Building Healthy Places Initiative

Building Healthy Places Initiative

Leveraging the power of ULI's global networks to shape projects and places in ways that improve the health of people and communities.

Around the world, communities face pressing health challenges related to the built environment. For many years, ULI and its members have been active players in discussions and projects that make the link between human health and development; we know that health is a core component of thriving communities.

The ULI Building Healthy Places Initiative is building on that work with a multifaceted program—including research and publications, convenings, and advisory activities—to leverage the power of the Institute’s global networks to shape projects and places in ways that improve the health of people and communities.

Through the Building Healthy Places Initiative, which launched in July 2013, ULI is working to promote health across the globe.





Food and Real Estate Forums

A focus on food is providing a rich arena for innovation that can improve outcomes for people, the earth, and real estate returns. To explore this potential, ULI has created Food and Real Estate Forums to explore challenges, trends, and opportunities around food.

Join us Feb. 22 and 23, 2016, in New Orleans, Louisiana, for a program focused on food access, food as a revitalization strategy, and food as an economic ladder. On May 4 and 5, a forum in Tarrytown, New York, will focus on farming and food production, resilience, and sustainability.

Learn more about the New Orleans forum and New York forum. The New Orleans forum is currently sold out. If you are interested in attending, please email to be added to the wait list.

Recent Reports

America in 2015 CoverAmerica in 2015, the second edition of ULI’s community survey, gauges Americans’ opinions and realities regarding housing, transportation, and community. The report, which was released at ULI’s Spring Meeting last week and produced in conjunction with ULI’s Terwilliger Center for Housing, uncovers important community design–related barriers to living a healthy life.




Building Healthy Places Toolkit cover

ULI’s Building Healthy Places Toolkit: Strategies for Enhancing Health in the Built Environment outlines 21 evidence-supported recommendations for enhancing health outcomes in real estate developments across three categories: physical activity, healthy food and drinking water, and healthy environments and social well-being. The Center for Active Design served as a contributing author and expert content partner.



Retail-in-Underserved-Communities_coverRetail in Underserved Communities—co-authored by ULI Senior Resident Fellow Maureen McAvey and Bridget Lane, director of Business Districts Inc. in Evanston, Illinois—explores factors that hamper retail development in some lower-income communities and offers solutions to overcome the dearth of shopping options for neighborhood residents.




What We Are Doing


Through the Building Healthy Places Initiative, ULI will focus on four main areas of impact:

Raising Awareness. Raise awareness of the connections between health and the built environment in the real estate community, and work to make sure health is a mainstream consideration.

Defining the Approach. Help to define and share information about the design elements, programming strategies, materials, and other approaches that improve health for people.

Exploring the Value Proposition. Build understanding of the market and nonmarket factors at play in building healthy places, and the value proposition of building and operating in health-promoting ways.

Advancing the State of Practice and Policy. Using the ULI membership as a lever, and in partnership with others, advance the state of policy and practice. Incorporate considerations about transportation, connectivity, and access, and encourage shifts in built-environment shaping policies.

News From the Building Healthy Places Initiative

Building Healthy Places Interest Forum at the Spring Meeting in Philadelphia


The second Building Healthy Places Interest Forum will be held in October in conjunction with Fall Meeting in…

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News from the ULI Building Healthy Places Initiative: December 16, 2015


News from the ULI Building Healthy Places Initiative: December 16, 2015.

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Member Spotlight with Bert Gregory: A Focus on Health is Transforming the Design Industry

Bert Gregory headshot

Bert Gregory of Mithun is profiled for the Building Healthy Places Initiative member spotlight, which highlights the work…

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ULI Housing Leaders Join Partnership for a Healthier America, a Coalition of Industries Fighting Obesity

Vitus Group recently completed a major renovation to Meadowbrook Apartments, which provides 440 units of affordable housing to families in San Diego. The renovations including new playgrounds, landscaping, and a community garden for the complex's 1,200 residents.

The Partnership for a Healthier America is keen to recruit to its network developers of affordable and mixed-income…

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Colorado in 2015

Colorado in 2015

Colorado in 2015 analyzes the housing, transportation, and community preferences of residents in the state.

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News from the ULI Building Healthy Places Initiative: November 18, 2015


News from the ULI Building Healthy Places Initiative: November 18, 2015.

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What Is a Healthy Place?

Healthy Places are designed, built, and programmed to support the physical, mental, and social well-being of the people who live, work, learn, and visit there.

  • Healthy Places offer healthy and affordable housing options, and a variety of safe, comfortable, and convenient transportation choices
  • Healthy Places provide access to healthy foods, the natural environment, and other amenities that allow people to reach their full potential.
  • Healthy Places are designed thoughtfully, with an eye to making the healthy choice the easy choice, and are built using health-promoting materials.
  • Healthy Places address unique community issues with innovative and sustainable solutions.

Learn about Healthy Places

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