonia will share the company’s successes in active-lifestyle branding.

As always, there will be plenty of opportunities for knowledge sharing, with more than 40 real estate sessions on a wide variety of topics, such as post–natural disaster development, multigenerational housing, “work everywhere” office space, and the industry leadership transition from baby boomers to gen Xers. Plus, there is a terrific lineup of mobile tours—ranging from mixed-income housing in the Bronx to post-Sandy neigh­borhood redevelopment on the Rockaway Peninsula—promising yet more ways to combine learning and networking.

The Fall Meeting is your chance to be part of a gathering of more than 6,500 of the world’s foremost real estate experts, all of whom convene to exchange ideas and insights on the “next new thing” for the industry. This year’s event will build on a topic we have explored for the past couple of years—rethinking urban development for the 21st century in response to demographic, social, economic, environmental, and technological trends. You will leave better informed about the game changers that are influencing what’s being built, where it’s being built, and how it’s being financed.

More details on the changes to the Fall Meeting and registration information are available at www.ulifall.org. Our 2014 meeting promises to raise the bar in terms of member engagement, dynamic speakers, and valuable information, with New York’s unparalleled high-energy atmosphere as the backdrop. We are expecting record attendance, and I encourage you to register now if you haven’t already done so. I look forward to seeing you in New York!