Urban Resilience

Urban Resilience Program

About Us

ULI’s Urban Resilience program provides ULI members, the public, and communities across the United States with information on how to be more resilient in the face of climate change and other environmental vulnerabilities. The program seeks to provide technical assistance, advance knowledge, and catalyze adoption of transformative market practices and policies. Through advisory services, research, convenings, and support of District Council projects, the Urban Resilience program seeks to enhance community resilience with a focus on the built environment, real estate markets, and the land use policy sector.

After Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, communities are increasingly focused on how to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events. Increasingly ominous predictions from climate scientists suggest that adverse events related to climate change pose growing risks to communities worldwide. Furthermore, the world is becoming increasingly urban, and our cities tend to lie in particularly vulnerable areas. From sea level rise to heat waves, from storm surge to drought, the adverse events threaten the built environment in ways that have serious consequences for the health, viability, and economic vitality of our future.

The Urban Resilience program works to help communities prepare for increased climate risk in ways that allow a quicker, safer return to normalcy after an event, but also an ability to thrive going forward. A central goal is ensuring that development, land use strategies and infrastructure investments not only make communities less vulnerable, but also strengthen cities overall, enhancing environmental performance, economic opportunity and social cohesion. Through careful land use planning, wise investment in infrastructure, and smart building design, we can protect the value we’ve created in our cities and be more robust when facing adverse events.

Areas of Work

The Urban Resilience program is funded through a generous grant from the Kresge Foundation, with additional support from the New York Community Trust. The program comprises four main areas of work:

  • Panels:  ULI conducts Advisory Services panels in communities around the country focusing on resilience planning. The guidance from these panels is intended to offer cities strategies to more effectively address the impacts of climate change on a day-today basis and make investments which will not only improve preparedness, but also strengthen community resilience overall.
  • Research: ULI draws from the experience of its members and partners to produce research for the real estate and land use community. Current research projects focus on stormwater management, green infrastructure, and the value generated through investment in resilient design and development practices.
  • Convenings:  ULI hosted the Building the Resilient City conference in September 2014 to bring expert practitioners together with urban planners, local governments, and land use professionals to build practical knowledge on resilience and adaptation strategies. This conference was partly supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. After this seminal gathering, ULI has convened numerous smaller groups of decision-makers and resilience stakeholders for action-oriented meetings, including the Resilient Cities Summit, co-hosted by NLC and USGBC.
  • Local projects spearheaded by ULI District Councils:  ULI awards grants through its District Councils  to further resilience planning and implementation in their communities, supporting local resilience projects including Technical Assistance Panels, local research initiatives, demonstration projects, and other efforts.

More from the Program

Billy Grayson Named Executive Director of the ULI Center for Sustainability and Economic Performance

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ULI Cited in New Kresge Report on Professional Organizations and Climate Change

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ULI’s work to promote sustainable, resilient communities was cited in Professional Societies and Climate Change, a new report…

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ULI Baltimore Assists Annapolis with Protecting Historic Assets from Sea-Level Rise

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ULI Baltimore provided expertise for the city of Annapolis's Weather it Together Program to raise awareness of the…

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White House Conference Spotlights Importance of Building for Resilience, Says ULI

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Today’s White House Conference on Resilient Building Codes will help greatly to raise awareness of the critical need…

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St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana—Advisory Services Panel

St. Tammany Parish, is located on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain. St. Tammany Parish (Parish) is separated from…

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Scaling up Sustainability: A Q&A with Sarene Marshall

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ULI's Center for Sustainability executive director discusses how the Center can provide thought leadership on the critical nexus…

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