event recaps
A-Mill Artist Lofts Tour

A-Mill Artist Lofts Tour

A-Mill Artist Lofts Tour

A-Mill Artist Lofts Tour

ULI MN Members Tour Mayo Clinic Square, Downtown Minneapolis

ULI MN Members Tour Mayo Clinic Square, Downtown Minneapolis

Event Recaps

Event Recaps

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8th Annual Housing Summit

June 8, 2016

Furthering Fair Housing: The Important Role of  Mixed-Income Development

The History of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and the “Promise and Perils” of Mixed-Income Development

The 8th Annual Housing Summit, presented by ULI Minnesota/Regional Council of Mayors and sponsored by the Family Housing Fund, was held on June 8th. The event was titled “Furthering Fair Housing: The Important Role of Mixed-Income Development” and was packed with more than 160 attendees to see two keynote speakers, former Vice President Walter Mondale and national mixed-income housing expert Professor Mark Joseph.

Mr. Mondale was on hand to tell the history of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, his role in its passage, and to offer his thoughts on its continued importance today. Professor Joseph then provided a detailed analysis of the “promise and perils” of mixed-income development based on his work as Director of the National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities. Following the formal presentations, Mr. Mondale returned to the stage and engaged in a discussion on current affairs with his son, Ted. Their discussion ranged from the contested and rancorous party conventions in 1964, 68 and 1980 to Mr. Mondale’s thoughts on how presidential candidates ought to go about selecting a running mate. A clip from this discussion is linked below.

For the full summary, click here.

For the clip of Walter and Ted Mondale, click here.

10th Annual Economic Outlook: Better Days Ahead?

November 18, 2015

Brian Beaulieu: Get Ready for Good Times

Brian Beaulieu says we need to be prepared—for strong economic growth and good times, at least for the next few years.

Although the world is “really messy” at the moment, he said, “We don’t need to worry about the downside until 2019.”

Beaulieu, an economist with ITR Economics, laid out the positives—and a few negatives—November 18 at ULI Minnesota’s 10th Annual Economic Outlook presentation.

“There are a lot of things going on that are right in our economy,” Beaulieu said, including:

  • The real Gross Domestic Product is in good shape and will continue to grow. His prediction is for a somewhat more rapid rate of growth over the next three years.
  • It’s unlikely that there would be a recession during the next 10 years, although there may be a dip here and there—particularly after the 2016 election. Beaulieu said that, judging from history, there’s a 67 percent probability that the economy won’t be as good in the year following a presidential election as it was the year before.
  • Unemployment rates are down, which is a positive but also a problem as businesses have difficulty filling skilled jobs. “You’ve run out of people to hire,” he said. That means businesses filling jobs by “stealing” from other businesses, which can be detrimental on both sides of that equation.
  • Consumers are in “fantastic shape”—and that, he said, is what really matters. “They’re out there spending money.”
  • Home prices are going to be rising until about 2030. Minnesota’s home prices are almost back to what they were in 2006, before the housing crash.
  • The United States’ dependence on foreign oil has dropped, from 60.4 percent in 2005 to 26.9 percent in 2014. The proposed Keystone pipeline is a non-starter, he said, “We don’t need it.”

To read the full recap click here.

To see Brian Beaulieu’s Presentation click here.

Designing a Driverless World: The Future is NOW!

April 30, 2015

In 2013, those who predict such things said that driverless cars would be selling to consumers by 2025. Now, those same experts are saying they will be available by 2020.

And John Eddy, principal at Arup, a San Francisco planning, engineering and consulting firm http://www.arup.com, says he expects—and he thinks he’s being a little conservative—that you will be able to buy a car that drives itself by 2018.

But you probably won’t buy one, since individual ownership is likely to make way to shared vehicles, once driverless cars become common.

Eddy’s presentation on April 30 at the Science Museum of Minnesota was the first event in a collaboration by the Science Museum and ULI Minnesota as part of a Great Cities Initiative that is expected to lead to a traveling exhibition. Eddy’s visit to Minnesota was sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield Minnesota and SRF, as well as Arup, the Science Museum and ULI Minnesota.

Eddy painted a picture of a world in which you would summon a vehicle when you need one and it would arrive a short time later. It may have been sitting quietly on the edge of a freeway overnight, with thousands of other driverless cars, or it may have just finished a trip for someone a short distance away. You’d climb in, tell the car where you wanted to go and it would begin your trip. While the car hummed along, its advanced sensing systems coordinating its movement with that of other vehicles on the road and avoiding hazards, you could nap, read, work on your laptop or sightsee. When you got to your destination, you’d exit the vehicle and it would take off for its next use.

