FY15 Urban Innovation Grant Winners

Sixteen grants totaling $320,000 have been awarded to Urban Land Institute (ULI) district and national councils through ULI’s Urban Innovation Grant program. Only ULI district and national councils are eligible to apply for grants, with awards ranging between $10,000 and $25,000. The recipients were announced today at ULI’s Fall Meeting in New York City.

Funding for this year’s recipients is provided by both the ULI Foundation’s Annual Fund and Kresge Foundation. The ULI Annual Fund, which provided $260,000 of the total awards, supports local ULI projects that recognize or launch innovative public-private partnerships that advance the responsible use of land in building healthy, thriving communities worldwide. The Kresge Foundation provided the remaining $60,000 of funds, which were awarded to three district council projects specifically aimed at developing local programming to promote resilience strategies and practices.

Nine of the grants were given to local projects that promote ULI’s Building Healthy Places Initiative, a program of work linking human health and land development. Another five grants were awarded to projects connected to the ULI Urban Resilience Program, an initiative that helps communities become more resilient to severe weather, and which helps them more quickly return to normalcy after a natural disaster.

The recipients of the 2014 ULI Urban Innovation Grants are:

  • ULI Boston: Overcoming Barriers to Resiliency Planning – ULI Boston/New England will convene five forums to discuss the barriers to resilient design. The sessions will focus on financing models, insurance for this type of development, infrastructure, and design standards. The purpose of the program is to lower the barriers to resilient design through conversations with experts in the fields of development, finance, insurance, and public policy.
  • ULI Carolinas (Charlotte, South Carolina, Triangle): Second Annual ULI Carolinas Meeting – In 2015, ULI Charlotte, ULI South Carolina, and ULI Triangle will convene a forum titled “Game Changers: How Innovation and Technology Are Changing Real Estate.” The program will give members the opportunity to learn and share insights and to assess regional obstacles and opportunities for adapting to change, and provide a forum for presenting ULI research and publications as they relate to the region.
  • ULI Cleveland: Carrots and Sticks: Using Incentives and Regulation to Create Healthier Communities – ULI Cleveland and the city of Cleveland will conduct a series of education programs targeted at community leaders, developers, architects, and others to discuss the benefits of form-based zoning. The series will culminate in a ULI event promoting urban principles of building healthy places, such as walkability, diversity, and community health. ULI Cleveland also will provide technical assistance panel services to the city as it begins to implement a form-based zoning code.
  • ULI Germany: Advisory Services Panel for Frankfurt and Offenbach – ULI Germany will convene an Advisory Services panel to develop a comprehensive strategy to help Frankfurt and Offenbach define their potential and areas where they could develop a joint strategy in the fields of economic development.
  • ULI Great Lakes (Chicago, Cleveland, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Toronto): Building Healthy Economies and Healthy Environments in the Great Lakes Basin – The six district councils in the Great Lakes region together will organize an educational program to increase awareness that a coordinated approach for implementing sustainable development practices is essential for promoting the overall health of the Great Lakes and the surrounding communities.
  • ULI Hampton Roads: Resilient Region Reality Check: Increasing Community Disaster Resilience and the Capacity to Adapt to Changes – ULI Hampton Roads will host the first of what is expected to be an annual event, “Resilient Region Reality Check,” to help prepare the region for natural disasters. The district council will facilitate and organize the event, which will raise awareness, create a public forum, and contribute to the planning and design processes.
  • ULI Hong Kong: Toward Affordable Housing Strategy for More Livable, Sustainable, High-Density Communities and Cities– ULI Hong Kong will facilitate focus-group discussions and organize workshops with stakeholders to conduct a review of housing in Hong Kong to develop guidelines and strategies for providing more affordable housing. The program will convene stakeholders from the community, the public and private sectors, professional organizations, and academia to discuss key issues and challenges. The program will result in a set of guiding principles to make Hong Kong more affordable, livable, and sustainable for a larger segment of society.
  • ULI Ireland: Cost Rental Research – ULI Ireland will commission a study with the Irish Housing Agency to develop best practices in cost rental housing. ULI Ireland will hold two workshops with invited experts from across Europe to explore the subject and identify recommendations.
  • ULI Los Angeles: Building Healthy Places Comprehensive Initiative – ULI Los Angeles will create a comprehensive program to initiate projects related to building healthy places in the Los Angeles region. The objective is to raise awareness of the need to improve the health of communities through urban design and the built environment, help cities take action to build healthy places, and create demonstration projects in underserved communities.
  • ULI Mainland China: Sharing Global Best Practices to Promote Sustainable Urban Development in Mainland China – ULI Mainland China will partner with two leading Chinese organizations to publish case studies of best practices of urban regeneration that involve public/private partnerships.
  • ULI New Mexico: Increasing New Mexico’s Locally Sourced Food: A Vision Plan – ULI New Mexico will spearhead for the state a preliminary community-based vision plan for how to strengthen the capability of the state’s agricultural sector to increase local food consumption and procurement. The district council will foster collaboration and dialogue by publicizing events, contribute to publications, facilitate community engagement, and develop strategies to integrate public and private efforts.
  • ULI Northern New Jersey: Walk Live Play: Building Healthy Places in Urban and Suburban New Jersey – ULI Northern New Jersey will conduct a two-day technical assistance panel, convening stakeholders to formulate long-term, sustainable strategies for the enhancement, operation, and maintenance of the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. The walkway as planned will provide the only public access to the Hudson River waterfront for millions of residents and pedestrian access to the region’s mass transit system, plus connect nine municipalities.
  • ULI Philadelphia: Building on Strength – ULI Philadelphia will partner with local organizations to create Lancaster’s first comprehensive economic development strategic plan, “Building on Strength.” The program will formulate specific strategies and tactics aimed at advancing creation of a livable, thriving, and healthy community. The project will culminate with a final report outlining strategy, implementation tactics, data analysis, and maps.
  • ULI Philippines: A Resilient and Healthy Bonifacio Global City (BGC) – ULI Philippines will head a project steering committee to organize meetings and focus groups made up of planners and architects from the public and private sectors. The meetings will educate the community about strategies for making the community resilient to natural disasters and establish benchmarks for resilience across the country.
  • ULI South Carolina: The Joseph P. Riley Jr. Urban Vision Symposium – ULI South Carolina will hold the first of what is expected to be an annual two-day meeting that serves as a forum for professionals to share ideas, identify metrics to measure city resilience, encourage public sector engagement, and examine case studies of successfully implemented plans. The district council will then produce a catalog presenting best practices to provide policy makers and practitioners with strategies to revitalize and reinvent medium-sized cities.
  • ULI St. Louis: Reimagining the Railway Exchange Building as a Healthy Place – ULI St. Louis will lead a technical assistance panel to focus on reuse of the vacant Railway Exchange Building in the center of downtown St. Louis. ULI St. Louis will present the panel’s recommendations to the city, its development partners, and the Partnership of Downtown St. Louis.

The grant recipients were selected by a review committee of renowned land use development and planning experts. In addition to chairman Toomey, other members were James J.Chafflin, Jr., chairman, Chaffin Light Management, LLC; Lizanne Galbreath Megrue, managing partner, Galbreath and Company; Philip Payne, chief executive officer, Ginkgo Residential; and Daniel St. Clair, managing director, Spaulding and Slye Investments.

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