Cities across the globe need to develop stronger, more adaptive environments to meet the challenges of an increasingly volatile climate that threatens intensified storm seasons and rising sea levels. To encourage resilience efforts worldwide, the Urban Land Institute will hold “Building the Resilient City” this September in San Francisco. The conference will bring together real estate professionals and thought leaders on climate change to share best practices on how cities and new development can become more resilient in ways that improve public spaces, add value, and minimize risk.
ULI’s chairman, Lynn Thurber, of LaSalle Investment Management, and ULI San Francisco District Chair, Jeff Smith, of Sack Properties, will open the conference and provide their perspectives on building resilient cities. Harriet Tregoning, new director of the HUD’s Office of Economic Resilience, will discuss the role of the federal government in creating resilient cities, and Henk Ovink will present best practices learned from Rebuild by Design, an initiative of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and HUD that is spurring development and policy innovations in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Margaret Davidson, who leads NOAA’s coastal inundation and resilience efforts, will present latest insights into climate change's impact and the importance of linking data, technology and sustainable coastal development practices.
On Friday morning of the conference, we will explore how world cities are leveraging natural ecosystems to create multifunctional, protective open spaces that also help catalyze new private development and economic growth. Sarah Slaughter, Executive Director of the Built Environment Coalition, will moderating the session “Getting More Bang for the Buck: Leveraging Green Infrastructure to Create Value and Reduce Risk" and will be joined by distinguished panelists Thomas Woltz of Nelson Byrd Woltz, Karen Kubick of San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, and Bry Sarte of Sherwood Design Engineers.
Please join us on this interactive panel as we discuss ground-breaking projects that create value, mitigate risk, and elevate green design to the next level.
Libby Seifel is serving on the ULI conference planning committee and is coordinating the session “Getting More Bang for the Buck” in collaboration with John McIlwain of ULI and Claire Bonham-Carter of AECOM.
"There is no finish line. Resilience is an ongoing process."
-Yukimoto Ito, vice mayor of Sendai, speaking after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.
This year’s annual conference of California’s Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA California) brought together members of the planning community to share best practices and recognize award-winning projects that are changing the landscape of California’s communities.
With the recent loss of redevelopment in California, local communities must plan for the reuse of public properties without having access to many tools that were formerly available to facilitate development. In addition, members of the planning community find themselves having to assume economic development responsibilities that were previously assigned to their redevelopment agencies. The session "Brave New World: Developing Public Property Without Redevelopment” explored strategies being used by California communities to successfully develop public properties in a manner consistent with local planning goals. Session panelists Barbara Kautz and Rafael Yaquian (Goldfarb & Lipman), Kevin Keller (City of Los Angeles) and Libby Seifel presented proven techniques that local agencies can use to maximize their ability to redevelop these properties while examining the legal constraints on their use. (Click here for full presentation, including the handout "Top Ten Best Practice Tips for Development Deals".)
California communities are also approaching development and neighborhood revitalization in ways that can enhance local cultural heritage. The session "When Property Values Attack: A Planning Tool for Combating the Loss of Intangible Heritage" showcased the Japantown Cultural Heritage and Economic Sustainability Strategy (known as JCHESS, full report available here), which came out of a collaborative effort among San Francisco’s Japantown community, the City of San Francisco and local non-profits. JCHESS outlines strategies for preserving and enhancing Japantown’s cultural heritage and all that makes Japantown unique. The session featured Ruth Todd and Christina Dikas (Page & Turnbull), Shelley Caltagirone (San Francisco Planning Department), Desiree Smith (of San Francisco Heritage), and Libby Seifel, all of whom contributed to JCHESS. The session examined how the elements of Japantown’s heritage were documented (through the development of a Social Heritage Inventory Form) and contributed to the development of an economic incentives toolkit to help identify, prioritize, and incentivize the preservation of cultural and social heritage. (Click here for full presentation.)
