ULI Arizona News

Trends Day 2019: Reflect. Rethink. Respond.

By Peter Madrid | MadridMedia

Creating places and spaces. The right fit for changing demographics in housing. Building more with less. The journey of discovery.

ULI Arizona’s 14th annual Trends Day, held at the J.W. Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, was titled “Reflect. Rethink. Respond.”

The reflect component?

“Think about this,” said Peter Ricchiuti, professor at the Freeman School of Business at Tulane University. “Our economy is 70 percent consumer driven. Middle class consumers are the job creators. You want an immigration stat? Forty percent of the Fortune 500 companies were started by the parents of immigrants.”

The rethink component?

“We should be investing in our neighborhoods. They are in the path of growth. That’s where the movement is going,” predicted George Roberts, Director of Public Spaces, Quicken Loans Community Fund. “We need to invest in parks, public spaces, and create spaces. Open areas, pop ups, shipping containers. Invest in your spaces. Make your people happy, healthy, and connected.”

The respond component?

Affordable workforce rental housing needs to be made attainable. A moderately rental burdened population is quickly becoming severely burdened. “We have to fix that,” said Pat Watts, Senior Partner and Director of Planning, Deco Communities. “We need to find product that fits the niches of what people need.”

There are no “miracle fix-alls” to some of the issues the industry is facing. However, there are innovations that could put us on the right track.

The innovations in construction panel discussed the next big thing: integrated project delivery and the need for construction to interface early with the design side. Offsite construction is a trend the industry is seeing more and more.

“We have to begin planning projects more efficiently,” said Jessica Ostoyich, Senior Project Manager with Mortenson. “With issues such as a labor shortage facing us, we are still held accountable for delivering projects on time. We’re not talking about a lot of fancy stuff. We just need to keep up with innovation.”

Keynote speaker Vinh Giang, a self-made entrepreneur and magician, put the Psychology of Illusion in perspective, even telling the audience to “rethink before you respond.”

“What is innovation? It’s a composition. It’s the coming together of two perspectives. Changes represent opportunity. There are 1,000 perspectives in this room. Perspective is power. Influence is a power in life,” Giang said.

“We must learn this,” he said, wrapping up the keynote address. “Try things you haven’t tried before. The first step is to create the impossible. Believe it can be done. Our beliefs dictate our actions.

“Go on the journey of discovery. Keep an open mind. Give possibility the benefit of the doubt. Take the first step. Our beliefs come from what’s possible for our future. What’s possible for our community.”

Reflect. Rethink. Respond.

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