Leveraging Creative Placemaking in Equitable Development
Early engagement with the community and inclusion of culturally significant art can create developments that benefit the existing community
Dear ULI St. Louis Members, Sponsors and Community Partners:
Everything is changing at a rate we’ve never experienced.
The ways we work, play, connect, celebrate, grieve, laugh, and rest are shifting faster than we can process.
In times of transformation, it’s wise to focus on the vision of what you want. Learn from the past, aim toward the future.
This perspective couldn’t be more applicable as we think about the future of real estate in St. Louis. In this historic city, there’s a long-held narrative that we’re running “20 years behind the coasts.” Personally, I’m ready to leave that refrain behind and shift to “20 years ahead.” Right now, we have an opportunity to do things other cities will replicate in 2040.
When I think about where we’re going, I look to the next generation – where and how do they want to live and work? If you’re hearing the same messages I am, we can agree that they’re demanding better. They see the benefits of living in St. Louis, with our low cost of living, incredible amenities, and invaluable architecture. But they also see our history of racial segregation, unequal educational opportunities, and purposeful disinvestment in neighborhoods of color.
Thanks to the efforts of so many trailblazers in our community – Forward Through Ferguson, Great Rivers Greenway, and Invest STL, to name a few – we are on the path toward reckoning and repairing.
And yet there’s so much left to do.
How can we ensure that St. Louis is a great place to raise a family, no matter your zip code?
Why not innovate in neighborhoods as much as we innovate in plant science?
Who will lead us in broadly and deeply working together to achieve our vision?
Since George Floyd was killed in May, ULI has recommitted to centering racial equity in our work. We’re pushing harder to design programs that integrate social justice, sustainability, economic development, and post-pandemic thinking. Arguably, real estate and the built environment can manifest this exponential change in a more physical way than any other element of society. We can build things and invest our dollars in ways that reflect who we are and what we stand for. I hope you stand with me in wanting every neighborhood to be a “good neighborhood.”
ULI has long been the place where people look to understand what’s next. Consider this your invitation to engage deeper and join in the work to better understand, support, and lead the future of our neighborhoods, cities, and world. There’s never been a better time to dive in.
Chair, ULI St. Louis
Vice President, US Bancorp Community Development Corporation