To read the full recap click here.

To see John Eddy’s Presentation click here.

To listen to the full program click here.

9th Annual Economic Outlook: Prosperity in the Age of Decline

November 12, 2014


A positive forecast for the next few years
If you didn’t already realize that good times are here, Brian Beaulieu, an economist with ITR Economics, laid it out enthusiastically November 12 at ULI Minnesota’s 9th Annual Economic Outlook.

“The reality is that we are in a period of prosperity,” Beaulieu said. “You should be making money.”
The good news:
• Income by household is growing and the proportion of those with lower incomes is shrinking. “It may be that the extremes have gotten more extreme, but making policy on the extremes is not a good idea.”
• Real disposable income is growing “very nicely.”
• Banks are lending more money than they were a year ago.
• The economy is easily adding 150,000 jobs a month.
• Oil prices are down. “We’re not likely to see dramatic swings anymore because we’re increasingly in charge of our own destiny.”
• Mortgage rates are going to stay low for the next six months and maybe longer.
• The consumer is in great shape. The fact that income is growing and oil prices are down means that people have more disposable income than ever before—and so retail sales are growing.
And if you’re waiting for the bad news, that won’t come for a few years, Beaulieu said: “2016 is going to be better than 2015 and 2017 is going to be about like 2016.”

To read the full recap click here.

6th Annual Housing Summit: Designing Great Neighborhoods

June 5, 2014

It’s Not How Dense You Make It; It’s How You Make It Dense

Higher density doesn’t have to mean crowded

Julie Campoli, founder of Terra Firma Urban Designs and author of Made for Walking and Visualizing Density, showed the difference between communities that have significant density and those that are simply crowded for the ULI Minnesota/Regional Council of Mayors 6th Annual Housing Summit at the Hopkins Center for the Arts, June 5.

“There’s a misconception that density equals crowding,” Campoli said. “Density is the number of people in a given space. Crowding is the feeling that the number is too high. But the number doesn’t reveal anything about the form.”

Human beings are social creatures who, for most of our history, have seen being urban as the key to a better life, she said. “One hundred years ago, even the smallest farm towns aspired to be urban. They had a wide array of goods and services within a few blocks.” But in the 1950s, the idea of what constituted “a good life” changed and people in the United States began to spread out. “We reshaped the built environment into horizontal.”
Read full program summary here.

Campoli Presentation Part 1
Campoli Presentation Part 2
Density Quiz Results

GreaterMSPahead 2014 Event

April 25th, 2014

Four BIG ideas:

1. Our region will be the preferred home of the world’s most creative, motivated, & educated young talent.

2. When we re-aggregate our region, we will discover that much of what we think we can’t afford to do, we can’t afford NOT to do.

3. Think regionally; act equitably.

4. A sustainable water future, where there is abundant and clean water for all.

What will I do? What will we do together?

GreaterMSPahead 2014 Presentation (pdf.)

Water: Protecting Our Region’s Most Valued Asset

January 31, 2014

Minnesota is the most water-rich state in the continental United States, with abundant groundwater and surface water resources, but it faces significant issues of water quantity and quality in the coming years as the population grows and changes.

“We don’t have a crisis yet statewide,” said Deborah Swackhamer, co-director of the Water Resources Center at the University of Minnesota http://wrc.umn.edu. “But we certainly have a lot of red flags.

Swackhamer and Ali Elhassen, manager of water supply planning at the Metropolitan Council, outlined the state and metro water issues in a discussion January 31, the third in a ULI Minnesota series about building better, healthier communities. Read more here.

Where Do We Park Those Cars? Innovative Parking Strategies

October 31, 2013

Parking is the way most people get to work—and most are not paying for it; their companies and/or the cities in which they are located are.

“Parking is the dominant feature of the urban environment,” said Dave King, assistant professor of architecture, planning and preservation at Columbia University. Parking ramps and surface lots dot city landscapes and “parking is bundled into the cost of everything.”

King was part of a panel on Where Do We Park Those Cars? Innovative Parking Strategies, the second in a ULI Minnesota series of discussions about building better, healthier communities. Read more here.

