Perhaps you’ve noticed that this issue of Urban Land arrived in your mailbox a little bit earlier than usual. That is because this year, instead of publishing a September/October issue, we are producing two separate magazines. The September issue provides all the usual content you have come to expect from Urban Land, and a special October issue, dedicated to coverage of our Fall Meeting host, New York City, will follow in a few weeks. The special Fall Meeting issue is a bit of an experiment—an effort to dive deeply into the matters that interest ULI members around the world, and to examine how these issues are playing out in our Fall Meeting host city. The articles may be datelined New York, but the issues at their heart—neighborhood rejuvenation, reuse of industrial sites, affordable housing, and environmental resilience, to name a few—should resonate with members from Beijing to Berlin.
The September issue’s cover package focuses on coastal development and, as part of that broad topic, resilience in the face of climate change and extreme weather. Again, New York City’s experience is relevant. While U.S. cities along the coastlines of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico (Miami, New Orleans, and Galveston, Texas, being vibrant examples) have forever coexisted with severe storms—as have Pacific Rim cities such as Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Manila—New York’s battering by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 seems to have caught the public’s attention in a new way. The largest city in the United States, by population—and eighth largest in the world—learned how nature could threaten a lifestyle that many of its residents took for granted. The electricity grid, telecommunications networks, subways, and roads were knocked out of commission. Global financial markets were affected when trading on Wall Street’s two major stock exchanges was halted. Homes and businesses were destroyed; beachfronts were erased. And, because all this was happening in the media capital of North America, the experience was extensively documented and images were disseminated around the world.
The hope, then, is that people around the world may also benefit from the prominence of New York and its experience in Hurricane Sandy—and from the sustainability initiatives undertaken as a result. In this issue, “The Art of Resilience,” which begins on page 58, provides a comprehensive review of the Rebuild by Design program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation and led by renowned Dutch water-management and planning expert Henk Ovink. The six winning visions profiled by Patrick J. Kiger offer ideas on how coastal cities can manage rising waters and provide better land use opportunities for sunny days. The designs deal with Manhattan itself, nearby cities and swamplands of New Jersey, seaside communities in Long Island, and even the metro area’s major food-distribution hub. Many communities will be able to find ideas that address their special circumstances.
Resilience and climate change, while important, are not the only areas of interest when it comes to coastal development. The developments themselves deserve attention. In this issue, Hong Kong–based writer and editor Mark Cooper provides a close-up look at how China’s Pearl River Delta is evolving into an 11-city megalopolis with Hong Kong at its heart. His story begins on page 70.
The influence of Hong Kong is also being seen in downtown Miami. Beginning on page 86, Kevin Brass reviews how Hong Kong–based Swire Properties is developing a $1.05 billion mixed-use project, Brickell City Centre. One particularly interesting feature of this new community: it creates a non-air-conditioned “climate ribbon” designed to harness Caribbean breezes for cooling of retail corridors.
Please let us know how you like the separate September and October issues of Urban Land; you can send e-mail to me at Elizabeth.Razzi@uli.org with your thoughts and suggestions. We’ll be back in your mailbox in just a few weeks.
Editor in Chief