A group of renowned urban planning and real estate experts representing ULI will be making recommendations this week to the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, on creating safe, sustainable housing for workers who are engaged full time in employment or training, focusing specifically on the Downtown Eastside neighborhood of Vancouver—which is a unique challenge unto itself that has only intensified as a result of the global pandemic.

ULI representatives will be conducting the program for Vancouver June 28–30 through ULI’s virtual Advisory Services panel (vASP) offering. The panel is a multiday virtual program that is tailored to meet a community’s specific needs, bringing together real estate experts in different areas such as land use, urban renewal, and community growth. They will spend time interviewing local stakeholders, understanding the community’s needs, and delivering advice on how best to tackle the issue at hand.

Sponsored by the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation, in partnership with the Community Impact Real Estate Society and ULI British Columbia, the panelists will provide strategic recommendations on the following:

  • The ideal structure of the partnership to create housing options for employed homeless people.
  • What tenancy options could look like for worker-focused housing;
  • The benefits of mixed-use buildings in the creation of such housing; and
  • Creative strategies at the intersection of housing and employment for the Downtown Eastside neighborhood.

The panel will be led by Laura London, former associate director, Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, Arlington County, Virginia, and Richard K. Green, director and chair of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate, and chair, Wilbur H. Smith III Department of Real Estate Development, University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy, Los Angeles.

“We are delighted to bring the experience of our ULI members to the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, through the dynamic virtual Advisory Services panel format,” said London. “Our panel will examine the social, economic, and environmental conditions of the Downtown Eastside [DTES] neighborhood, engage with a variety of stakeholders, and blend their insights with expertise, best practices, and successful models recommended by the ULI panelists. We will identify practical solutions, looking at tenancy options for worker-focused housing, and financial and organizational structures to implement the models. Our panel will embrace concepts of mixed-use community development as part of a vibrant and inclusive local economy, with housing and healing for DTES.”

London and Green will be joined on the panel by Charmaine Atherton, senior vice president–senior development manager, Banc of America Community Development Corporation (BACDC), Los Angeles; Ilana Branda, deputy chief, Services to End and Prevent Homelessness, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, Silver Spring, Maryland; Hal Ferris, founding principal, Spectrum Development Solutions, Seattle; Christopher Ptomey, executive director, Terwilliger Center for Housing, Washington, D.C.; Jermaine Ruffin, associate director for equitable planning and legislative affairs, city of Detroit, Detroit, Michigan; and Jeanhy Shim, president, Housing Lab Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

This panel is the second in a series of proposed economic opportunity panels delivered by the Institute. These panels will be tasked with thought leadership in underinvested communities for the purpose of attracting real estate investment in order to achieve more equitable development that improves economic, social, and environmental resilience. The work is supported in large part by the ULI Foundation and its members.