Category Archives: Executive Director

Opinion: LINK trip opened local eyes on need for affordable housing

Originally printed in the AJC on Friday, July 20, 2018 by Sarah Kirsch Metro Atlanta has a well-earned reputation for being the economic engine of the Southeast, and a big factor driving that growth is our region’s affordability. This competitive advantage, however, is in danger of eroding as housing costs rise. Consider these numbers from a recent report prepared by the Bleakly Advisory Group for the Urban Land Institute’s Atlanta District Council: The median household income in metro Atlanta increased just one percent per year between 2010 and 2015. At the same … Read More

Posted in Executive Director, News | Tagged | Comments Off on Opinion: LINK trip opened local eyes on need for affordable housing

Atlanta’s Changing Transportation Ecosystem

Atlanta’s traffic woes are a well-known story. Despite having the nation’s 9th largest transit system, we are still an auto-centric city and region, rife with congestion along our main corridors. The lesser known story, perhaps, is the remarkable level of investment and coordination currently underway among our state and regional agencies to make significant changes in how Atlantans move around and through the region. The momentum began in earnest in 2015 when House Bill 170 passed, providing additional, dedicated, cost adjusted funding for transportation investment across the state of Georgia. … Read More

Posted in Executive Director | Leave a comment

What Is Atlanta’s ‘Hedgehog’?

A city long known for its affordability, hospitality, and warm climate is at cross-roads. When I think about what I want Atlanta’s story to be relative to affordable housing, I don’t want a researcher being quoted in the AJC in five years saying, “we did not act fast enough to preserve, produce or protect affordable housing here.” Some of you may say, “Too late… that ship has sailed.” But I don’t think so.  Yes, the window is closing but we have the tools, the ideas, and the leadership to make … Read More

Posted in Executive Director, News | Leave a comment

Is Atlanta Affordable?

It’s a question I’m often ask as the executive director of an organization whose mission is to promote the responsible use of land and build walkable thriving communities. National data suggests that yes, Atlanta is affordable relative to peer cities. 72% of homes are affordable to those earning the area median income according to the Housing Opportunity Index. But if Atlanta were so affordable, why do conversations I have about housing always start with “there’s a tear down on my street that is going for $600,000” or “my cousin has … Read More

Posted in Executive Director, In the News | Leave a comment

From Creative Class To Urban Crisis, Join Us For Lunch With Richard Florida

Originally posted in Saporta Report April 4, 2017 by Sarah Kirsch, Executive Director, ULI Atlanta “Can you name a true thought leader?” Someone asked me recently, contending it is an overused term with few clear examples. My immediate answer: “Richard Florida.” In the world of urban development and city building, his name came to mind first for his track record of shining a light on, if not identifying, trends and major shifts in urban development. Come judge for yourself and get his newest book on April 12th at a lunch … Read More

Posted in Executive Director | Leave a comment

Wishing you a very Happy Holiday Season!

ULI Atlanta Members and Friends, As 2016 winds down, we want to take a moment to thank you for your leadership, partnership, and support. It has been a remarkable year working together to move the needle on responsible land use. We know you have been busy – ranging from the very visible cranes of infill development across our city and the resounding public support to expand MARTA and the BeltLine to the quieter work of creative placemaking, project and policy feasibility, and long range planning for our region. We hope … Read More

Posted in Executive Director, News | Leave a comment

Summertime’s a Wrap: Reflecting on Vacation and Land Use

Originally appeared in Saporta Report August 1, 2016 By Sarah Kirsch, Executive Director ULI Atlanta One of the great privileges of travel is that it allows us to return and look at our homes and communities with a fresh set of eyes. I always come back from more walkable places, particularly those with stronger transit networks, with a renewed commitment to walk my kids to school more, use the basket on my bike more, and use the great resource that is MARTA more. I think, if given the chance to … Read More

Posted in Events, Executive Director | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

It turns out Atlanta has an “X Factor”

Originally appeared in Saporta Report April 11, 2016 by Sarah Kirsch You would never guess Atlanta is a Generation X town based on any discussion about real estate and regional development. As one ULI member recently commented in a meeting, “I am never the popular kid in the room… I am neither newlywed nor mostly dead, I am a member of Generation X.” But did you know that the Atlanta region has an unusually high concentration of Generation X? Young people came to Atlanta in droves in the 1990s and … Read More

Posted in Executive Director | 1 Comment

Sports as Catalyst for a Healthier Atlanta

By ULI Atlanta At the start of his speech on December 7, 2014, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach quoted Nelson Mandela, saying, “Sport has the power to change the world.” He used these words as the foundation for his announcement of Agenda 2020, a significant moment of reflection by the IOC and one that will evolve and make the Games more relevant to the greater challenges facing our society. In many ways, Agenda 2020 aligns with the ULI Building Healthy Places Initiative. It acknowledges the distinct differences of cities … Read More

Posted in Executive Director, Guest Column, In the News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Kevin Cantley Named New Chair of ULI Atlanta

We are pleased to announce Kevin Cantley as our next Chair of the Atlanta District Council – effective July 1, 2015. A ULI member since 1995, Cantley joins a prestigious group of past and present chairs, who volunteer their time to build a strong presence for the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and advance our mission. Many of you already know Kevin as immediate past Chair of the Membership Committee and through the leadership he has provided to numerous ULI Atlanta initiatives ranging from UrbanPlan to the Livable Communities Council. As … Read More

Posted in Executive Director | Leave a comment