The ULI Charitable Trust plays a critical role in advancing ULI’s mission and philanthropic activities across Europe. Our programme has expanded significantly over the past two years, which has been made possible by generous donations from our Governors, our members and through fundraising activities such as the ULI Charitable Trust dinner.
The Trust has invested in a number of key projects that look to advance ULI’s mission:
We have provided initial funding to support the deployment of ULI ‘s UrbanPlan programme. UrbanPlan is now running in schools in the UK, delivering targeted one-day workshops for ‘A’ level students (Geography and Business Studies), at no cost to schools. The programme brings real estate and the built-environment to life in a way that is designed to be both relevant to the existing educational syllabus and compelling for young people.
This year we have delivered Urban Plan in 25 schools across the UK and our plan is to expand the programme to 40 schools per year, reaching 1,200 pupils annually. Having successfully launched UrbanPlan in the UK, we are also now actively exploring the roll out of the initiative in other European countries including Germany, Poland and Ireland.
We supported a ULI Advisory Services panel that was convened in May 2015 to determine how the cities of Frankfurt and Offenbach could collaborate, better connect both economically and through physical infrastructure, and develop real estate in ways that benefit both cities.
A group of 10 international experts from a broad range of disciplines was brought together by ULI for a five-day panel which included site tours and meetings with key stakeholders. The final report made recommendations including attracting talent, improving existing infrastructure, developing affordable housing and forming strong coalitions and investor opportunities. The panel also recommended increasing the attractiveness and quality of the urban area through further development of the “public green belt” and access to existing green areas.
As a result of this work, both cities decided in March 2016 to follow the recommendations of the panel and to create an action plan for the next steps, which will be to create a joint development corporation, focussed especially on the boundaries where the two cities meet.
We continue to look for opportunities for the ULI Charitable Trust to support further Advisory Services panels in Europe.
We have also funded research to raise awareness and develop new thinking on the principles of “good” density which is a major theme of ULI Europe’s research programme. The first report examined what is meant by the term density, how it’s been delivered in different places around the world and what we can learn from different models to help equip us for the new generation of global cities.
ULI believes that delivering density well will be a crucial part of successful urban futures. Future work will focus on the link between compact, connected and accessible urban centres and long-term value for investors.
The Charitable Trust will support a project for ULI to work with the New Climate Economy to analyse, communicate and build an improved understanding of the impact of investing in dense, well connected urban centres on investment returns, while at the same time taking into account the costs per resident and carbon emissions.
Funding for this project has also come from external sponsorship – an approach the Charitable Trust is keen to continue to encourage.
Council Grants Competition
In December 2015, we announced a competition specifically for ULI’s Council networks to enable them to bid for funding for innovative research projects or initiatives that linked to ULI Europe’s current themes of good density, the innovation economy, technology, or city engagement. We received a total of seven bids from which three grants were awarded:
- €15,000 to a project on mass migration, which will involve the ULI Councils in Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden and UK.
- €10,000 to the European Retail & Entertainment Council for a piece of research to assess impact on valuations of the increasing role of leisure and entertainment on retail;
- €10,000 to assess interest in creating a pan-European Residential Council, which is increasingly topical and fits well to the ‘good density’ theme ULI is focusing on.
We are grateful for the continued generosity and support shown by our Governors and ULI members. Their kind donation of time, money and resources is essential to enabling us to deliver on our mission.