Many communities are working hard to craft a healthier, more connected future. But too often, underperforming commercial corridors stand in the way. These places, with auto-oriented infrastructure, fast moving traffic, few street trees or pedestrian amenities, spread out land use patterns, and other challenges, may yet represent the last great smart growth and infill opportunity.
With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Colorado Health Foundation, ULI’s Healthy Corridors project aims to re-envision urban and suburban arterials as healthy places: with more housing, better transportation options, appealing land use patterns, enhanced walkability, and reinvigorated retail centers.
A concurrent session at ULI’s Fall Meeting on San Francisco featured key participants and takeaways from ULI’s ongoing focus on corridors. Presentations by Melani Smith of Melendrez, Ben Quintana with the City of Boise, Dave Thorpe of Shaw Construction, and John Vick with the Nashville Public Health Department focused on the opportunities and challenges surrounding the Healthy Corridors project’s four Demonstration Corridors, in Los Angeles, Boise, Denver, and Nashville.
Sharon Roerty from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation discussed the impact that infrastructure and planning has on the health of individuals and communities, challenging the audience to engage in making all corridors healthier corridors. Stated Roerty, “building infrastructure right can not only save your life, but extend life. And make it better for you, your family, and entire communities.” Finally, Joaquín Torres, with the City and County of San Francisco, presented the local context. He focused on Mayor Ed Lee’s Invest in Neighborhoods Initiative, which works to creating healthier commercial districts across the city.
Following the concurrent session, ULI District and National Council staff toured Market Street with staff members from the San Francisco Planning and Public Works departments to learn about recent improvements for health—such as public art, bike lanes, and new cafes that energize the sidewalk—as well as remaining challenges.
View entire concurrent session here.
View Nashville Charlotte Avenue corridor video here.
View Healthy Corridors project video here.
View video of ULI general session, featuring RWJF president Risa Lavizzo-Mourey here.
View presentations from the session here.
Melani V. Smith, principal, Melendrez
Ben Quintana, council member, City of Boise
Sharon Roerty, senior program officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
David Thorpe, vice president, Shaw Construction
Joaquín Torres, deputy director, Office of Economic and Workforce Development, City and County of San Francisco
John W. Vick, Division of Epidemiology and Research, Metro Nashville Public Health Department
Urban Land article:
A Healthier, More Connected Future for Underperforming Commercial Corridors