Alex Marshall Brown Bag: Free Markets Don’t Just Happen

October 23, 2013

Journalist Alex Marshall says history proves otherwise

The free market economy would take care of itself—and us—if government would just get out of the way, right? Just the opposite, says Alex Marshall, freelance journalist and senior fellow with the Regional Plan Association in New York City. Marshall’s latest book, The Surprising Design of Market Economies, argues that government creates markets. In other words, the free market is actually designed, whether we realize it or not.

Recognizing that markets are designed, not somehow naturally arising, is important because it makes it possible to create and change markets with intention. “We advance as a society by taking more and more private responsibilities and making them public responsibilities,” Marshall said.

Marshall discussed his ideas in a casual give-and-take lunch discussion with a group of ULI Minnesota members on October 23. Marshall listed a number of ways in which government makes markets:

  • Transportation and roads. “Transportation is a system,” he said. “You can’t have a little bit of transportation. To have transportation, you need government.”
  • Schools. There was a lot of bitter debate about just whether government should provide schools at the beginning of the United States. “People didn’t want to spend money to educate someone else’s child,” Marshall said. That kind of debate continued into the 20th century, at which point every state finally had a law requiring a minimum amount of public education.
  • Services, like fire protection, police, water, sewers, etc. The arguments against government-provided services in the early days of the nation echo in the arguments today: It’s not government’s role. We can’t afford it. There will be freeloaders. Business has sometimes been on the wrong side of this argument, Marshall said, and yet these services make it easier for them to work. “It’s a much better economy with a public water system so you don’t have to worry about cholera.”
  • Corporations. “They symbolize private enterprise, but really were created by government,” Marshall said. Corporations were able to be created and to grow through a system of laws.
  • Intellectual property rights. Patents are “a government monopoly we give out,” he said.
  • International development and laws. We take for granted the systems that allow our country to interact with others, but all of these systems were created by a public process. Marshall gave the Universal Postal Union as an example. Through this system, run by the United Nations, countries “basically say that we will deliver your letters for free, if you’ll deliver ours.” It allows us to mail a letter in the United States to someone in another country and to expect that it will be delivered.
  • Language. “Language is more of a political convention than we think,” Marshall said. “It’s very helpful to a nation to have a common language and also to have a common culture, and that’s propagated through public schools.”

One chapter in the book is devoted to cooperatives, with a particular focus on Minnesota, which has a long history of farm, electric, housing and business cooperatives (Wisconsin does, as well). He said he sees cooperatives as “kind of a hopeful thing” as a different model for business, one that emphasizes the “we.” He said, “There are things we just do better together.”

In an interview on Minnesota Public Radio the same day, Marshall shared his ideas with Tom Weber: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/10/23/daily-circuit-alex-marshall-economies

Barriers and Bridges: Building Healthy Communities

September 19, 2013

The two crucial keys to creating healthy communities are both simple to define and difficult to accomplish: flexible zoning that allows for creative, non-traditional use of space and funding for multi-use projects.

On September 19, Barriers and Bridges, the first in a ULI Minnesota series of discussions about building better, healthier communities, looked at local projects and initiatives that include a focus on healthy living. Although the panelists’ projects and experiences were different in a number of ways, they and those in the audience agreed that unyielding zoning restrictions and difficulty finding financing limited their ability to get outside the box. Read more here.

Inside the Leadership Studio: Speaker Alumni


Nate Garvis, Vice President of Government Affairs, Target Corporation
Rep. Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Speaker of the House
Bob Lux, Principal , Alatus LLC
Mayor Gene Winstead, City of Bloomington


Mary Brainerd, President & CEO, Health Partners
Mayor Chris Coleman, City of Saint Paul
Paul Helgeson, Sustainability Manager, Gold’n Plump and Founder of Egg Module
Hussein Samatar, Executive Director African Development Center and Member, Minneapolis School Board


Omar Ansari, Founder/President, Surly Brewing Company
Collin Barr, President of Midwest Region, Ryan Companies US
MayKao Hang, President and Chief Executive Officer, Amherst H. Wilder Foundation
Ted Mondale, Vice President of Research and Strategy, GREATERMSP


Stuart Ackerberg, Chief Executive Officer and Owner, The Ackerberg Group
Kim Bartmann, Owner, Bryant Lake Bowl, Barbette, Red Stag, Pat’s Tap, Bread & Pickle, Gigi’s Café
Mayor Don Ness, City of Duluth
Olga Viso, Executive Director, Walker Art Center




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6th Annual YLG Program: Kicking the Habit: Unsustainable Economic Growth

March 7, 2013

The program featured Charles Marohn, Executive Director of Strong Towns, who gave a candid talk about the future of America’s cities, towns and neighborhoods.

