ULI Global CEO Ed Walter speaking at the opening keynote at the 2019 ULI Fall Meeting in Washington, D.C.

An expansion of ULI’s highly regarded Advisory Services and education programs, an increased focus on diversity and inclusivity, and investments in member-facing technology are all helping reinforce ULI’s real estate leadership around the globe, ULI Global Chief Executive Officer W. Edward Walter said in an opening-session address to attendees of the Institute’s 2019 Fall Meeting in Washington, D.C. Walter cited progress being made to position ULI as the world’s foremost real estate organization.

ULI’s recent Advisory Services panels in the District of Columbia—one on increasing affordable housing and another on improving sustainability through building performance—are indicative of the program’s increased emphasis on pressing urban challenges faced by cities around the globe. The panels are the latest in the Institute’s 60-plus-year history of advising cities on growth and redevelopment, Walter noted. Over the years, “ULI has been there, advising on what to do and how to do it,” he said.

Walter noted that a key goal of the Institute’s Global Strategic Plan, which aims to strengthen member engagement and impact, is to increase the diversity of ULI’s membership as well as diversity within the real estate industry in terms of gender, race, and ethnicity.

“As our customers continue to evolve and become more diverse, it is imperative that our industry and ULI evolve in a similar fashion,” Walter said. He pointed to the Women’s Leadership Initiative, the Real Estate Diversity Initiative, an expansion of UrbanPlan, and a new online real estate curriculum being piloted at Colgate University as programs that are helping ULI progress toward increased diversity.

Walter also pointed to ULI’s latest technology advancements to improve member connectivity, noting that thousands of members are now regularly using Navigator, which connects members to volunteer opportunities; Member Directory, which connects members to each other; and Knowledge Finder, which connects members to ULI’s best content. A new version of Knowledge Finder, with significant enhancements to functionality and types of content, is being previewed at the Fall Meeting.

“Our work to expand our advisory services, create a more diverse, inclusionary industry, and improve member engagement through technology is part of our effort to make ULI the leading global real estate organization,” Walter said. “Each of you can help us get there by getting involved and staying involved in ULI.”