Urban Land Institute

Bringing a health perspective to the development community

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) launched its Building Healthy Places Initiative in July 2013. The two-year initiative is designed to leverage the power of ULI’s global networks to shape projects and places in ways that improve the health of people and communities. After a nationwide search, ULI identified CfAD as the expert content advisor to support and facilitate a number of key elements within Building Healthy Places.

This collaboration presented an opportunity for CfAD to communicate the role of development in promoting health to a network of over 32,000 national and international professionals who represent the spectrum of land use and real estate development disciplines.

Highlights from this work:

  • Served as subject matter experts in the first of three Building Healthy Places—community planning advisory panels in Colorado—which were sponsored by the Colorado Health Foundation.

Participated in a week-long advisory panel, where experts from various disciplines worked with the local community to make recommendations on neighborhood design and development in Arvada, Colorado.

Recommended a set of tailored design interventions, based off of a collaboration with the panel's experts and community stakeholders. These findings were presented to the Arvada City Council, and are now being implemented with ongoing support from the Colorado Health Foundation.

  • Served as content experts, authors, and researchers for ULI publications to support the Building Health Places Initiative.

Ten Principles for Building Healthy Places, 2013: CfAD was recognized as one of three lead contributors to ULI’s publication, “Ten Principles for Building Healthy Places,” which outlines essential principles for healthy real estate development and identifies new approaches to building healthy places.

Building Healthy Places Toolkit, 2015: CfAD served as the expert content advisor for the publication “Building Healthy Toolkit: Strategies for Enhancing Health in the Built Environment.” CfAD led an interdisciplinary workshop with ULI staff members in May 2014 and drafted a significant portion of the Toolkit, release in early 2015. To see a digital version of the Toolkit, click here.

The end goal of the CfAD's work with ULI is to positively influence community development patterns by educating and mentoring an interdisciplinary group of professionals, including policy makers and development practitioners, on the benefits of health-promoting design practices.

For more information on this project and/or our services, please contact us.


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    Recommended design features include developing bicycling infrastructure, creating local access to fresh food, and providing inviting exercise equipment in parks and public spaces. Photo (top to bottom): Steve Keating Photography; Mithun; and Jens Lindhe.