The Role of Infrastructure in Attracting Development

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) did a study looking into the role that infrastructure plays in shaping the “competitive” city. In other words, what role does infrastructure play in attracting real estate developers and investors, who could pursue opportunities anywhere? ULI surveyed nearly 250 public sector leaders and over 200 senior-level private developers, investors and real estate advisers. After pulling all of the information, ULI came away with five key findings, summarized below:


  • Infrastructure emerged as a top factor in driving where real estate development happens. Both public and private sector respondents rated infrastructure quality as a top consideration when determining where real estate investments are made. Consumer demand was the top driver for the private sector, with 90% of private leaders ranking it a top consideration or very important.
  • Upgrades to public transit systems emerged as a strong priority for future investments. Upgrades included bus and fixed-rail systems. While public leaders were more likely to rank transit highly, both sectors saw this as a high priority. Transportation-related infrastructure held the top spots (roads, bridges and pedestrian infrastructure). Improving telecommunications was the third most important priority for private sector respondents.
  • The public’s willingness and ability to pay for infrastructure was seen as the most important factor shaping the future of infrastructure. 82% of all respondents said that the public’s willingness or ability to pay for infrastructure will have a dramatic or significant impact. Shifting market trends have created more demand for compact, walkable developments.
  • Cooperation between developers and local government was identified by three quarters of respondents as the most significant funding approach for new infrastructure. More traditional options, like property taxes and contributions from federal and state governments were rated as less significant.
  • Long-term operations and maintenance proved to be a long-term concern. Both public and private leaders are concerned about how long-term operations and maintenance of infrastructure are resourced.


For more information, and the full report, click here.

Watchdog Real Estate Project Management
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