Tampa, FL. (Nov. 26, 2013) – The Urban Land Institute (ULI) announces that Florida’s five ULI District Councils have been awarded a $25,000 grant to plan and execute their newest initiative Building Healthy Places. The goal of the statewide initiative is to encourage the Florida real estate industry, business and civic and community leaders to update policy and design standards to include those that promote public health. The five ULI District Councils that received the grant include ULI North Florida, ULI Central Florida, ULI Southeast Florida/Caribbean, ULI Southwest Florida and ULI Tampa Bay.
“We are honored to receive this funding from the ULI Foundation and work closely with leaders across the state to create healthier, walkable communities throughout Florida,” said Dr. Diane Trees, chair of ULI Florida’s Building Healthy Places initiative and community relations director for University of Central Florida’s Metro Center. “The issue is complex, but the opportunities for impact are abundant.”
Dr. Trees is leading the statewide steering committee comprised of local business leaders and staff from each of the District Councils.
Florida ranked 34th out of the 50 states in the 2012 America’s Healthy Rankings® report issued by the United Health Foundation. Building Healthy Places, in spite of specific walkability issues within each community and region in Florida, intends to determine where commonalities exist and develop strategies by engaging agencies that oversee public sector codes to change built requirements. The program will offer workshops led by Dr. Richard Jackson, Fielding School of Public Health, UCLA. The workshops are designed to engage stakeholders in each area and merge the objectives identified into a larger statewide body of work with specific action items prioritized. The program supports the organization-wide commitment to leverage the power of the ULI’s global networks, shaping projects and places in ways that improve the health of people and communities.
Dr. Jackson has become a leading voice for reinserting health considerations into decisions about urban, suburban and transportation design programs, rallying mayors, planners, architects and the public to re-envision communities that are good for people and the planet. Throughout his professional career, he has contributed to the knowledge base and public awareness of the power of design to affect public health. His four-part public television series, “Designing Healthy Communities,” has communicated this message to millions of viewers nationwide.
“Throughout my 30 years in the environmental health industry, I have become more focused on the whole mix of environment and health and the impacts they have on our population,” said Jackson. “Just like damaged environments can have multiple negative health outcomes, healthy environments can create positive health outcomes. I look forward to working with community and government leaders in Florida in identifying how we can make this a priority for the Sunshine State.”
“The land use industry is uniquely positioned to draw from existing tools and resources in a way that ultimately supports a healthier and more vibrant community,” said James A. Moore, senior vice president at HDR, Inc. in Tampa and a member of ULI’s Building Healthy Places Advisory Panel. “Healthier communities translate to real estate value, economic development and the overall enhancement of quality of life.”
By June 2014, the five Florida ULI District Councils will complete local workshops, one in each district. Once the workshops are complete, plans include delivering ongoing results and continuing to develop long-term relationships with partnering agencies by establishing multi-year follow up tools. The results will also be revealed at the annual statewide ULI Florida Summit being held June 11-13 in Orlando.
For more information about ULI’s statewide efforts in Florida, please visit florida.uli.org.
The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit education and research institute
supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has more than 30,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines. For more information on ULI, please visit www.uli.org.