Primary research and collaboration enable the Curtis Infrastructure Initiative to investigate key infrastructure strategies, challenges, and approaches to promote solutions that make cities more equitable, resilient, and enhance long-term community value.
How Infrastructure Investment Can Yield Equitable, Sustainable, and Thriving Communities
Over the coming years, U.S. communities face many challenges that will be difficult to manage, including a lack of housing affordability, entrenched inequities in the built environment, and a changing climate. These issues are compounded by the combined challenge of maintaining current infrastructure while needing to invest in forward-looking infrastructure.
The Prioritizing Effective Infrastructure-Led Development publication provides a comprehensive framework as the United States prepares to make its largest infrastructure investment in a generation. The report is informed by the views of national experts and practitioners who were brought together through various aspects of the Curtis Infrastructure Initiative’s programming, including the 2021 Shaw Symposium on Urban Community Issues and the ULI Member Global Infrastructure Survey.
This framework must be viewed through the lens that continuing inequities in the United States and around the globe threaten our social and economic foundations, especially because infrastructure serves as the organizational framework for building community and place.
Click here to read the full report.
Broadband and Real Estate: Understanding the Opportunity
We live in a world that is increasingly interconnected and digitalized. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the real estate and land use industry had felt the effects of connectivity and had taken advantage of it, from the increased interest in property technology—or proptech, the innovative use of technology in the real estate industry—to the rise of e-commerce affecting worldwide logistics and manufacturing markets. All this connectivity and digitalization relies on the speed, capacity, and reliability of our world’s internet infrastructure.
The demands of large-scale work from home, school from home, accelerated e-commerce, telehealth, and even family gatherings pushed more of our lives online and exponentially increased demands on internet infrastructure to unprecedented levels and strained capacity in unanticipated ways. This demand also helped shift the real estate industry itself from thinking just in terms of physical space to also considering how to engage within a virtual environment.
The Broadband and Real Estate: Understanding the Opportunity report identifies challenges and the opportunities in addressing the digital divide, the tools and techniques available for both the real estate and land use industry, and the need for communities to expand and best take advantage of this connectivity.
Click here to read the report.
The Curtis Infrastructure Initiative helps align the significant body of work ULI has produced related to infrastructure within topics such as creating healthy and equitable places, adapting and mitigating to climate change, increasing housing choices and affordability, and practical approaches for project implementation.
Events and Videos
The Shaw Symposium on Urban Community Issues: Equitable Investment in Infrastructure and Housing
The Equitable Investment in Infrastructure and Housing report has been co-published by the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing and ULI Curtis Infrastructure Initiative, and includes ten key takeaways for tackling some of the most critical housing and infrastructure challenges facing the United States. One of the most worrying trends highlighted is an investment gap of $3.8 trillion for much-needed infrastructure, and the report establishes a framework to assist local communities in designing and implementing future investments in an equitable way. The takeaways include the following.
- Previous models of planning, financing, building, and maintaining the core components of communities had fundamental flaws.
- The built environment needs repairs, focusing on both physical elements and restorative equity.
- The status quo model of housing and infrastructure investment must evolve to meet new challenges.
- The concept of infrastructure is evolving, and full-spectrum housing opportunities are a necessary component of a modern infrastructure strategy.
- The different elements of the built environment should be viewed as interconnected systems.
- Adaptation and resilience are critical components of future systems.
- The future of many regions and communities strongly resembles the cities of the past.
- Suburban areas can and should become more equitable and sustainable.
- The scale of the intervention needs to meet the scale of the challenge.
- The time for action is now.
The report can be found here.
Let’s build long-term community value through equitable and resilient infrastructure investments together.
ULI Member Global Infrastructure Survey Findings
To better understand perceived quality and infrastructure priorities by the real estate and land use industry as well as how infrastructure investment will affect real estate development trends, the ULI Curtis Infrastructure Initiative conducted a survey of its members between April 20 and May 17, 2021. The survey also explores what infrastructure means to ULI members based on the initiative’s goal to leverage infrastructure investment to better effect a sense of community and place.
The report and key findings can be found here.
Benefits and Burdens: Case Studies in Transportation Equity in the Philadelphia Region
ULI Philadelphia partnered with the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), to advise graduate students from Temple University to assess the impact of major transportation projects on communities of color and low-income communities in Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey. The Curtis Infrastructure Initiative provided financial support for the project.
The report, with recommended steps to mitigate the burdens of past transportation projects and create better future outcomes presented to DVRPC, can be found here.
10 Principles for Enhancing Equitable Access to Parks
The report distills and synthesizes key themes, lessons learned, and best practices from the recommendations of 14 Advisory Services panels and national study visits on parks and open spaces. This was developed as part of a September 2020 workshop with representatives from these projects and other subject matter experts.
The report can be found here.