Rose Center Partners with Anchorage to Enhance Neighborhood Resiliency

Photo courtesy of globalchange.gov

Photo courtesy of globalchange.gov

ANCHORAGE (April 4, 2017) – The Rose Center for Public Leadership, jointly operated by the National League of Cities (NLC) and the Urban Land Institute (ULI), is working this week with Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz to advise the city on developing tailored resiliency plans for Anchorage neighborhoods and their unique needs. These plans will help the administration execute on the priorities of innovation, resiliency, sustainability, and equity on a neighborhood scale.

“We are honored that the Rose Center selected Anchorage as part of their yearlong Fellowship program.  We are excited to work with leading experts in the field to harness our potential and build neighborhood resiliency,” stated Mayor Ethan Berkowitz.

With Anchorage facing environmental, economic, and cultural changes, the Berkowitz administration identified two study areas to pilot neighborhood resilience projects as part of the Rose Fellowship program. Mountain View—the most ethnically diverse zip code in the nation, but with almost 30% of households living below the poverty line—features a 2-acre site next to an existing community health center; and Muldoon—a redeveloping neighborhood with a relatively high unemployment rate of 9%— features multiple development parcels at the intersection of two key, high-volume transportation corridors.

Anchorage is asking the Rose Center to help identify land use, design policies, and finance opportunities that will promote the economic, environmental, and cultural resiliency of these neighborhoods. Each site offers to an opportunity to enhance workforce development, education, transportation services, improve housing, create community gathering spaces and local agricultural opportunities designed to suit each neighborhood’s needs.

“Mayor Berkowitz and the City are taking a very comprehensive approach to building resilience in neighborhoods,” said Jess Zimbabwe, Director of the Rose Center. “We hope that the perspective, expertise, and ideas that the Rose Center panel brings will help them advance this work not only in Mountain View and Muldoon, but also as a city-wide strategy and approach.”

The Rose Center’s mission is to encourage and support excellence in land use decision-making by providing public officials with access to information, best practices, peer networks, and other resources to foster creative, efficient, practical, and sustainable land use policies. Each year, the center’s Daniel Rose Fellowship program invites the mayors of four large U.S. cities to select a team with land use decision-making authority to receive technical assistance on a local land use challenge. This year’s fellowship class is from the cities of Anchorage, Alaska; Grand Rapids, Mich.; San José, Calif. and Washington, D.C.

“Local leadership is key to achieving neighborhood resiliency that has a lasting impact,” said Clarence E. Anthony, CEO and executive director of National League of Cities (NLC). “We look forward to working with Mayor Berkowitz through the Rose Center to help Anchorage meet its goals and adapt to the rapidly changing cultural and physical environment.”

“The Rose Center has an excellent track record of helping cities reinvent themselves to be more vibrant, livable and successful,” said Urban Land Institute Global Chief Executive Officer Patrick L. Phillips. “We look forward to the Center’s recommendations on how the City of Anchorage can work with the private sector and other stakeholders to help revive these areas through greater employment and housing opportunities that benefit neighborhood residents and lift up the entire community.”

Mayor Berkowitz’s team includes Rose Fellows Mara Kimmel, Resiliency Team Lead in the Mayor’s Office; Office of Community and Economic Development Director Christopher Schutte; and Planning Department Director Hal Hart; who are assisted by project manager Katie Dougherty of the Office of Community and Economic Development. The Municipality of Anchorage Rose Fellows will be joined by a panel of visiting experts assigned assembled by the Rose Center.

The panel will be co-chaired by the Anchorage Rose Fellowship team’s faculty advisers: developer Carlton Brown with Direct Invest Development, LLC in New York City; and architect Frank Fuller with Urban Field Studio in San Francisco. The panel will include Rose Fellows from the other three cities in this year’s class: Polly Donaldson, Director of the District of Columbia Department of Housing and Community Development; Rosalynn Hughey, Assistant Director of the City of San José Department of Planning, Building & Code Enforcement; and Kristopher Larson, President & CEO of Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. Rounding out the panel are Harvard Loeb Fellow Karen Abrams, on leave from the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh where she serves as manager of diversity and community affairs; Katharine Burgess, director of Urban Resilience at the Urban Land Institute in Washington, D.C.; Shafaq Choudry, senior associate for the Leadership in Community Resilience program at the National League of Cities’ Sustainable Cities Institute in Washington, D.C.; Bay Area multi-family housing developer Rick Dishnica; real estate economist Nadine Fogarty, a vice president with Strategic Economics in Berkeley, Calif.; architect Robert Iopa, president of Honolulu-based WCIT Architecture; resiliency expert David Kooris, a consultant with Stamford, Conn.-based Vita Nuova and the former director of planning, economic development and redevelopment for the City of Bridgeport; and architect Paul Okamoto with San Francisco-based Okamoto Saijo Architecture.

Mayor Berkowitz and his team will brief the panel, who will then tour the neighborhoods and meet with community, business and civic leaders and neighborhood stakeholders. Drawing upon their professional expertise and experience, the panelists will apply the information gathered during the study visit and present recommendations for how the city, its partners and stakeholders can achieve their goals. All of Anchorage’s expenses to participate in the program—including the panel’s visit—are underwritten by the Rose Center to ensure objectivity during the process.

The Daniel Rose Fellowship is the flagship program of the Rose Center, established in 2008 by the ULI Foundation Governor Daniel Rose. The purpose of the program is to provide city leaders with the insights, peer-to-peer learning, and analysis needed to successfully improve their cities. The fellowship’s program of work includes a study tour of another U.S. or foreign city, working retreats at NLC’s and ULI’s national conferences, and study visits to each of the four fellowship cities. The cities of Austin, Texas; Birmingham, Ala.; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Denver; Detroit; Hartford, Conn.; Honolulu; Houston; Indianapolis; Kansas City, Mo.; Long Beach, Calif.; Louisville, Ky.; Memphis, Tenn.; Minneapolis; Nashville, Tenn.; Oakland, Calif.; Omaha, Neb.; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Pittsburgh; Portland, Ore.; Providence, R.I.; Rochester, N.Y.; Sacramento, Calif.; Seattle; Tacoma, Wash. and Tampa, Fla. have participated in the previous seven years of the program.

NOTE TO EDITORS AND REPORTERS: Representatives of the Rose Center will be making a public presentation with preliminary findings and recommendations from 9-11 a.m. AKDT on Friday, April 7 at Anchorage City Hall, 632 W 6th Ave., in the Mayor’s Conference Room, Suite 830.

About the National League of Cities
The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.

About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute 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 40,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines. For more information, please visit uli.org or follow us on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, and Instagram.