Engineering Green Solutions to Stormwater Management
ULI is collaborating with DC's Dept. of Energy and Environment (DOEE) to spread the word about the city's stormwater management programs.
Over 200 professionals from around the region were engaged in a daylong solution session at the George Mason Campus in Arlington on November 30, 2022. The day began with a building fire alarm and a brisk early morning break outside, perhaps a subtle message to the attendees to identify and examine the urgency of the regional needs, and the fires we need to confront to provide a safe and thriving region over the long term. One person couched the current challenge as “staying alive until 2025” as we emerge from Covid constraints and adopt a new paradigm to reset the business climate in the region.
The day’s sessions included presentations from the best regional thinkers, and opportunities to dive deep into the issues facing the region around housing attainability, transportation, infrastructure investment and the challenges facing the office and commercial markets. Attendees heard from academics, policy makers, private developers and advocacy groups. Each sector brought their ideas and concerns forward and focused on actionable solutions needed to create regional cooperation given the complexities, competing forces and tensions that stand in the way of meeting regional goals. The fact that our region’s assets are located throughout the region and not concentrated in one place give us a template for future growth and connectivity.
The future of WMATA and transit funding, workforce development, attainable housing for all, homelessness, and climate change are critical. The challenges currently facing the region are bigger than just how employees return to work. There is a new and different future ahead, different kinds of offices, different ways to live and an opportunity for everyone to thrive in this new future. There needs to be a sense of urgency.
A highlight of the day was the Conversation in the Fishbowl focusing on why it is difficult to get anything built in this region. The conversation started with a recap of the complexities of a development project that took four years, $1million of the developers resources and 4,000 hours of staff time to receive its entitlements. The need for consistency and predictability in the process, and the idea of a regional economic development enterprise were offered as possible steps to bring the region’s myriad development processes into alignment. A key takeaway from the session was the need to focus development on people and places and not only projects and products.
Peter Calthorpe, a renowned urbanist, discussed statewide legislation in California that integrated specific principles to change the development dynamic at a very large scale. These principles include as-of-right-zoning, concentration on infill, zero parking requirements, mandated inclusionary zoning and form-based code along the boulevards.
Four concurrent sessions focused on housing, the strength of the post-pandemic commercial market, a holistic vision for TOD bus investment, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and its impact on the region. The last session of the day reported on the actionable items identified in each of the concurrent sessions, and asked the participants to vote on their top priorities. The top four priorities based on audience response were to expand by-right development, enhance public outreach and education, identify housing production strategies and conversion tools.
ULI Washington and its partners are eager to begin designing a work program to implement solutions to meet the needs of the region.
Follow the links below to see the resources that were used by our speakers.