By all accounts, the Fourth Annual ULI Carolinas’ Meeting in Charlotte was a great success. With nearly 600 attendees from across the Carolinas, this was a well-attended, content-rich event full of dynamic speakers, engaging programs, and ample networking opportunities.
The theme for this year’s conference was “Transforming Through Innovation & Community.” Below are a few high lights from the meeting.
- Peter Kageyama opened the conference by urging city-builders to add the human heartbeat to our economic development tool-box. In For the Love of Our Cities: The Love Affair Between People and Their Places he remarked, the gap between what we desire and what we can afford can be bridged by encouraging citizens to love where they live. He reminded us that by engaging citizens in a relationship with cities, we open up new possibilities for community, social and economic development.
- In Acceleration: Five Forces Forging Real Estate’s Future, Linda Isaacson and Deborah Weinswig explored the sweeping technological changes occurring in society and business. Covering a diverse topics from how “living in an app” in China changes consumer behavior patterns, to how Elon Musk’s hyperloop project will transform the world of transportation and logistics, panelists introduced the audience to the new and shocking ways we will adapt to the ever-shifting, virtual world of bits and bytes. Moderator and ULI Chair of the Americas, Trish Healy, kept the fast-paced conversation focused on the consequences for the bricks and mortar world of real estate.
- For a regional snapshot of development trends in the Carolinas, the Crane Watch panel featured five of the hottest projects under construction today (Courier Square, Charleston, SC; The Falls, Greenville, SC; Stonewall Station, Charlotte, NC; The River District, Charlotte, NC; The Dillon, Raleigh, NC). Presenters shared lightning-quick case studies focused on what made each project distinct, challenging and cool. Together these projects present an impressive display of creativity and demonstrate that real estate in the Carolinas has reached new levels of sophistication and innovation.
- Finally, in the closing session, Ryan Gravel focused on the community component of the meeting’s Transforming Through Innovation and Community Making the case that citizens have the capacity to create healthier, more satisfying communities by remodeling and repurposing infrastructure, he shared his personal and professional experience with the Atlanta Beltline project. In a post-presentation interview with Ryan, ULI Global CEO Patrick Philips discussed the economic development impact of the Beltline project and the impressive return on investment the project has had—a return that can be measured not only in terms of real estate revenues but by enhanced levels of community involvement and engagement and satisfaction.
Without question, the Carolinas region is transforming through innovation and community. Driven by economic and population growth, fueled by major private and public investments and shaped by visionary leadership— the Fourth Annual Carolinas Meeting highlighted the many ways we are entering a new era of innovation in the Carolinas. The face-to-face interaction and opportunities for personal connections presented at the annual Carolinas’ Meeting are not only still relevant in today’s virtual world, they are perhaps more important than ever. As community builders, the large gatherings, small forums, workshops and sharing of best practices continue to strengthen ULI’s impact and reinforce the value of the ULI network. The annual ULI Carolinas Meeting continues to raise the bar for regional real estate and land use conferences.
Many thanks go to the 2017 Carolinas Meeting program committee; ULI Global CEO, Patrick Philips; ULI Chair of the Americas, Trish Healy; District Council Chairs Robert Morgan, Andy Holland and Rob Cochran; and to all the people in Charlotte who graciously welcomed the ULI community.