ULI Washington Launches Regional Fellows Program

Program seeks to foster regional solutions to land use challenges

In an effort to strengthen land use decision-making among local government leaders and to foster regional solutions to land use challenges, ULI Washington has launched its Regional Fellows Program. The mission of ULI Washington’s Regional Fellows Program is to empower leaders in the public sector to envision, build, and sustain successful 21st Century communities by providing access to information, best practices, peer networks, and other resources to foster creative, efficient, and sustainable land use practices.

ULI Washington’s Regional Fellows Program is modeled after the Daniel Rose Fellowship, a program of the Rose Center for Public Leadership in Land Use, which is jointly operated by ULI and the National League of Cities. The Rose Center is intended to create an open atmosphere of learning, trust, and honest exchange as each team receives guidance on a specific land use challenge and gets the opportunity to offer feedback and advice to peers and build relationships that continue long after the fellowship period concludes later this year.

With a population of 6 million people, the Metropolitan Washington Region is uniquely suited to benefit from such a program. The region is composed of 22 individual jurisdictions in two states and the District of Columbia. Although each jurisdiction has its own political leadership, policies, and market realities, the boundaries between them are fluid, with people, goods, and services crisscrossing them daily.

reg-fell-1In this inaugural year, ULI Washington has invited three jurisdictions in the Metropolitan Washington, Region to participate in the program—Montgomery County, Maryland; Fairfax County, Virginia; and the city of Alexandria, Virginia. A fellowship team from each jurisdiction consisting of an honorary fellow—an elected or appointed chief executive; three senior leaders; and a program coordinator, will participate in the yearlong program.

On February 2, ULI Washington kicked off the Regional Fellows program. During this kickoff, each fellowship team identified and presented a land use challenge within their jurisdiction that warrants further study. During the course of the program a ULI Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) will be assigned to work closely with the fellows, participate in a study tour of the site, interview stakeholders, and put forward a set of recommendations at the panel’s conclusion. TAPs will take place during the spring.

ULI Washington’s Regional fellows will also have the opportunity to interact with national fellows from Washington, DC, and with Rose Center faculty during a land use challenge study in Washington, D.C., one of four cities nationwide selected to participate in the 2017 Rose Fellowship. This study tour will take place during the last week of February.

“The ULI Washington Regional Fellows program has great potential for local jurisdictions to achieve benefits similar to those gained by cities that participate in the Rose Fellowship, such as greater public/private sector collaboration, enhanced decision making by elected officials and their staff, and local land use policies that are practical, sustainable, and informed by market realities and private sector expertise,” Jess Zimbabwe, Executive Director of the Rose Center for Public Leadership said. “This program has the added advantage of fostering relationships between senior-level leaders in neighboring jurisdictions who likely need to be communicating regularly anyway to ensure that not only their city or county can succeed, but that the entire region remains competitive.”

To learn more, visit the Regional Fellows Program website and read this article on the launch of the Fellows Program.

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