Manjeet Ranu’s 2016 ULI Fall Meeting Blog

 In All News, Program Reflections

Thank you for the opportunity to attend the 2016 ULI Fall Meeting in Dallas through the Rose Center for Public Leadership in Land Use scholarship. This was my third Fall Meeting, having previously attended the 2013 Chicago and 2006 Denver meetings. I also attended the 2013 Spring Meeting in San Diego. The Dallas Fall Meeting provided me the first opportunity to participate in a national product council, Public Development and Infrastructure Council (PDIC).

Collaboration and leadership are two key principles that came across clearly to me in all the networking interactions, sessions and day-long PDIC event. Seeing projects in the Dallas area and hearing from those who shape those projects was interesting. It shows what can be done when the public and private sectors collaborate to meet community and market needs with outstanding results, as distinguished from highly-regulated California, where I have practiced for 12 years. Additionally, a notable theme in this meeting was the trend toward creating value from placemaking. The importance of placemaking and its value for community, sustainability and profitability is a big shift from when I began practicing nearly 20 years ago.

ULI’s meetings encourage a culture of welcoming networking, which I appreciate. I met a former leader of a federal agency, who now leads a national architecture practice. And I met a retired big city planning and development services director. Talking with both left me with ideas about how I can continue to improve how I practice in the public sector in a manner that is collaborative, bold and pragmatic. And as always, I value the brief, casual interactions with ULI members from across our industry and how we are all working toward innovative land use. The reception for my fellow scholarship recipients enabled us to meet and begin our professional relationships; we made lasting connections. We each had diverse professional and geographic backgrounds, which created dynamic conversations about issues we face in our jobs and within our industry.

My attendance and participation at the 2016 Fall Meeting was made possible because of this scholarship. I am in the process beginning a new public sector leadership position in a large city. I have previously been through the recruitment process for other big cities. The knowledge I have gained through ULI has been valued by these big cities and has distinguished my candidacy. These large agencies appreciate the value of leadership, creativity and innovation, which is very important in meeting the internal bureaucratic and external transformational challenges faced by large cities. Finally, this scholarship helps bring professional and demographic diversity to the meeting, which is important to continuously strengthening and broadening ULI.

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