ULI NEXT Global Members Participate in the ULI JC Nichols Forum, The Emergence of 18-hour Cities
September 28-29, 2016, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art,
Kansas City, MO, By Todd Kohli.
The JC Nichols Forum was a ULI member only event, where ULI members and leaders, JC Nichols laureates, mayors, and other distinguished guests from around the country convened for a 1.5 day gathering to see Kansas City and discuss current issues with middle tiered cities. All of the leadership of NEXT Global was invited to this event, and four members participated: Lynn Carlton (Kansas City), Calvin Gladney (Washington, DC), Todd Kohli (San Francisco), and Tadd Miller (Indianapolis).
Wednesday was a tour of Kansas City led by Mr. Whitney Kerr, of Cushman & Wakefield and longtime resident of Kansas City, along with JC Nichols grandson, Mr. Wayne Nichols. The tour lasted for over 2 hours and saw all of the long time and up-and-coming neighborhoods within the city. From the bell tower and original office space in the Plaza that JC Nichols occupied—when he was negotiating deals during WWI, and hit a stumbling block with someone, his secretary would interrupt the meeting and say that General Douglas MacArthur was on the line, he’d leave the room, and 5 minutes later come back, and the deal would be signed without a hitch—to seeing 100 year old neighborhoods, and companies that started in Kansas City. There were about 30 other ULI Members that went on this bus tour throughout the city which ended up being a really fun afternoon. This tour could have lasted for over 4 hours with the stops and all of the great anecdotes and commentary.
Thursday was a full day (9am to 4pm) of wonderful panels—Mayors Roundtable (Honorable Joe Reardon (former mayor of Kansas City), Honorable Joe Riley (former Mayor of Charleston, SC), Honorable Madeline Rogero (Mayor of Knoxville), and Honorable Sly James (Mayor of Kansas City), Nichols Laureates: Lessons Learned (Richard Baron, Peter Calthorpe, Bart Harvey, Gerald Hines, Honorable Joe Riley, Peter Walker), and a panel led by Calvin Gladney on Leveraging Technology for Change.
A common thread of all of the panels was the need to invest in the public realm and infrastructure—the need for a champion that sets a framework and public policy that helps solve issues—whether that is smart and technologically facile infrastructure, schools, water, affordable housing, environmental-inclusive policies, as all of these factors are critical to a healthy place. When we can help solve these issues there will be lasting impact to a community, whether the city is small, large, or middle-tier.