ULI to Advise Cities of Portland and South Portland on Developing Strategies for Resilient Waterfront

World famous Portland Headlight.  Photo: Wikipedia Commons

World famous Portland Headlight. Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Nationally Renowned Panel of Land Use and Urban Planning Experts to Visit Area May 12-16

For more information, contact: Trisha Riggs at 202-624-7086

WASHINGTON (May 8, 2014) – A group of nationally renowned land use and urban planning experts has been convened by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) to make recommendations to the cities of Portland and South Portland on developing strategies for a resilient waterfront.

Conducted through ULI’s advisory services program, the panel, which will be visiting the cities May 11-16, will be evaluating many aspects of waterfront resilience, including the impact of sea level rise and storm surge on real estate values and infrastructure systems.

Now in its 67th year, the ULI advisory services panel program assembles experts in the fields of real estate and land use planning to participate on panels worldwide, offering recommendations for complex planning and development projects, programs and policies. Panels have developed more than 600 studies for a broad range of land uses, ranging from waterfront properties to inner-city retail.

The ULI panel assignment for Portland and South Portland is the first in a series of advisory panels being supported by an $800,000 grant from The Kresge Foundation to advance the institute’s pursuit of urban design and development practices that are more resilient and adaptable to the impact of climate change.

Through the grant from The Kresge Foundation, ULI is leveraging the substantial expertise of its members to provide guidance on community building in a way that responds to inevitable climate change and sea level rise, and helps preserve the environment, boost economic prosperity, and foster a high quality of life.

The communities chosen for advisory panel assistance through ULI’s community resilience work are being selected on the basis of 1) the community’s long-range resilience challenges and vulnerabilities to weather and sea-level changes, and 2) the opportunity for the results to be applied to other communities with similar vulnerabilities.

The panel assisting Portland and South Portland is being chaired by longtime ULI leader James M. DeFrancia, who has led numerous ULI advisory panels and is a ULI Foundation Governor. “ULI looks forward to bringing the expertise of its members to Portland and South Portland,” said DeFrancia, a Principal of Lowe Enterprises, Inc. in Aspen. Colo. “We are aiming to draw from our experience in the Portland area to demonstrate how communities can be built to be more resilient, and improve their economic, environmental and social well-being in the process.”

According to Thomas Eitler, vice president of the advisory services program, the strength of the program lies in ULI’s unique ability to draw on the knowledge and experience of its nearly 30,000 members, including land developers, engineers, public officials, academics, lenders, architects, planners and urban designers. “The independent views of the panelists bring a fresh perspective to the land use challenge,” Eitler said. “The advisory services program is about offering creative, innovative approaches to community building.”

ULI has a long history of advising communities on developing and redeveloping in ways that are environmentally conscious, economically sound, and which provide community-wide benefits. As recently as July 2013, ULI convened a panel of the nation’s foremost authorities on real estate and urban planning to evaluate local and federal plans for strengthening resilience in the Northeast communities affected by Hurricane Sandy, and to offer guidance on rebuilding efforts in those areas.

Candid insights and observations from these experts formed the basis for After Sandy: Advancing Strategies for Long-Term Resilience and Adaptability, a set of 23 recommendations focused on four areas — land use and development; infrastructure, technology and capacity; finance, investment and insurance; and leadership and governance.

NOTE TO REPORTERS AND EDITORS: The ULI panel’s recommendations will be presented at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, May 16th, at the Jewett Auditorium on the campus of Southern Maine Community College. The event is open to the public.

About the Urban Land Institute                                                                                                                                          
The Urban Land Institute (www.uli.org) is a 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 more than 32,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.