Last week, downtown Flint hosted the annual Urban Land Institute-University of Michigan Real Estate Forum. Former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy provided a challenge to private and public sector leaders in his keynote address: work together regionally to plan for success and then act on those plans. In particular, Murphy highlighted the need for improvement in 21st Century Community assets such as information technology, green infrastructure, walkability and entrepreneurship. He highlighted the distinction between talk and action, asking "Do you really want to be a high-tech city or do you just like the idea?" Murphy suggested increased investment in entrepreneurship as particularly fertile ground for Michigan, noting that our state ranks high in university research spending but comparatively low in venture capital spending.
In a separate session, Murphy also presented the Urban Land Institute's 2011 "Emerging Trends in Real Estate" report. Based on surveys with real estate professionals across the country, the report identifies walkable urban development, particularly rental housing, as one bright spot in an otherwise dreary picture. Murphy highlighted the historical homeownership trends in America and predicted that the pendulum will swing back toward rentals as a greater proportion of American households.
Listen to a Michigan Now report on Mayor Murphy here.
Luke Forrest is Project Coordinator for the Center for 21st Century Communities. Contact him at 734-669-6323 or by email.