The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has awarded the ULI Foundation a $2 million grant to support efforts to advance healthy real estate and community development practices. An additional grant of $50,000 also was awarded to support activities that further collaboration between ULI and its partners on health.

The grants will support the Institute’s work to research and promote real estate development practices that advance human health and wellness and social equity, as well as the partnership between ULI and seven other professional membership organizations to advance goals of the Joint Call to Action for Healthy Communities. The Joint Call to Action encourages members of the organizations to build relationships, establish health goals within projects, implement strategies that improve health, and share expertise across the industry.

ULI’s work on healthy communities shows that despite a growing understanding of connections between the built environment and health outcomes, many buildings and communities are still being built in ways that do not provide opportunities for all people to live a healthy life. Communities are struggling to address the legacy and impact of land use and transportation decisions that make access to affordable housing, healthy food, social services, physical activity, and other components of a healthy life challenging.

“ULI members have been at the forefront of developing healthy communities where people of all income levels and backgrounds can thrive,” says W. Edward Walter, ULI’s global chief executive officer. “With this generous grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Urban Land Institute will continue to be the leader in promoting positive change throughout the real estate industry and in communities.”

With these grants, ULI will use the collective knowledge and commitment of its membership base to promote healthier and more equitable development and communities, and partner with other industry membership organizations to support collaboration across all land use professions to promote health through the built environment. The $2 million grant will comprise four components: an assessment of the current status of health and social equity in real estate practice; activities to build awareness of and drive more investment and funding to healthy and equitable real estate development and retrofit projects; a program to use the Institute’s network of local chapters to shape land use and transportation policies and practices for health and social equity; and activities that will leverage ULI’s member networks to support a focus on health, social equity, community engagement, and diversity.

The work will be led by ULI’s Building Healthy Places Initiative, which is part of the Institute’s Center for Sustainability and Economic Performance. Building Healthy Places, launched in 2013, is focused on leveraging the power of ULI’s global networks to shape projects and places in ways that improve the health of people and communities.