Design is the language through which the built environment communicates with people. It speaks even when we are not paying attention. We receive its message as we choose to walk into a building or to pass it by, to linger or to leave, to lose ourselves in an environment or to be overly conscious of self and space. The power of such communication is what makes it so enjoyable to present design articles in Urban Land. Excellent design is fundamental to every successful project.

Ron Nyren, in an article beginning on page 54, anchors our design coverage by addressing the way the styles used in residential, commercial, and restaurant spaces are converging. It is happening in response to our overlapping use of these spaces. Welcome to the office/coffee bar/loft apartment, where you can work or find respite from your labors according to your own preference and timetable.

Much has been written, in Urban Land and elsewhere, about the innovative Hudson Yards project rising along the Hudson River in New York City. In an article beginning on page 62, ULI governor Sandy Apgar takes us inside the decision-making process used by leaders of Boston Consulting Group, with which he has had a long affiliation, when they decided to move the firm’s New York City office from tried-and-true midtown to the then-unproven location on Manhattan’s west side, which allowed BCG to create its version of the 21st-century workplace.

This issue of Urban Land also sports a special package of stories about development in the Asia Pacific region. While the magazine always strives to include content from all of ULI’s national councils, in this issue we have packaged them in one convenient presentation, which begins on page 72. Don’t miss the tour of the LifeHub@Kunshan, which begins on page 74. The development outside Shanghai is a marvelous mix of entertainment, retail, and residential amenities. There are useful lessons on how mall operators can deal with online competition.

We also offer an introduction to Tom Toomey, who becomes ULI global chairman in July. As chairman and chief executive officer of multifamily housing company UDR, he is well known in the housing industry and among the upper ranks of ULI membership. We are pleased to introduce him to the broader ULI audience, as well.

Finally, I would like to call attention to ULI’s newest member benefit, the Navigator. It is a website designed to help ULI members find opportunities to become more involved with the Institute as befits their interest and expertise. One opportunity posted in the Navigator is to contribute to Urban Land as a writer. Please check it out: I look forward to hearing your article ideas as presented through this new online tool. You can find it at