The Urban Land Institute to Advise Commerce City on Ways to Boost Residents’ Health, Quality of Life and Social Equity through Improved Walkability

The Urban Land Institute to Advise Commerce City on Ways to Boost Residents’ Health, Quality of Life and Social Equity through Improved Walkability  

Nationally Renowned Panel of Land Use and Urban Planning Experts to Visit Area February 11-16

For more information, contact: Trisha Riggs at 202-624-7086;

WASHINGTON (February 8, 2018) – A group of nationally renowned land use and urban planning experts representing the  Urban Land Institute (ULI) will be making recommendations next week to Commerce City on how to bolster quality of life, promote health and wellness, and encourage social equity by improving the walkability in the southern section of the city. ULI is a global, multidisciplinary real estate organization whose work is driven by 40,000-plus members dedicated to responsible land use and building thriving, sustainable communities.

The ULI panel, composed of land use professionals representing all aspects of urban design and urban development, is being sponsored by Commerce City and the Colorado Health Foundation. The panelists, convened through ULI’s advisory services program, will be visiting Commerce City February 11-16. Their assignment will include performing an analysis of access to healthy food choices and active transportation options (such as biking and walking trails), as well as the availability of safe, attractive places for physical activity. As part of its work, the panel will be considering the best approach for factors such as:

  • Public and private investments in projects that enhance walkability and improve connections between neighborhoods;
  • Improving access to healthy food choices for residents in the city’s southern neighborhoods;
  • Recommending practical, resident-driven strategies to activate vacant spaces (buildings, parking lots, land) and underutilized public places that catalyze community development; and
  • Prioritizing ideas from existing plans and seeking opportunities to implement those with the potential to improve the health of residents and boost the area’s economy.

The panel’s visit is part of a series of ULI advisory services panels funded by the Colorado Health Foundation’s Healthy Places initiative that focuses on improving health and access to physical activity in communities throughout Colorado. Previous panels have made recommendations for the rural community of Lamar, the suburban community of Arvada; and the Westwood neighborhood in Denver. Most recently, a ULI panel visited Southeast Colorado Springs to advise on improving access to safe places for physical activity.

ULI Leader Sarah Sieloff, executive director for the Center for Creative Land Recycling in Oakland, California, will serve as the panel’s chairman. “We’re excited to bring ULI’s expertise to Commerce City,” said Sieloff. “We’ll be considering a broad spectrum of challenges and opportunities in this community to determine a set of recommendations that best address its immediate and long-term needs for better health and wellness.”

Sieloff will be joined by Aletha Dunston, executive director, Fort Harrison Reuse Authority, Lawrence, Indiana; Tom Fairchild, principal, City Version 3, Arlington, Virginia; Luis F. Gonzalez, senior planning/landscape architect, Rodgers Consulting, Inc., Largo, Maryland; Savlan Hauser, executive director, Jack London Improvement District, Oakland,  California; Joyce Lee, president, IndigoJLD Green Health, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Michael Rodriguez, director of research, Smart Growth America, Washington, D.C.; and John Watt, analyst, Valbridge Property Advisors/Barone Murtha Shonberg & Associates, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

During the week, the panel will tour the neighborhoods being evaluated for the assignment and interview a variety of stakeholders in the community before developing a set of recommendations that will be presented at the conclusion of the panel’s visit. The recommendations, together with community input and existing plans, will guide the city’s development of a Healthy Places strategy. The city will have the opportunity to submit their plan to the Colorado Health Foundation for up to $1 million of additional funding.

Now in its 71st year, the ULI advisory services program assembles experts in the fields of real estate and land use planning to participate on panels worldwide, offering recommendations for complex planning and development projects, programs and policies. Panels have developed more than 700 studies for a broad range of land uses, ranging from waterfront properties to inner-city retail.

According to Thomas Eitler, senior vice president of ULI’s advisory services program, the strength of the program lies in ULI’s unique ability to draw on the substantial knowledge of its 40,000-plus members, including land developers, engineers, public officials, academics, lenders, architects, planners and urban designers. “The independent views of the panelists bring a fresh perspective to the land use challenge,” Eitler said. “The advisory services program is all about offering creative, innovative approaches to community building.”

Past sponsors of ULI advisory service panels include: federal, state and local government agencies; regional councils of government; chambers of commerce; redevelopment authorities; private developers and property owners; community development corporations; lenders; historic preservation groups; non-profit community groups; environmental organizations and economic development agencies.

NOTE TO REPORTERS AND EDITORS: A public reception will be hosted on Monday, February 12, at 6 p.m. at the Yellow Rose Event Center, 6490 East 72nd Place in Commerce City. The panel’s recommendations will be presented on Friday, February 16, at 9 a.m. at the Commerce City Civic Center at 7887 East 60th Avenue in Commerce City. The presentation is open to the public.

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 more than 40,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines. For more information, please visit  or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.



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