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Formerly dominated by underutilized properties and an abandoned freeway, the Transit Center District is now the site of a comprehensive planning and redevelopment effort to create a dense, walkable employment center that will feature housing at all levels of affordability, active retail and abundant public open space. The substantial public infrastructure investment needed to undertake this project is funded through a complex and innovative mix of public and private funding sources. The major rezoning of properties throughout the district, along with its significant amenities, has created substantial value while generating enthusiastic response among the development community. 

 

A concurrent session at the recent ULI Fall Meeting, "Transbay Transit Center District: Transforming Downtown San Francisco through Innovative Public/Private Partnerships" examines the redevelopment challenges overcome during the project and strategies used to create this new “Grand Central of the West” and its adjacent neighborhood. 

 

Discussion leaders included Scott Boule of Transbay Joint Powers Authority, Tiffany Bohee of the San Francisco Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure, John Eudy of Essex Property Trust, Mike Grisso of Kilroy Realty Corporation and John Rahaim of the City of San Francisco. Libby Seifel served as moderator of the panel, in addition to her duties as local program co-chair of the ULI Fall Meeting. 

 

A video of the session is available for viewing at ULI's webpage, here


The new tools of economic development and creation of sustainable and healthy communities in post-Redevelopment California took center stage at the Cal-ALHFA’s recent conference "Reinvention: 2014". Taking guidance from ULI’s December 2013 report After Redevelopment, New Tools and Strategies to Promote Economic Development and Build Sustainable Communities, Libby Seifel joined fellow report contributors to present on innovative techniques being used locally, regionally, and at the state level to stimulate housing and mixed use development. Through focused presentations and lively round table discussion, their session “Reinventing Redevelopment: New Tools for Housing and Sustainable Communities” explored recommendations and strategies posited in the ULI report.


Now more than ever, California communities must creatively leverage and build upon their core strengths to catalyze great places. Research demonstrates that property values are higher in well-planned communities that are near parks and open space and where residents and workers have convenient access to high quality public transit.

Each year, the California Chapter of the American Planning Association (Cal APA) organizes a statewide conference to share best practices and recognize award-winning projects. This October, Bill Anderson, APA President and AECOM Principal, Richard Bruckner, LA County’s Director of Regional Planning, and Kearstin Dischinger, Senior Community Development Specialist at San Francisco Planning Department, participated in a Cal APA panel moderated by Libby Seifel to discuss how Los Angeles, Pasadena, San Diego and San Francisco have capitalized on these key property value drivers to capture and then reinvest revenues back in to their downtowns and neighborhoods through property tax increment and development impact fees. Their presentation, “Leveraging Value: Planning and Funding Strategies to Catalyze Great Places” discusses how “parking diets” and “street diets” improve the overall health of residents while fostering healthier project economics, which in turn lead to better development.

For more information, visit Cal APA here.


How do communities highlight their best assets to attract and retain business? A key first step is the identification of the community’s core strengths and their competitive advantages in relationship to how businesses decide where to locate.

A second critical component to economic development is developing a "customer centric" orientation that emphasizes better communication and rapport with business owners and their representatives.

A second critical component to economic development is developing a "customer centric" orientation that emphasizes better communication and rapport with business owners and their representatives.

At the League of California Cities’ Annual Conference, held September 19, Libby Seifel facilitated the lively workshop discussion “Economic Development: Spotlighting Assets in Your Community to Attract & Retain New Business". Fellow panelists included Robert Gilmore, Land Use and Economic Development Consultant with MuniServices, and Damian McKinney, Founder & CEO of The McKinney Advisory Group. Joining Libby, Rob, and Damian were elected officials and city staff.

The basics of hospitality can be a key ingredient to attracting new jobs, as Damian McKinney explains. Sharing a personal experience, Damian tells the story of a homemade dinner at the house of Town’s Mayor, of how a relaxed and supportive environment led to honest and insightful conversation on Town growth opportunities, and how this eventually led to the development of a major business in town.

Rob Gilmore noted how communities need a proactive economic development strategy that includes a focused work plan with prioritized action steps to be done on a quarterly and annual basis. Audience members also shared “best practice” experience from their own communities, including examples of how they help communities work together to establish a shared vision, conducting workshops with local business community members to identify actions steps, and developing key metrics to measure success.

The word 'hospitality' in the New Testament comes from two Greek words. The first word means 'love' and the second word means 'strangers.' It's a word that means love of strangers. - Nancy Leigh DeMoss


Housing California’s Annual Conference, the nation’s largest annual conference on affordable housing and homelessness, gathers together advocates, consumers, builders, lenders, lawmakers, and other leaders in the field. Here, more than 75 workshops, pre-conference institutes, and over 50 exhibitors showcase their knowledge on the interrelated topics of resources for development for sustainable communities and affordable housing. In April, Libby Seifel joined Lynn Hutchins of Goldfarb & Lipman, Kara Douglas of Contra Costa County, Linda Mandolini of Eden Housing, and Johanna Gullick of Union Bank to engage with participants on the use of former redevelopment properties. Their presentation ("Former RDA Properties: Key Resource for Building Sustainable Homes and Communities") examines case studies and best practices in the development of long-range property management plans.

Click here for a copy of "Former RDA Properties: Key Resource for Building Sustainable Homes and Communities".


"We are at an exciting tipping point in the US. More people than ever are walking and bicycling in our communities. Elected leaders and businesses are realizing the value of investing in active transportation. And we’ve seen cities small and large across the country pioneering ideas like Bike Share, bike boulevards, and open streets projects that turn pavement into places for recreation and fun." - Pro Walk/Pro Bike

 Pro Walk/Pro Bike, the leading international conference on walking and bicycling, offers more than 100 program sessions, mobile workshops, and problem-solving workshops bringing together non-auto-centric transportation enthusiasts, including planners, engineers, civic leaders, government officials, public health professionals, architects, and landscape architects.

Held in sunny Long Beach, the 2012 Pro Walk/Pro Bike conference offered attendees the opportunity to network with like-minded enthusiasts, workshops, and sessions to help build coalitions, create planning initiatives and designs, and foster ways to grow the political support and funding needed to catalyze active transportation.

"Long Beach has embraced walking and bicycling as tools to improve its economic vitality, its quality-of-life, and as a way to ensure all residents are connected to a just and equitable transportation system."

- Pro Walk/Pro Bike

At the September 2012 conference, Libby Seifel joined the session "New Challenges, Tools, and Opportunities in Planning for Healthy Transportation” led by Jeremy Nelson (Principal at NelsonNygaard Transportation Consulting Associates). The panel also included Arfaraz Khambatta (Director of Access Consulting at Sally Swanson Architects Inc.), Heath Maddox (Senior Planner, Livable Streets Subdivision at San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency), and Jean Fraser (Chief at San Mateo County Health System).

Using successful case studies and lessons learned from communities of all sizes, the panel explored some of the challenges and opportunities in the development of healthier active transportation systems, prompting discussion on planning, outreach, and funding tools to inform planning enthusiasts of practical techniques to help in the implementation of healthy transportation policies and programs for California communities.

The National Center for Bicycling & Walking, a program of Project for Public Spaces, established the Pro Walk/Pro Bike conference in 1980. More on Pro Walk/Pro Bike and upcoming events can be found here.