The “sharing economy,” also known as the collaborative economy or peer economy, has grown from informal connections between people who share what they already have—cars, homes, tools, skills–to an emerging, multi-billion dollar business sector that is facilitating millions of “collaborative consumption” transactions across the globe each day. Utilizing technology and social media to connect suppliers and consumers, companies such as Airbnb, City CarShare, Lyft, RelayRides, Shareable, Taskrabbit, Vayable, ZipCar— many of whom are headquartered in San Francisco—are also creating an increasing number of jobs and economic benefits to the local economy.
San Francisco recently announced the nation’s first-ever policy group aimed at evaluating the economic benefits, key players, and emerging policy issues surrounding the growing “sharing economy”. Headed by Mayor Ed Lee and comprised of Board of Supervisors President David Chiu and Supervisors Mark Farrell, Jane Kim, and Scott Wiener the group will consider the implications of the sharing economy on San Francisco. “The Sharing Economy is promoting sustainability and creating new economic opportunities for San Franciscans across the socio-economic spectrum,” says Chiu. “It’s time for San Francisco to take a comprehensive look at our existing laws and regulations to consider this innovative new economy’s benefits while addressing real community impacts and concerns.”
On Tuesday, June 10, San Francisco Planning & Urban Research (SPUR) and Airbnb presented an evening discussion “Empowering the Local Economy”, hosted by Airbnb and sponsored by the Koret Foundation. This sold-out event featured five panelists—including Seifel President Libby Seifel—who explored how policymakers and citizens alike are taking part in this new manifestation of local economic activation. Panelists included:
Libby Seifel spoke to the implications and opportunities that the sharing economy has for San Francisco, how this new economic activity makes use of “surplus capacity", and ways in which San Francisco can respond to the changing nature of the local economy. Libby also pointed to SPUR's The Urban Future of Work for its exploration of strategies for expanding San Francisco's economy while focusing on sustainability.
More on this SPUR event is available here.
Collaborative consumption is reinventing the way we live–and San Francisco is at the epicenter of the movement. This has the potential to be a source of great economic strength, as we translate our urban efficiency and creativity into new tools that the rest of the country can benefit from.
-Gabriel Metcalf, Executive Director, SPUR
The May 9 Legislative Policy Breakfast, hosted by Housing Leadership Council (HLC) brought together advocates and experts alike to share best practice tips and advocacy ideas for affordable housing in San Mateo County. Since 2001, HLC has supported the creation and preservation of well designed, sensibly located housing for a range of income levels through collaboration with a range of San Mateo County partners (local governments, non-profit organizations and businesses).
State Senator Jerry Hill (California Senate, 13th District) and Marina Wiant (of California Housing Consortium) shared insights into State and National legislation that could provide funding for affordable housing and enhance housing production, leading discussion on why some legislation would likely become law while others might not. Senator Hill and Ms. Wiant emphasized the need for continued, coordinated advocacy (by groups like HLC) to make the case for why a diverse spectrum of housing is critical to future success of California.
Phillip Kilbridge (CEO at Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco) presented a lively overview of the trials and tribulations of local developers who have had to go “Light & Fit”, learning how to develop in the face of declining revenues. Libby Seifel provided a fast paced overview of current housing financing tools available to communities (in post-Redevelopment California) with particular focus on the challenges and opportunities of using Infrastructure Financing Districts (IFDs) to help fund development. Libby asked audience members to review recommendations from her recent volunteer effort with ULI to promote new funding tools and strategies for infill development and affordable housing in California. ULI recently described affordable housing as one of the central elements to building healthy places in its Ten Principles of Building Healthy Places, and Libby offered ideas about how to promote this concept more broadly throughout San Mateo County.
"The more successfully a city mingles everyday diversity of uses and users in its everyday streets, the more successfully, casually (and economically) its people thereby enliven and...give back grace and delight to their neighborhoods instead of vacuity."
- Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities
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.