Building Healthy Places Conference Gathers Real Estate Leaders

Panelists (left to right) Anne Warhover, Paul Scialla, Doctor Richard Jackson and moderator Lynn Thurber, discuss Health and Development, during the general session at the Building Healthy Places Initiative in Los Angeles on Thursday, February 20, 2014.

Panelists (left to right) Anne Warhover, Paul Scialla, Doctor Richard Jackson and moderator Lynn Thurber, discuss Health and Development, during the general session at the Building Healthy Places Initiative in Los Angeles on Thursday, February 20, 2014.

Yesterday in Los Angeles, leaders from a cross-section of real estate fields gathered for ULI’s Building Healthy Places: Unlocking the Value conference. The first of its kind for ULI, the event is part of a series of activities being undertaken by ULI as part of the Building Healthy Places Initiative, launched in July.

Co-chaired by the Colorado Health Foundation President Anne Warhover and past ULI chairman Peter Rummell, the conference explored the connections between health and the built environment, and opportunities to use real estate investments to help improve the health of people and create more valuable, thriving communities.

Nearly 300 people are attending the conference, which concludes today at noon. Speakers painted a picture of troubling health trends– including rising rates of obesity and diabetes– problems linked directly or indirectly to the built environment and to land use decisions. “These are things that ULI’s members can help change,” said ULI’s chair Lynn Thurber, who discussed the strong and growing demand for buildings and projects that contribute to healthy outcomes for people.

“The more I’ve gotten involved in this, the more convinced I am that it will reshape development around the world,” said Peter Rummell. “I’m excited by the potential of building healthy places as a way of doing well by doing good. In my view, healthy amenities will do for community building in the 21st century what golf courses did in the 20th century.”

“The Colorado Health Foundation couldn’t be more pleased to be partnering with ULI on this Initiative,” said Anne Warhover. Noting that improving health care can only go so far, Anne challenged the attendees to figure out how health can be at the center of real estate development. “Philanthropy alone won’t be able to sustain the movement toward healthier places,” she said.

Sessions at the conference discussed multi-generational communities, health and design, partnerships for healthy places, and other topics. Additional conference write ups will be posted soon.

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