Ricardo Noguera’s 2015 ULI Fall Meeting Blog

 In All News, Program Reflections

I wanted to share special thanks to the folks at the Rose Center and Urban Land Institute for awarding me the Product Council Scholarship which helped my city defray costs related to attending the Fall 2015 Conference in the beautiful city of San Francisco.

Attending the conference was a high priority for me since my career first began in San Francisco in 1989 working in the Mission District performing neighborhood economic development. So, a return 20 years later and visiting various sites throughout the City and across the Bay Area was very enlightening to me. One of the highlights of the conference was attending the “Big City Planning Directors” forum at City Hall. Listening to the planning directors from San Francisco, Oakland, Washington, DC, and even London, England, and hearing their challenges with affordable housing, equity, urban design and transportation was quite interesting, especially since the economies of these cities are humming along at a rapid pace. Little do they know they have more going for them than one can imagine with such strong economies and the ability to approach planning from a very strategic standpoint. I also was able to connect with Gil Kelly, whom I served as an intern back in 1986 while attending U.C. Berkeley.

Other highlights from the conference included listening to the luncheon with the mayors from Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose. I must say those were the best behaved mayors I’ve ever come across in the Bay Area. They were cordial and appear ready to collaborate, which spells good news for the entire Bay Area. I hope we can do the same in the Puget Sound, especially as it relates to development and job growth. Another interesting session focused on Downtown Oakland and the successful recruitment of Uber with more than 2,000 jobs and how the revitalization efforts are taking off. As a former resident of Berkeley/Oakland, hearing this good news about Oakland was grand indeed. There was another interesting session focused on the role universities play in serving as catalysts for planning and economic development; Richmond with UC Berkeley, San Francisco’s Mission Bay with UCSF, and Fremont with UC as well. I’m hoping to utilize these same strategies in Tacoma working in partnership with UW Tacoma.

Lastly, the get-togethers with alumni from Daniel Rose Fellows are always a good thing, and I thank Jess Zimbabwe and Gideon Berger for always making my experience the best. They are marvelous hosts and strategists!

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