With 2018 underway, I am excited about ULI’s ongoing effort to enhance the benefits for our members and make ULI more relevant on a local level across Europe. We are accomplishing this by developing more local content focused on pressing European topics and more active programming for the national councils, all with the goal of helping ULI become the leading global voice on land use and urban development.
For instance, our 2018 ULI Europe Conference has been reimagined to emphasize the Institute’s focus on thought leadership by giving members the opportunity to learn about the latest urban development trends in one of the leading and most dynamic cities in Europe. Berlin, the host city for the conference, for the fourth year in a row is ranked as the top European city for investment and development in the annual Emerging Trends in Real Estate® Europe report.
Berlin is the perfect setting to explore the impact of technology on the real estate industry. In addition, the agenda includes future-focused issues such as geopolitics and macroeconomics, the outlook for global cities (many of which are in the next development cycle), and the future of retail. We will hear from ULI’s own industry experts—such as ULI Key Leaders Alexander Otto, chief executive officer of ECE Projekt Management, and Scott Malkin, chairman of Value Retail—as well as 2017 ULI J.C. Nichols Prize laureate Robin Chase and other thought leaders whose work has profound implications for real estate. The event is on 30–31 January; if you have not yet registered to attend, I urge you to do so by visiting europeconference.uli.org.
In addition to our flagship European event, we have established a suite of national council conferences to bring international knowledge and expertise to our local members and create the opportunity to discuss local urban development and real estate issues in an international context. So far, conferences have been established in Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, and the first ULI Italy conference is scheduled for April 2018.
Another indication of our members-first approach is the expanding array of ULI content for members in Europe—chosen in response to member insights and input—that is tailored to issues affecting land use and urban development throughout the region. In addition to the latest Emerging Trends report, other recent releases include Trading Up: Dining, Leisure, Amenities, and the New Shopping Centre, which looks at how adding nonretail services affects the performance of shopping centres, and The Attractiveness of World-Class Business Districts, which is based on a survey of property professionals and ranks major global districts.
Coming this winter: findings from a European housing affordability research project, led by the Institute’s Residential Council in Europe; a competitiveness analysis of Turin and Milan with respect to their respective peers; and a major piece of research on the impact of placemaking and good density on investment returns. This member-led research will help greatly increase our understanding of Europe’s main urban development issues and the solutions being developed.
Quite a number of our research projects are led by our product councils, which are flourishing in Europe. These are forums for industry leaders to meet, exchange ideas, share best practices, and foster thought leadership. We are responding to member demand for more councils and have just launched two additional councils, one focused on residential development and the other on logistics. Our product council members are among our most engaged, contributing their considerable expertise to make the Institute’s program of work more meaningful and effective.
Yet another step in ULI’s evolution is the investment we are making in technology to improve the member experience and expand opportunities for volunteering and connecting. Online member tools are now available to strengthen engagement, such as a redesigned Member Directory (members.uli.org), with options for personalization such as interests, skills, and education. Navigator (navigator.uli.org), an offering that connects member interests with volunteer opportunities, is being developed to include opportunities in Europe. Also underway is development of Knowledge Finder, which will provide easy access to ULI information such as Advisory Services and technical assistance panel reports, product council agendas, and national council events. It will become available in 2018.
All of these member enhancements, from programming to content to connections, add up to a very promising year for ULI members in Europe. As we continue our focus on making ULI more relevant and responsive to members throughout the region, I look forward to your input. Your ideas and your expertise are what distinguish ULI as the global leader in responsible land use and innovative urban development. Thank you for the talent, time, and treasure each of you invests in ULI, and the trust you place in ULI to be a good steward of your investment.