ULI, the Triple Bottom Line, and Embracing My Inner Flower Child
Majora Carter, in her TED talk last spring, articulated a triple bottom line for her projects. I am sold on this approach to recasting a property's land use, and I believe ULI can do much more in shaping how planners and practitioners understand what "best land use practices" really means. At this point, I need to get beyond the talk--4.9 million hits on Google for Triple Bottom Line--and get to the execution stage.
The question is how this affects my competitiveness--gaining control of sites, raising capital, executing on a plan. Does including two other elements into the calculus of recasting property make me more competitive? Or less?
My take on triple bottom line development is its value in perfecting a land use and its entitlements to create positive returns to the community, the environment, and those who build the asset. The three "bottom lines" are:
- Environmentally sustainable
- Community enhancing
- Rewarding to capital
The components of my projects are:
- Land Use
- Labor Utilization
- Return on Capital
- Quality of Plan and Execution
- Environmental footprint
- Community benefit
My goal is optimizing ROI's achieved from sustainable, community friendly development that have satisfactory returns to us and our investors. Environmentalists embracing their inner capitalist, developers embracing their inner flower child, and politicos embracing their inner Jefferson Smith.
Environmentally sustainable is where I am seeing the most potential. Awareness of how to build in an efficient manner, how to use technology to produce more more carbon neutral assets, and use of the internet to offset your carbon footprint is becoming an integral part of our project planning. And sustainable technology, thanks to demand being induced in Europe, is really attractive.
Community enhancing is a little more ambiguous, as diverse communities have diverse needs. Its mostly about seeing the bigger picture, creating crazy-good places where people who just love the area walk everywhere. Daily needs within a couple of blocks.