Central Iowa Pursues Urban Land Institute District Council

The Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) – the organization that spearheads The Tomorrow Plan effort – is working with the Greater Des Moines Partnership to establish a local District Council of the Urban Land Institute (ULI). ULI, with more than 30,000 members worldwide, is a nonprofit education and research institute dedicated to providing leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Its membership represents all aspects of land use and development disciplines.

The establishment of a local District Council serving Iowa will further expand ULI’s existing network of 51 District Councils, which serve members and advance ULI’s community-building mission at the local and regional level throughout the United States. The District Council in Greater Des Moines would explore urbanization issues, land conservation, regeneration, land use, capital formation, and sustainable development, all aimed at improving the quality of life for residents in the region and boosting economic prosperity.

“An Iowa District Council of the Urban Land Institute brings together thought leaders from across the various fields of real estate and land use to engage in best practices and serve community needs. Establishing ULI Iowa will not only be a useful tool for our local developers, but it will help us implement some of the core ideas outlined in the Capital Crossroads Regional Vision Plan and The Tomorrow Plan,” explains Meg Fitz, the Partnership’s Senior VP of Regional Business Development.

In addition to the MPO and the Partnership, Larry James, a real estate lawyer at Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP, has played an integral part in bringing a ULI District Council to Iowa.

ULI supports urban innovation with grants for groundbreaking public and private partnerships and sustainable community models. “While other organizations focus on just one segment of real estate, such as commercial, affordable housing, sustainability or residential homebuilding, ULI brings together developers, attorneys, bankers, urban planners and city officials in all of these segments. It’s a profit-driven organization that’s focused on helping cities do well while doing good, a rare combination. ULI Iowa will help Iowa’s communities determine the best way to grow and thrive – but in a sustainable manner,” said James.

A local organizing committee has been established to manage the application process and get the chapter off the ground. An event to kick off the District Council’s formation will be held Wednesday, December 18 from 5-7 p.m. in the Equitable Building, which is set to undergo extensive renovations to become Equitable Lofts.

Established in 1936, ULI represents the entire spectrum of the land use and development disciplines. By tapping their extensive membership engagement, ULI is able to provide invaluable resources and set the standards of excellence in development practices. The Institute has long been recognized as one of the world’s most respected and widely quoted sources of objective information on urban planning, growth, and development.million grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program and by over $1 million in local in-kind resources.

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