ULI Climate Change Statement and Principles


ULI Climate Change Statement:

As presented to the ULI Trustees in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 27, 2008 by Kenneth Hubbard and Jonathan Rose on behalf of the ULI Task Force on Climate Change appointed and convened by ULI Chairman Todd Mansfield.

ULI will bring its organizational resources to the complex issues surrounding energy and climate change, acknowledging that the successful global reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions requires substantial investments in local communities. We believe ULI has the ability to foster new policies and solutions to address global climate change that are both feasible and effective at the nexus of land use, real estate, energy, and infrastructure. As an organization, we seek to move forward with new urgency by fostering leadership among ULI members and identifying the tools, techniques, and best practices needed to address difficult choices and tradeoffs, for which there are no precedents to measure decisions. We seek to empower individuals and organizations to solve one of the most important and complex long-term challenges ever faced by communities around the world, in a manner that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

ULI recognizes that effective strategies to combat global climate change will require cooperative effort by all segments of the economy and all segments of society around the globe. Given the multifaceted challenge and the many exemplary efforts by organizations around the world to meet this challenge, ULI does not seek to duplicate the effective efforts of others, such as those focused on transportation technologies or building technologies. By focusing on issues at the core of the ULI missionóthe responsible use of landóULI seeks to make an important contribution within the emerging chorus of collaboration and partnership.

Guiding Principles:

  • Foster a global response at the local level.  While climate change challenges are global in scope, impacts and actions vary from region to region. Individual communities must rise to the challenge of climate change mitigation and adaptation with transformational solutions. The achievement of low-carbon economies relies on individual actions within local communities worldwide.
  • Reduce GHG emissions. GHG emissions must be reduced in an absolute and verifiable manner with strategies that embrace both supply-side and demand-side market transformation. Strategic investments in existing real estate and sound design of new buildings and neighborhoods can produce direct and indirect reductions of GHG emissions across building and transportation sectors. Policy frameworks must value the interdisciplinary nature of real estate investments accordingly.
  • Conserve natural resources by using land wisely.  Land use should minimize community vulnerability to natural disaster, foster the conservation of water and energy, and conserve or restore land with respect to its value to sustain regional biodiversity. Community land use patterns should be compact, mixed-use, and organized with ìinfillî locations prioritized to minimize waste and pollution. New land use patterns should allow communities to thrive without sacrificing the integrity, quality, or capacity of their natural resource systems.
  • Realize strategic regional coordination. Sustainable, resilient communities are achieved through mutually reinforcing investments throughout a region. Transportation, energy, water, industry, commerce, housing, and agriculture must be coordinated as components of an effective regional land use vision. Success relies upon aligning multiple government jurisdictions and stakeholders in the effort to effectuate desired outcomes.
  • Create compact, mixed-use, mixed-income livable communities. Employment is the cornerstone of community vitality, and housing choice is necessary to sustain a workforce. Concentrations of employment and services must be integrated with housing and public transit to form a land use framework that maximizes livability and efficiency. Housing supply must include diverse types and location choices that meet a growing diversity of demand. Housing choice mitigates the forces of land use sprawl, lowers total household costs, and reduces GHG emissions by reducing or eliminating daily vehicle miles traveled (VMT).
  • Promote accessibility and choices in mobility. Location-based accessible land use accelerates innovations in transportation network efficiency and reduces overall VMT. Promoting walking, public transit, and other low-emission modes of transportation allows communities and regions to make moving peopleórather than carsóa priority. Reduction of total VMT is a cornerstone strategy for the absolute reduction of global GHG emissions and will result in multiple community co-benefits, including public health, individual health, and quality of life.
  • Track progress and relentlessly explore feasibility. This includes defining metrics of sustainability and resilience for communities and stakeholders, measuring ongoing performance, and transparently communicating real progress to all stakeholders. Furthermore, innovative market transformation solutions rely on exploring feasible and effective opportunities that align with fiduciary responsibly and allow for reasonable returns on investment. Triple-bottom-line community sustainability grows from a culture of sound business practices, equitable fiscal management, and ongoing accountability.
  • Cultivate leadership, invention, and entrepreneurship. Growth is inevitable; sustainable growth is a communityís choice. Communities can grow into a sustainable future through partnerships that transform markets and achieve the economies of scale necessary to mitigate GHG emissionsí impacts. Sustained innovation is achieved through deliberate decisions made iteratively at every stage of projects and endeavors.