Rodolfo Rodríguez, ULI Apgar Thought Leader Award winner.

Rodolfo Rodríguez, manager of public health programs and shelter operations for the Washington County, Oregon, Department of Housing Services, has been selected as the inaugural ULI Apgar Thought Leader Award winner.

The award, supported by ULI Trustee Mahlon “Sandy” Apgar, is awarded biennially and offers ULI members an opportunity to pursue research and writing with the goal of publishing in Urban Land magazine. The award encourages thought leadership and clarity of thought on subjects that exemplify, reflect, and champion best practices in responsible land use and which reinforce the Institute’s mission in communities worldwide.

Rodríguez is a current ULI member and an alumnus of the ULI Randall Lewis Health Mentorship program and the ULI Health Leaders Network. He will write a thoroughly researched and documented article for the audience of Urban Land. He will receive a $1,500 honorarium to support the study of his proposed area of inquiry and will receive complimentary registration to either the ULI Spring Meeting or the ULI Fall Meeting in 2021.

Rodríguez’s proposal was selected from 39 entries; his winning proposal focuses on proven anti-displacement strategies in Latinx neighborhood redevelopment initiatives in the United States. Through his research and writing, he hopes to delve deeper into this subject matter and focus on tenant-led processes, innovative funding sources, mixed-used spaces, and culturally reflective community design, policy, and advocacy.

“It is not lost on me that the voices of those impacted most are inadvertently silenced in the land development process because we are not invited into decision-making spaces,” says Rodríguez. “For me, the ULI Apgar Thought Leadership Award is more than just an opportunity to research and write. It is an invitation to step on a global platform and set the stage for an overdue conversation on ‘gentrification and displacement’ through a community-rooted lens.”

“We were very pleased with the number, variety, and quality of submissions for this inaugural award,” said the ULI Apgar Thought Leader Award Selection Committee in a joint statement. “Ultimately, the committee felt that Rodolfo’s proposal could result in some innovative contributions to ULI’s long-running conversations on housing affordability, as well as the burgeoning conversations about more nuanced aspects like gentrification, displacement, and equitable development. We are excited to see where his research takes him and look forward to sharing his thought leadership.”

The criteria for selecting the winner included innovative ideas about buildings and communities; relevance to current land use and development issues; logic and perceptiveness of the analysis; clarity of presentation; overall contribution to land use and development literature; and additional criteria as designated by the selection committee (e.g., specific topics, emphases, geography, among other criteria).

Selection committee members for the ULI Apgar Thought Leader Award were Linda J. Isaacson, managing director, global head of innovation and technology, Ferguson Partners, New York City, New York; Elizabeth Razzi, editor in chief, Urban Land magazine, Washington, D.C.; and Adam Weers, principal, Trammell Crow Company, Washington, D.C.