Charles focused on three major themes:

*   The current path cities are pursuing is not financially stable
*   The future for most cities will not resemble the recent past
*   The main determinant of future prosperity for cities will be  local leaders’ ability to transform their communities

Read more on the 6th Annual YLG Program.

A National and Local Strategy for Sustainability

February 7, 2013

The program featured Colonel Mark “Puck” Mykleby, USMC (Retired), Former Special Strategic Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who outlined a National Strategic Narrative.  This narrative is a new direction for our nation focused on the synergy between our domestic and foreign policies and the need for smart growth at home and smart power abroad.  He spoke to the need for a new 21st Century strategic framework so we can pursue our enduring national interests of prosperity and security in a way that is both sustainable and in keeping with our national values.

It also featured Rick Carter, LHB, who outlined a one of a kind project involving the collection and assessment of citywide energy, water, and Vehicle Miles Traveled in twenty Minnesota cities over four years.  He discussed how the data is normalized by weather, jobs and populations and can be used to compare a city’s performance over time.  He taught about best management practices, how this data can be used to establish targeted reductions and what are the largest influences of cost and carbon emissions at a city scale.

Value Capture: Funding Infrastructure

January 17, 2013

Scott Polikov, President of the Gateway Planning Group discussed:

  • Innovative ways to fund infrastructure by leveraging new development.
  • Strategies for creating and capturing value; and
  • How value capture is being used to finance the build out of the 62-Mile Cotton Belt Rail Transit System, linking 13 cities, 3 Universities and DFW Airport in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

7th Annual ULI Minnesota Economic Outlook: Seeking Vision for 2013-2014

November 7, 2012

Brian Beaulieu’s US and global recovery trends are:

  • Leading indicators pointing up
  • Liquidity is not an issue
  • Stimulative monetary policy
  • Employment rising (companies right-sized)
  • Banks are lending
  • Retail Sales are rising
  • Construction is improving
  • Deficit spending continues

Read more on the economic outlook.

Saint Paul on the Move

October 11, 2012

ULI Minnesota hosted program at the Union Depot about Saint Paul’s vision for downtown and what’s on the horizon.  Panelists included Mayor Chris Coleman, City of Saint Paul; Commissioner Jim McDonough, Ramsey County; Michael Langley, CEO of Greater MSP; Matt Kramer, President, Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce – Facilitator; Lenny Russo, Executive Chef, Heartland Restaurant and Farm Direct Market; Tom Whaley, Executive Vice President, Saint Paul Saints; Kyle Coolbroth, Founder, CoCo coworking and collaborative space; Cecile Bedor, Director, Saint Paul Department of Planning and Economic Development.

Multi-Modal Innovation and Sustainable Design

September 21, 2012

The program featured Commissioner Gabe Klein from Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), who discussed this customer-focused agency that is a national leader in technology, multi-modal innovation and sustainable design. CDOT consistently makes a positive impact on quality of life for Chicago’s 2.6 million residents.

4th Annual Housing Summit

June 7, 2012

ULI Minnesota hosted its 4th Annual Housing Initiative Conference featuring keynote speaker John McIlwain, Senior Fellow, ULI Terwilliger Center, Washington DC.  who provided a summary of his recent work on housing preferences for the aging generations or the Boomers.  The keynote address was followed by an esteemed expert panel that provided specific context related to housing design, development, community planning and delivery of services for this next generation of seniors.  Panelist included Daniel J Cinelli, FAIA; Principal, Perkins Eastman, Washington DC and founding member of the Society for Advancement of Geriatric Environments, Rodney Harrell; Senior Strategic Policy Advisor AAR P, Julie Murray; Director of Real Estate, Ecumen, Polly Nyberg; consultant working with the Neighborhood Development Collaborative, University of Maryland School of Architecture and Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development and Mary Tingerthal; Commissioner, Minnesota Housing.

