Grassroots Collaboration for Sustainable Communities: The Urban Land Institute Announces Three Winners in the Semi-Annual Awards for Community Action Grants

For more information, contact:
Trisha Riggs at 202-624-7086 or Email: priggs@uli.org
Robert Krueger at 202-624-7051 or Email: robert.krueger@uli.org

WASHINGTON (October 14, 2010) – Three grants have been awarded in the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) semi-annual funding of its Community Action Grants program. Through the program, the ULI Foundation Fund raises money to be distributed as grants to district councils or ULI members on behalf of nonprofit organizations for entrepreneurial programs that aim to improve urban growth in their communities.

Grants are awarded for creative, innovative community outreach or education programs. Since the program’s creation six years ago, the ULI Foundation has awarded 65 community action grants totaling $1.43 million to district councils in the United States and beyond. ULI awards grants twice a year and announces each at its annual ULI Fall Meeting and Spring Council Forum.

“While all ULI Foundation work is centered upon research, education, and public service programs, the Community Action Grant program was specifically created to encourage creativity of entrepreneurial projects at the regional and local level,” said program review committee chair Stephen P. Navarro, president, Furman Co., Inc. in Greenville, South Carolina. “The awards winners have the potential to build community consensus for action and change. By encouraging new ideas and supporting the most entrepreneurial projects, all communities can benefit because these projects can be replicated in other communities.”

Grants totaling $70,000 were awarded to these three district councils; winners were announced this week during the ULI Fall Meeting in Washington, DC.

  • ULI Arizona Livable Phoenix Initiative (ULI Arizona): In 2010, ULI Arizona, Arizona State University (ASU), the Phoenix Community Alliance, and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Phoenix formed the Livable Phoenix alliance to ensure that the public, private, and nonprofit sectors coordinate their investments to promote healthy, thriving communities along the new Metro light rail system. The alliance was formed in response to the needs identified this past year by Mayor Phil Gordon and his team of fellows working with the ULI Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership in Land Use. The mayor’s team of fellows, working with the Rose Center, determined that more site-specific analysis, economic development analysis, and policy implementation is needed in order to offer the best use and value for the public’s investment in the light-rail line. With the support of the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, the Livable Phoenix initiative will create a corridor plan and five district plans for light rail in Phoenix to encourage transit-oriented development. The Community Action Grant will fund five one-day Technical Assistance Panels (TAPs) and ongoing ULI Arizona support of outreach, education, and implementation programs for the alliance. The resulting information will allow Livable Phoenix to coordinate with stakeholders and partners to synchronize policies and build capacity for implementation.
  • The City in 2050: Creating Blueprints for Change in Columbus (ULI Columbus): ULI Columbus, in partnership with the city of Columbus, Franklin County, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, and the Ohio State University (OSU) Knowlton School of Architecture, is engaging in a regional visioning initiative, “The City in 2050: Creating Blueprints for Change in Columbus,” with eight themes to explore strategic urban development issues in the central Ohio region. The Community Action Grant will fund research provided by senior-level students and faculty of the OSU Department of City and Regional Planning. The students and faculty will be using the ongoing strategic planning work of Columbus, Franklin County, and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission for the 12-county central Ohio region. In January 2011, ULI Columbus will hold a kickoff program to launch the initiative. Following this program, faculty from the OSU Knowlton School of Architecture will help facilitate a World Café discussion, which will bring together 50 of the region’s leaders from both the public and private sectors for a daylong workshop to focus on questions about the future of cities and the changes needed to meet the future demands in the region. The results of this workshop and the work of the OSU students will be used to frame a series of eight public meetings beginning in March 2011 on each of “The City in 2050” themes. The information from the World Café discussion and the eight public meetings will be compiled into a publication titled The City in 2050: Creating Blueprints for Change in Columbus.
  • Regional Growth Tool Kit (ULI South Carolina): In a collaborative effort with key partners, ULI South Carolina will create a Regional Growth Tool Kit to evaluate planned land use, housing, and infrastructure initiatives. This initiative is a next-step implementation activity that will further the work done at the 2007 Berkeley/Charleston/Dorchester Reality Check and the ULI South Carolina Sustainable Leadership Institute, and will recommend plans, policies, and implementation strategies to meet planning goals. The tools will foster cooperation and collaboration across all sectors to inform policy, promote best practices, and support better-informed infrastructure decision making. Ultimately, the initiative will establish measurable goals and benchmarks against which land use decisions are evaluated for a consistent regional planning approach. The Regional Growth Tool Kit will become a model that can be replicated by other regions in South Carolina, ULI district councils, and smart growth alliances across the country, and the tools will become a resource and assist in funding requests for planning and infrastructure through future sustainable communities grant offerings.

In a collaborative effort with key partners, ULI South Carolina will create a Regional Growth Tool Kit to evaluate planned land use, housing, and infrastructure initiatives. This initiative is a next-step implementation activity that will further the work done at the 2007 Berkeley/Charleston/Dorchester Reality Check and the ULI South Carolina Sustainable Leadership Institute, and will recommend plans, policies, and implementation strategies to meet planning goals. The tools will foster cooperation and collaboration across all sectors to inform policy, promote best practices, and support better-informed infrastructure decision making. Ultimately, the initiative will establish measurable goals and benchmarks against which land use decisions are evaluated for a consistent regional planning approach. The Regional Growth Tool Kit will become a model that can be replicated by other regions in South Carolina, ULI district councils, and smart growth alliances across the country, and the tools will become a resource and assist in funding requests for planning and infrastructure through future sustainable communities grant offerings.

The three winners were selected by a review committee of renowned land use development and planning experts. In addition to review chairman Stephen P. Navarro, other members were William A. Gilchrist, director of place-based planning, Mayor’s Office of Facilities, Infrastructure, and Community Planning, City of New Orleans; S. Gail Goldberg, former planning director, City of Los Angeles Planning Department; John H. Mays, managing partner, Gould & Ratner, Chicago; and Gregory J. Vogel, chief executive officer, Land Advisors Organization in Scottsdale, Arizona.

In selecting the winners, the jury sought projects that reflected innovative, new ideas; measurable outcomes; a prominent role for ULI in the project; models that could be applied to other places; and projects that focused on ULI’s three core areas: sustainability, infrastructure and workforce/affordable housing.

About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute (uli.org) is a global nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has nearly 30,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.