The integration of art into urban development projects is gaining momentum as communities recognize the positive impact that art can have on their cities. ULI launched Art in Place, a global cohort of eight ULI District and National Councils working to connect artists, developers, and community voices to promote creative placemaking, which integrates art, culture, and creativity as levers of community revitalization.

To ensure the success of the program, ULI has enlisted a group of expert coaches, each with unique skills and backgrounds, to support the cohort of eight participating teams across Asia, Europe and the U.S.

These coaches will help ensure that local teams stay focused on ways to integrate art into the fabric of the community and within real estate development. The coaches, all leaders in their respective fields, come from diverse backgrounds in business, arts and culture, real estate consulting, and nonprofit leadership:

“By connecting these expert coaches with participating councils, we hope that local teams will be inspired by their fresh perspectives and approaches to integrating art into real estate development,” says Rachel MacCleery, co-executive director of ULI’s Lewis Center for Sustainability. “This marks the first time we have matched volunteer coaches with local ULI Councils. Not only will they help teams refine their plans, they will remain committed throughout the project’s duration and contribute to the sharing of knowledge within the wider ULI networks. We are excited to see how their expertise and sustained engagement will amplify project outcomes.”

A growing network of Art in Place Volunteer Coaches and project advisors, include:

  • Neda Abghari, an Atlanta-based arts and culture advisor, do-good architect, affordable housing advocate, and founder of The Creatives Project, is paired with ULI Cleveland.
  • Juanita Hardy, a Maryland-based expert in Creative Placemaking and Senior Project Advisor, is paired with ULI Austin and ULI Colorado (Steamboat Springs).
  • Matthew Kwatinetz, a Manhattan-based real estate consultant, professor, and board member of the Burning Man organization, is paired with ULI Hong Kong and ULI Louisiana (Baton Rouge).
  • inclusive and equitable growth through the integration of art and culture.
  • Tim Jones, a Toronto-based leader known for his pioneering work at Artscape Toronto, is paired with ULI NW Arkansas.
  • Additionally, Marian Liou, the Atlanta-based Director of Art and Culture at SmartGrowth America, served as an early project advisor.

To support the expansion of Art in Place to Europe, additional coaches will be paired with ULI France and ULI Germany.

With the guidance and support of expert coaches, participating councils will host convenings and/or organize Technical Assistance Panels (TAPs) to identify where artist-engaged partnerships in real estate can advance equitable outcomes, empower collective action, and repair the social fabric. Lessons from this work will be shared across the greater National and District Councils network and amongst the wider ULI membership throughout the program. The expert coaches will also play a crucial role in ensuring that lessons learned are shared across the ULI network.

Art in Place represents a unique opportunity to leverage the power of art to strengthen communities and create more inclusive and sustainable urban development projects. By connecting artists, developers, and community voices, the program is helping to drive a new era of creative placemaking and community-driven urban development. The project is made possible by the generous support of former Global Governing Trustee and ULI Foundation Julia Morgan Society member Michael Spies.