2 Years of Learning from ULI’s Building Healthy Places Initiative

The Urban Land Institute leads an initiative that quarterbacks a multi-pronged program working to improve the general lifestyle of communities at a global scale. The ULI Building Healthy Places Initiative focuses on leveraging the power of the ULI’s networks to shape projects and places in need of assistance.

Since 2013, this initiative has been in action and over its 2-year lifespan, a multitude of programs have been launched as well as areas improved. Taking a deeper look into ULI’s impact both nationally and globally can help every individual contribute to programs centered around the greater good.

The Building Healthy Places Initiative from ULI was put in place by the foundation’s Board of Directors in 2013 and the campaign has flourished ever since. The program was comprised to focus on healthy communities as an interdisciplinary theme for the foundation.

The Urban Land Institute, as a whole, was founded in 1936. The ULI is a nonprofit research and education organization supported by 36,000 members worldwide. A particular focus that even shows in the Building Healthy Places Initiative is their preservation of land use and real estate development for the public’s benefit.

Associated Programs

There are a handful of programs under the Building Healthy Places Initiative that help the initiative reach the greater goal in mind. With an interest in preserving places, the ULI doesn’t only cater to locals of these communities but the the governing bodies as well. The ULI’s initiative incorporates the district and national councils into their planning process for community events, programming, and individual acknowledgements.

The Urban Innovation Grants are a program under the initiative that has had an immediate effect on over seventeen district and national councils. The purpose of these grants are to promote healthy places on a local level. The Urban Innovation Grants total to $250,000 and are awarded to projects that participate in unique public-private partnerships that use open land to build healthy, active communities.


Local Programs

The ULI works on a global scale with a local level focus in each community. With the expansion of their local programs, the Building Healthy Places Initiative is on a fast development track in several domestic and international communities.

The ULI Minnesota District Council is an example of a local chapter of the initiative and they work closely with local partners to create a healthy community in the Prospect North Innovation District. The District Council then put together a guide and toolkit that reviews the lessons and strategies the Minnesota team learned throughout the process in route to establishing a new neighborhood health. The guide helps the process for other communities who are actively developing.


Speaker Series

Throughout the process the committee has gained a great deal of insight that could help the progress of the future programs under the Building Healthy Places Initiative. The Speaker Series was put in place to help participants learn about the individual profiles discovered and the rest of their community findings.

The Speaker Series is modeled around the periodic publications that the Initiative publishes about their findings from a community in focus. The most recent report, Building for Wellness: The Business Case, speaks about how wellness can be a primary objective for business developers. The report shines light upon 13 different projects that were all developed with health and wellness in mind.

The Urban Land Institute is a very active foundation but the Building Healthy Places Initiative has possibly become one of their most impactful programs yet. The Initiative operates globally but focuses on the development of communities with the health of locals in mind.