Kara Wood’s 2015 ULI Fall Meeting Blog

 In All News, Program Reflections

Reflecting on the ULI Fall Meeting, I found the conference material and experience to be rewarding. It was the first time that I participated in the Fall Meeting or any of the ULI conferences. I had attended local events before, but not the Fall Meeting.

I found the content around Disruptive Technology and the Sharing Economy interesting as Grand Rapids explores the implementation of policy and public infrastructure improvements that will support these new technologies in the future. I was fascinated to learn the direct impact on real estate and the importance of local government support in order to succeed in the New Economy.

I learned a lot about global trends and demographics that will effect cities and technology trends that will effect industries that support our cities. The concept of retail being replaced by online shopping and the shear fact that seniors aging will not be mobile enough to frequent shopping centers. 3D printing may be the retail shop of future and how does that effect the way we develop real estate into the future. Other topics discussed were the Internet of Things, robotics, smart buildings, gene sequencing technology, artificial intelligence and data storage/knowledge, all of which will have a tangible effect on the way we develop cities.

I was relieved to know that planning directors of several major cities have the very same issues that Grand Rapids, a mid-sized city, faces and that they too are still looking for answers. Issues such as global competitiveness, rent burdens, population changes, mobility and transportation challenges, equity and growth are all areas of focus among American cities today, despite their size or location.

I have ten pages of notes from the conference presentations and interactions that will be used to inform policy making and investment in the City of Grand Rapids. I have much to be thankful for attending this conference and look forward to engaging in ULI more fully!

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