Jeremy Hurlbutt’s 2017 ULI Fall Meeting Blog
I came to ULI early in my career to network, to learn from my colleagues and to spread my love of planning, place-making and the built environment. As a recipient of the 2017 Rose Center Scholarship, I had an opportunity to attend the 2017 ULI Fall Meeting in Los Angeles, where I got to experience the City of Los Angeles for the first time, learn from others, and grow my professional network. The trip gave me a better understanding of the great work of the Rose Center and ULI.
The City of Los Angeles’ bold architecture and density stood out to me. Although the City covers the landscape with buildings, parking, and roads, the downtown skyline has recently grown vertically and bold murals break up the monotone of sand and stucco. If anything, it clear that L.A. is working to add more residents and a sense of place to the downtown.
I have been active in ULI for over 10 years. I felt attending the fall meeting to get a better understanding of the next level of involvement in product councils and make national connections was invaluable to me as a Planning Director in a small town. A major takeaway was ULI’s commitment to making the world a better place by focusing on what people, communities and developers are doing around the country to promote and ensure equitable cities. I heard from well-known speakers like architect Frank Gehry and Richard Florida, author of “The Rise of the Creative Class” and attended several sessions that focused on removing inequalities through development. These sessions talked about the value of retaining existing proprietors in redevelopment areas and the importance and marketability of affordable housing when building a community.
I also heard a lot about estate trends. As the Millennial generation begins to lay down roots and start families, there is a shift back to traditional/suburban forms of development. A talk about small scale detached residential housing highlighted what some communities are doing to provide new housing choices that appeal to Boomers or Millennials. As Amazon, Uber, and other disruptive technologies effect retail, I learned that smart phone data will drive many development decisions in the future. The most eye-opening example was that malls in your neighborhood use cell phone data to track your movements and tendencies to better target you as a consumer.
What I enjoyed most was the personal interactions. The meeting gave me a chance to see and catch up with many people I have worked with over the years. As always at a ULI event, you get to talk to people who are on the front lines of innovation. These interactions made it feel like more than a conference- it was more like a meeting of minds. As a public official, I feel the development process is more rewarding and inviting for all involved when there is a personal relationship.
I have valued my time with ULI Washington D.C. District Council and attending networking events and sessions with other leaders around the country. This experience has inspired me to create new opportunities to better engage with the local real estate community in my work with ULI Washington NEXT.