Vital Signs

April 19, 2012

ULI Minnesota hosted a program called Vital Signs: Real Estate Opportunities for MN’s Health Care Systems on April 19th. The program consisted of an expert panel facilitated by Murray Wolf, Publisher from Healthcare Real Estate Insights. Panelists included Dr. Robert E. Nesse, M.D., CEO – Mayo Clinic Health System; Andrea Walsh, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer – HealthPartners; Julie Murray, Director Real Estate Development – Ecumen; Keith Konkoli, Senior Vice President, Midwest Duke Realty; Darryl Freling, Managing Principal and Cofounder – MedProperties Holdings, LLC; Ruth Krystopolski, Executive Vice President Development and Research – Sanford Health; and John T. Thomas, Executive Vice President, Medical Facilities – Health Care Reit, Inc. The full agenda is here along with these PowerPoint’s: Vital Signs Agenda; The Opportunities and Challenges for Minnesota’s Healthcare Systems, Dr. Robert Nesse, M.D., CEO – Mayo Clinic Health System; The Opportunities and Challenges for Minnesota’s Healthcare Systems, Andrea Walsh, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer – HealthPartners; and Challenges and Opportunities for Senior Housing, Julie Murray, Director Real Estate Development – Ecumen.

5th Annual YLG Program:
Envision to Revision: Innovating to Make it Happen

March 8, 2012

The Young Leaders Group hosted their annual program with panel members from multiple sectors. The panelists were Sturat Ackerberg, The Ackerberg Group; Theresa Sweetland, Intermedia Arts; Jill Wilson, 128 Café; and Laurie Van Dalen, Southdale Center.  The panelists discussed the question: what is the recipe for success in these difficult economic times?  These developers and business owners have faced many challenges and had to decide whether to change their approach midstream-stay the course, find an interim use, or repurpose for a new vision.

Rooftops to Rivers: Saving Money, Getting Green

January 19, 2012

Randy Neprash of Stantec Consulting and the Minnesota Cities Stormwater Coalition explained the current regulations, along with new provisions coming on-line that will accelerate change with improved water quality and quantity. Neprash discussed implications of the MS4 stormwater program, the mandates resulting from TMDL studies, funding challenges cities face to implement these policies, and the benefits of trees as infrastructure for both urban forestry and water quality improvement.

6th Annual Economic Outlook

November 15, 2011

ULI Minnesota’s 6th Annual Economic outlook with Dr. Jeff Dietrich held hopeful news: expect growth, slow, but positive. ITR’s extensive global research suggests that now is the time to take risks and to be entrepreneurial.

Compact Development in the Suburbs: Solving Infrastructure and Financing Challenges

October 11, 2011

ULI Minnesota hosted a national ULI event that brought leaders from across the country to share specific strategies and case studies about best practices regarding investing in infrastructure and overcoming policy and practice gaps and barriers.

Building on Innovation: The Significance of Anchor Institutions in a New Era of City Building

October 10, 2011

Former Mayor Tom Murphy, Pittsburgh, described how the city was transformed during his three terms by bringing billions of dollars of investments to support anchor institutions through private and public partnerships.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART): Moving Toward the Future

September 7, 2011

ULI Minnesota, with funding provided by Hennepin County, hosted a program and workshop for Regional leaders focused on TOD and the build out of our transit system. The speakers were representatives from the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), who came to discuss their experience with developing their light rail system. The featured DART speakers were David Leininger, Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Jack Weirzenski, Director of Economic Development, and Gary Slagle, former Mayor of City of Richardson in Texas. In addition to the ULI MN Program on September 7th, DART leaders participated in a full day workshop with staff and policy leaders representing SW LRT Corridor Community Works. DART provided useful strategies for the private and public sectors about site planning, financing, marketing, design, and a process to prioritize development opportunities.

3rd Annual Housing Initiative Conference

May 24, 2011

ULI Minnesota hosted its 3rd Annual Housing Initiative Conference featuring Chris Leinberger of The Brookings Institution as the keynote speaker. Leinberger discussed the importance of developing walkable urban places as the basis for successful communities. He provided seven key points for developing these places and explained a five-point “to do” list for specific to the Minneapolis-St. Paul region.

Lightening Our Footstep: Minnesota GreenStep Cities and the Regional Indicators

April 29, 2011
Read the Lightening Our Footprint Program Notes.

4th Annual YLG Program:
Kid-Friendly Cities: “Oh The Places You’ll Grow”

March 10, 2011
Read the YLG Annual Program summary.

Reducing Risk and Creating Value Through Design

February 10, 2011
Read the Reducing Risk summary.

5th Annual ULI Minnesota Economic Outlook

November 16, 2010
Read the Economic Outlook summary.

Regional Governance

October 11, 2010
Read the Regional Governance summary.

Corridors of Opportunity

September 16, 2010
Read the Corridors of Opportunity summary.