At the beginning of 2013, ULI’s Board of Directors approved a focus on healthy communities as a cross-disciplinary theme for the organization. The Building Healthy Places Initiative is managed by a dedicated team with a strong understanding of the connections between health and the built environment. The Building Healthy Places Initiative staff works to connect ULI’s powerful global networks with research and resources to move the conversation forward.

Our Goals

  • Raising awareness
  • Defining the approach
  • Exploring the value proposition
  • Advancing the state of practice and policy

Meet the Staff

Rachel MacCleeryRachel MacCleery
Senior Vice President, Building Healthy Places

Rachel MacCleery is Senior Vice President at the Urban Land Institute, where she leads the organization’s Building Healthy Places Initiative and other programs. Rachel is spearheading ULI’s efforts to leverage the power of its global networks to shape projects and places in ways that improve the health of people and communities, through design and programming strategies that increase opportunities for physical activity, social engagement, access to healthy food and nature, and other ingredients of holistically healthy living. Rachel has extensive knowledge of land use, environment and sustainability, social equity, and infrastructure policy and practice issues. Rachel has worked at ULI since 2008 and previously worked for AECOM and the District of Columbia Department of Transportation. She has a Masters Degree in Public Administration and Urban and Regional Planning. She speaks Mandarin Chinese and has lived in China off and on since 1994. She currently lives in Washington, DC.


Sara Hammerschmidt
Senior Director, Building Healthy Places

Sara Hammerschmidt is Senior Director, Content at the Urban Land Institute, where she develops content and programs focused on the impact of the built environment on public health through the Building Healthy Places Initiative. Throughout her career, Sara has done extensive work on issues that lie at the intersection of health and the built environment. Previously, she worked at PolicyLink in Oakland, California, researching the inclusion of social and economic equity into projects, plans, and policies that are being implemented at the intersection of health and the built environment. Sara has spoken on the topics of Health Impact Assessment, the role of urban planning in creating healthier cities, and recommendations for incorporating health into all built environment decision making at several national conferences.

Sara holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Austin, where her research focused on developing recommendations for how planning departments across the country can incorporate public health considerations into their work. She also holds a B.S. in Industrial Operations and Engineering from the University of Michigan, and worked for eight years in the technology industry prior to graduate school.


William Zeh Herbig, AICP
Senior Director, Building Healthy Places

William Zeh Herbig is Senior Director, Content at the Urban Land Institute, where he oversees a portfolio of content and programs focused on the intersection of health and social equity in the built environment. Prior to ULI, he co-led Kimley-Horn’s Atlanta-based Planning and Urban Design Studio. He has also directed a variety of design-related projects at Midtown Alliance in Atlanta, the National Capital Planning Commission, and the Congress for New Urbanism both in Washington, D.C., and the Markle Foundation in Manhattan.

Will holds a Masters degree in City and Regional Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a B.S. in Urban Studies from Georgia State University, and studied architecture at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Will is a graduate of ULI Washington’s Regional Land Use Leadership Institute and was named a 2010 Next City Vanguard. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for PEDS (Pedestrians Educating Drivers on Safety) and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).


Matthew Norris
Senior Manager, Building Healthy Places

Matthew Norris supports the Building Healthy Places Initiative and works on projects linking health, sustainability and development. He is the primary or contributing author of several ULI publications, including “Healthy Housing for All: How Affordable Housing is Leading the Way”, and  “Cultivating Development: Trends and Opportunities at the Intersection of Food and Real Estate”.

Matt previously worked at the Tri-State Transportation Campaign where he focused on improving access to safe, reliable and equitable modes of transportation throughout southern New Jersey and the Greater Philadelphia area. Matt earned his Master’s in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University-New Brunswick in 2010, where he focused on international development and comprehensive planning. Matt also holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Kansas.

Senior ULI Advisers

Calvin GladneyCalvin Gladney
ULI Senior Visiting Fellow for Equity  

Calvin Gladney has spent the past 15 years working around the country to ensure that the revitalization of neighborhoods and corridors is done equitably, and that people in those areas have an equal shot at participating in the prosperity that can result from change. Mr. Gladney is Managing Partner of Mosaic Urban, and is a public-private partnership strategist, real estate developer, and trusted advisor to organizations seeking to sustainably transform urban communities.  He is a trustee of ULI and a member of its national Public Private Partnership Council.



Juanita Hardy
ULI Senior Visiting Fellow for Creative Placemaking

Juanita Hardy has over 41 years of business experience, including 31 years with IBM, and over 35 years in the arts as a nonprofit leader, trustee, collector, and patron of the arts. She is the former Executive Director of CulturalDC, a nonprofit committed to making space for artists and art organizations and fostering cultural and economic vibrancy in communities through its creative placemaking services.


Ed McMahonEd McMahon
Charles E. Fraser Chair on Sustainable Development and Environmental Policy

Ed McMahon is nationally known as an inspiring and thought-provoking speaker and leading authority on topics related to sustainable development, land conservation, smart growth, and historic preservation. McMahon is the author or coauthor of 15 books and more than 300 articles.


About the Building Healthy Places Initiative

The Building Healthy Places Initiative leverages the power of ULI's global networks to shape projects and places in ways that improve the health of people and communities. Learn more.

Contact us at health@uli.org.

About the Initiative

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