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WASHINGTON (December 12, 2011) — The Urban Land Institute (ULI), a global research and education organization dedicated to responsible land use, is celebrating 75 years of leadership in community building this week with a series of events in communities throughout the United States and abroad that highlight the institute’s legacy of shaping and enhancing the built environment.
Established in Chicago on December 14, 1936, ULI was created to research, analyze, and encourage responsible patterns for long-term urban growth, and to conduct inquiries into what constitutes sound real estate development projects and practices. Starting with about 200 developers based in the U.S., the institute’s membership grew incrementally, and ULI now has nearly 30,000 members worldwide, with 51 district councils in the U.S., 16 national councils in Europe and Asia, and primary offices in Washington, D.C., London and Hong Kong.
ULI’s district councils in the U.S. have secured more than 30 proclamations from mayors and city council members from Atlanta to Seattle recognizing the institute’s work in fostering the creation of vibrant living and working environments, and proclaiming December 14 as “ULI Day.” The recognition activities began with an advance event December 9 with a proclamation ceremony involving Jacksonville, Fla., Mayor Alvin Brown; ULI Chairman Peter Rummell, principal of the Rummell Company in Jacksonville, Fla., and ULI North Florida Chairman Bruce Johnson, executive vice president and chief financial officer of the Regency Centers in Jacksonville.
“While the land use industry has changed dramatically over the past 75 years, ULI’s commitment to creating thriving, sustainable communities remains constant,” Rummell said. “At this milestone in ULI’s history, the organization’s legacy of leadership in the responsible use of land continues to be shaped by visionaries as dedicated and committed as ULI’s founding members.”
As part of the events set for the celebratory week, ULI Chief Executive Officer Patrick L. Phillips will be participating in ULI Day proclamation ceremonies with Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray on December 13 and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter on December 14. Also on December 14, a discussion about ULI’s progress will be led by past ULI Chairman Jeremy Newsum during a gathering of ULI members in Hong Kong, and a ULI Day proclamation from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be shared during a ULI New York program.
“Certainly, we have much to celebrate as ULI turns 75,” Phillips said. “We can take pride in the fact that our goal of excellent community design and building can be traced back to the organization’s earliest years. Going forward, we will build on the organization’s considerable accomplishments with a strong commitment to create communities worldwide that meet the needs and expectations of future generations for livability, amenities, flexibility, mobility and choice.”
Since ULI was established, its program of work has focused on improving the quality of life for residents of urban areas, focusing on best practices in land use that demonstrate a commitment to design and development excellence and longevity. The institute’s many influential activities, products and services include its widely acclaimed advisory services panel program, through which ULI 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. Established in 1947, this program has completed over 600 panels, in 47 states, 12 countries, and 4 continents.
From its first publication, printed in 1940, Decentralization – What Is It Doing to Our Cities?, to its October 2011 publication, What’s Next? Real Estate in the New Economy, the organization has continued to explore a variety of issues affecting the ability of cities to attract investment and development, and serve as lively places in which to live, work, learn and play.
Serving private investors, lenders, developers, owners, service providers and public sector officials, ULI still serves its original purpose as “the one place” for all market participants to engage in candid conversations, debates and analyses of market trends, best practices and future challenges facing urban markets.
The celebratory week of “ULI Day” proclamations kicks off a year-long series of 75th anniversary activities, including a competitive “urban innovation grant” program for ULI’s district councils in the U.S. and national councils abroad. In October, ULI awarded $500,000 in urban innovation grants to 30 winners for projects that recognize or launch innovative public-private partnerships to advance the responsible use of land in building healthy, thriving communities worldwide over the next 75 years. The $500,000 sum, provided by the ULI Foundation, is the largest amount ever contributed by the Foundation to support a single funding round.
The 30 grants, ranging in size from $5,000 to $25,000, were awarded to 23 winners in the United States, two in Canada, three in Europe and two in Asia. A second round of grants will be awarded at the 2012 ULI Fall Meeting in Denver, the conclusion of the institute’s year-long anniversary celebration.
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 sustaining and creating thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has nearly 30,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.