Letter from ULI Sacramento Chair – July 2020
Thanks to everyone who has helped make this past year successful for ULI Sacramento. The word that comes to mind when thinking of this year is resilient. It’s been a difficult year- weathering the impacts of a global COVID-19 pandemic, the impacts of racism on the lives of Black people in the US following a series of impactful deaths, growing isolation and business sector uncertainty due to shelter in place, and the physical, political, emotional, and economic impacts associated with the confluence of these events occurring and coming to light at the same time. Despite it all we remain resilient and optimistic about where we as a region can go from here and how ULI can help make this region better.
So, what role can ULI play and what role should ULI play? ULI’s Mission is to create and sustain thriving communities for all. Our organization has been committed to this mission and our recent program series focused on homelessness, our affordable housing series,, our South Sacramento Health and Equity Task Force and our accessory dwelling unit programs are great examples of that commitment. We can enact policies and best practices to further this mission locally. We must keep that eye on the prize and be more inclusive in our projects, programs and perspectives to ensure the best long term outcomes for all especially those who are most disenfranchised. If we lose that intentional focus on equity, we have the potential to leave a lasting negative impact that will take generations to fix. Many of the problems we see today are tied to the past decisions.
I believe that if we as ULI members and stakeholders take an honest look at our region’s real estate history, it would tell us that while some amazing projects have been developed that we should be proud of, we have not always met the mission of creating thriving communities equitably. Everything from racial covenants, to redlining of neighborhoods, to the design of Highway 50 in 1959/1960 to enforce racial segregation are just just examples of how our industry can directly and indirectly have a negative generational impact on our most underserved. We see the results of those poor land use decisions in the systematic racial and socioeconomic disparity that exists today. We cannot undo the sins of the past, but we can recognize the realities of those decisions, identify the modern day consequences of those decisions, and commit to developing spaces and places that will allow all communities a chance at a better future here in the Sacramento region.
We have a lot of work to do to make the Sacramento region the best place to live, work, and play, but I believe we are up to the challenge. I am so encouraged by the amazing work our membership is doing throughout the six county region. We at ULI Sacramento intend to help lead the way in a manner that is inclusive and celebrates the true secret power of our region, our Diversity. By capitalizing and celebrating our diversity of culture, thought, lifestyle, ethnicity, topography, perspectives, and climate, we have the ability to truly make this region a model of equitable access to economic prosperity and quality of life. So in 2020-2021 expect to see more programming that addresses issues extending from rural farm areas to our most underserved urban enclaves. Expect programs on high rise infill projects downtown, research campuses in Woodland and Davis. And most importantly expect to hear from our youth, like our UrbanPlan participants from Luther Burbank and Valley High Schools, as they tell us the kind of Sacramento region they would like to live and thrive in.
Despite the many valleys we have faced this year, I am still encouraged by the resiliency of our members, the resiliency of our community, and the resiliency of our industry and I look forward to us emerging into 2021 stronger and more united in our pride for the Sacramento region than ever before. Thank you for your commitment to ULI this past year and we look forward embracing the mission of the organization together with all of you.
ULI Chair 2019-2021