Sustainability and liveability goals gain traction for ULI

There’s a widely shared desire to leave a sustainable environment for future generations which the ULI’s global CEO Ron Pressman has witnessed at first hand in visits to the different ULI regions.

“I’ve had the opportunity to get out and meet with a lot of members in different locations around the world and what I’m seeing is incredible enthusiasm for the mission priorities of ULI: decarbonisation and sustainability; building a more equitable community in terms of housing availability for people who are serving the communities that they’re living in; and creating education programs that continue the legacy of ULI as a great source of career development for people who want to be in this incredible real estate industry.”

Sustainability, liveability, urban change and transformation were among the emphases at the ULI Europe conference, staged recently in Madrid.

“These subjects are a culture-changing phenomenon around the world. Not everybody is at the front of these efforts but it’s resonating with people everywhere and people are recognising that we want to leave a sustainable environment for our kids and our grandkids to live in,” Pressman told Real Asset Insight’s Richard Betts in Madrid.

Pressman added that it has been energising to see the efforts that are being made in Asia, particularly Singapore which seems grounded in creating sustainable living environments. Meanwhile Toronto, Canada, is very focused on creating inner city spaces that are rejuvenating sections of the city, creating vibrant mixed-use communities where people are living, working and playing all in the same small sector of the town.

15-minute city gaining ground

“This whole concept of the 15-minute city where you can walk or ride your bike within 15 minutes of everything you might need is really resonating.”

One example in Madrid of community focused thinking highlighted at the conference was the Chamartin train station. Pressman said this is not just envisioned as an incredibly beautiful facility that will increase infrastructure and rapid transit provision, but it will also connect the community.

“Instead of having train tracks that are separating a community, the train station is built to attract and connect communities on either side of the tracks so that it can create a space that people really want to be part of, which is terrific to see.”

Asked what his aims are for the future of the ULI Pressman pointed out that the world is rapidly becoming more organised and that by the end of the century 80% of the world’s population will live in 10,000 urban centres.

“We want those urban centres to be vibrant, sustainable, inclusive, equitable places where people want to live, work they and play, where they want to entertain, they want to raise families. They want to have access to health care and be in a secure environment. That’s the opportunity of the real estate industry and of ULI working together toward creating those places. What a legacy that would be to leave behind for mankind.”

Please click on the video above to watch the full interview or listen to the podcast below.