Concurrent Sessions at the Building Healthy Places: Unlocking the Value Conference

Left to right: Moderator Michael Horst and discussion leaders Clare De Briere, Tony Green, Mary Borgia, and Sandra Kulli participate in the "Soft Infrastructure, Creating Healthy Programs" concurrent session.

Left to right: Moderator Michael Horst and discussion leaders Clare De Briere, Tony Green, Mary Borgia, and Sandra Kulli participate in the "Soft Infrastructure, Creating Healthy Programs" concurrent session.

Below are some highlights from the concurrent sessions at the Building Healthy Places conference. What were the highlights for you? Let us know in the comments!

Click here to review more conference-related information.






“Soft” Infrastructure: Creating Healthy Programs

  • Thursday 10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. [no presentation used]

Moderated by Michael Horst, senior vice president at ULI, and Toni Alexander, president and creative director at InterCommunications, Inc., this lively and interactive panel explored various scales of healthy programming ideas, from the building to the city level. Framed around the idea of creating community, the panelists discussed their early experiences with formal and informal programming, some of the best examples of programming that they have encountered—including a partnership between a charter school and a local clinic to educate school children on healthy eating and to develop a school meal program—and lessons learned, such as the importance of understanding the audience before planning events.

Panelists included:

  • Mary Borgia, president of the Borgia Company;
  • Suzanne Cameron, principal of Suzanne Cameron LLC;
  • Clare De Briere, executive vice president and COO at the Ratkovich Company;
  • Amaya Genaro, director of community services at Rancho Mission Viejo;
  • Tony Green, managing partner at the Pinehills; and
  • Sandra Kulli, president of Kulli Marketing.


Panelists converse during the Soft Infrastructure concurrent session.

Panelists converse during the Soft Infrastructure concurrent session.

Partnerships for Healthy Places

This session explored ways that private developers are working with public and institutional partners in an effort to create and develop healthy places and communities. Moderated by Brad Segal, president of Progressive Urban Management Associates, the session focused on public private partnerships and lessons learned.

  • Tyler Norris, vice president for Total Health Partnerships at Kaiser Permanente, described how Kaiser is thinking about links between the built environment and health, and the role that the health provider might play in improving the places where people live, work and play.
  • Tamara Zahn, president for Zahn Associates, described some of the economic impacts and benefits of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.


Life-Cycle Communities: How to Keep Children, the Workforce, and Older Americans at Home in the City

Moderated by Jeremy Newman Sharpe, vice president of community development at Rancho Sahuarita, this session explored how the country’s shifting demographics are influencing the development of cities and communities that emphasize active living, family-friendliness, and aging-in-place.

  • Bob Prath, executive council member at AARP California, talked about how intergenerational programming plays a role in addressing social change in a community and building a healthy place.
  • Dorian Block, project manager of Age-friendly NYC at the New York Academy of Medicine, discussed the impact the project has had on creating safer, healthier, and accessible places in New York City.
  • Billy Pettit, senior vice president of Pillar Properties, highlighted Merrill Gardens, a senior housing community near downtown Seattle that embodies principles of active living and community programming.


Moderator Jeremy Newman Sharpe, and discussion leaders Dorian Block, William D. Pettit III, and Bob Prath during the Concurrent Session "Life-Cycle Communities, How to Keep Children, the Workforce and Older Americans at Home in the City"

Left to right: Moderator Jeremy Newman Sharpe, and discussion leaders Dorian Block, William D. Pettit III, and Bob Prath.

Attendees listen to panelists during a concurrent session.

Attendees listen to panelists during a concurrent session.










Healthy Buildings: Designing with Value in Mind

Moderated by Susan Powers, president of Urban Ventures LLC, this session featured panelists who presented projects that  incorporate health components within the design and programming and discussed the key features of the development process and market response.

  • Erin Christensen Ishizaki, associate principle at Mithun, discussed why the firm is interested in creating healthy places and gave examples of projects in Seattle, San Francisco, and Denver that took health into consideration.
  • Kimball Crangle, senior developer at the Denver Housing Authority, talked about the transformation of Mariposa from an unlivable and distressed community to one that emphasizes health, and the use of Health Impact Assessment to guide the planning and redevelopment.
  • Jeremy Hudson, partner and CEO of Specialized Real Estate Group, shared his experiences with childhood asthma and allergies, his learning of the asthma triggers of poor indoor air quality, and how he brought this perspective to the health-promoting redevelopment of an apartment complex in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Read the Urban Land article
on this session here.


The Equity Equation: Investing in Health to Serve the Bottom Line and the Greater Good

Moderated by Angela Glover Blackwell, founder and CEO of PolicyLink, this session examined the link between health and community development, and why it is critical to consciously understand how place impacts health and well-being.

  • Elizabeth Schilling, senior policy manager at Smart Growth America, explored the concept of “healthfields,” vacant land or brownfields that are developed into any type of space that promotes community health.
  • Colleen Carey, president of the Cornerstone Group, laid out elements of a healthy place—including great design, a commitment to equity, and a comprehensive approach to community building—and also discussed obstacles to building more healthy places, including a lack of new models.
  • Wendy Rowden, managing director of Jonathan Rose Companies, talked about three housing projects built by the firm that promote economic and racial diversity—Via Verde in South Bronx, New York, Paseo Verde in Philadelphia, and a senior housing complex in Westport, Connecticut.

Attendees listen during a concurrent session.

Cities on the Move: Innovations in Active Transportation

Panelists for this session—moderated by Rachel MacCleery, senior vice president at ULI—explored strategies for active transportation and active design at a variety of scales.

  • Jim Sallis, director of Active Living Research, discussed the role that transportation policy plays in creating barriers to physical activity and active transportation and noted that the built environment can be adapted and enhanced to better promote biking and walking.
  • Joanna Frank, executive director of the Center for Active Design, shared strategies that New York City has used to improve streets and become more pedestrian and bicycle friendly, including streetscape improvements, bike storage, and programming.
  • Denny Zane, executive director of Move LA, described the Third Street Promenade as a revitalizer of the city of Santa Monica and discussed how ballot measures such as Measure R can be leveraged to create transit priority zones.


Food for Thought: New Retail Markets

  • Friday 9:15 – 10:30 a.m. [no presentation used]

This session, moderated by Ed McMahon, senior resident fellow at ULI, was a highly interactive discussion of the role of what changing demographics and a desire for dense and walkable communities means for retail.

  • Kathy Lin, managing partner at KHL Retail, highlighted a new retail component of a major hospital in downtown Chicago that was developed with the hospital’s wellness initiative in mind and helps give patients and visitors a better experience.
  • Jeff Kreshek, vice president of West Coast Leasing Federal Realty, talked about integrating wellness uses into more traditional shopping centers, noting that urgent care, chiropractic, and massage facilities can work well in these developments. Jeff also noted that all retail concepts will have to evolve due to the fact that the population is evolving, and that a lot of retailers are already changing their marketing schemes to sell a lifestyle rather than an age group.




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