ULI has released two new reports related to building for health and wellness—one offering lessons for development of healthy affordable housing for the broader marketplace, and the other for development of agrihoods, single-family, multifamily, or mixed-use communities built with a working farm or community garden as a focus. Together, the reports illustrate opportunities for developers to create financially successful projects that improve resident and community health and promote social equity and sustainability.

“Each new real estate project represents an opportunity for developers and other project stakeholders to invest in a community’s overall health and well-being, social equity and cohesion, environmental sustainability, and overall quality of life, while promoting the short- and long-term viability and success of real estate projects,” said W. Edward Walter, ULI global chief executive officer. “These new ULI reports illuminate opportunities to incorporate health-promoting elements which can benefit a project’s bottom line as well as the health and well-being of communities.”

Healthy Housing for All: How Affordable Housing Is Leading the Way is the product of a collaboration among ULI’s Building Healthy Places Initiative, the ULI Affordable and Workforce Housing Council, and the Center for Active Design. It examines innovations and lessons from health-oriented affordable housing projects for the broader housing marketplace, illustrating how a focus on health can lead to positive outcomes for both developers and residents.

The report presents four key insights from affordable and mixed-income housing projects:

  • Identify and incorporate healthy housing features at the outset of development;
  • Engage residents and stakeholders and conduct research to ensure that projects address their priorities;
  • Coordinate design, policy, and programming; and
  • Establish innovative partnerships, financing strategies, and revenue streams.

The report includes profiles of six projects developed by ULI members and others across the country that incorporate healthy housing components, including active transportation amenities, community events and classes, access to healthy food, and other features. It concludes with a summary of the strong demand for health-promoting housing that is accessible to people of all income levels.

Agrihoods: Cultivating Best Practices provides strategies for creating successful real estate projects centered on farms and other food-production spaces. It identifies eight best practice areas—land, food, finance, programming, communication, housing and design, people, and partnerships—to aid developers and their partners in planning, creating, and operating agrihoods.

The report outlines specific strategies in each area to help projects maximize their health, sustainability, equity and economic potential. These strategies were gleaned from ULI research, interviews with developers and other experts, and a workshop with key leaders in the field.

It includes brief profiles from agrihood projects around the country, as well as insights on food distribution, farm skills, programming, and other topics. Compelling schematics illustrate common agrihood features.

“Our members are leaders in the development of healthy places where families can live and thrive,” said Walter. “The innovative practices showcased in these reports demonstrate the significant impact our members are making on people’s lives and their communities.”