Media Contact
Ann Taylor

ULI Houston Mayoral Forum, Report Back from Participants—Responses on March 9, 2010 (duplicates, when a subject was mentioned more than once, have been eliminated)

1. What should be Mayor Parker’s top priority in her first term?

  • Transportation, support of infrastructure
  • METRO- citywide connectivity
  • Balance the budget
  • Update ordinances and regulations (with emphasis on low-impact development)
  • Flooding and drainage
  • Unfunded pension obligations to City workers
  • Higher density, mixed income/mixed use communities on the current and future transit lines
  • Infrastructure (transit, safety) Master Plan
  • Crime
  • Housing programs - affordable, infill housing and community development
  • Streets (solutions without regard to political influences)
  • Maintain/promote Houston's reputation as a free market hot spot: "Come, work, prosper!"
  • Economic development -reasonable incentives Reduce development permitting "red tape"

2. How should the City fund this priority? Are there funding mechanisms or revenue sources the City should explore that it is not?

  • Public/Private and Public/Public Partnerships to stretch available funds
  • City should retain its mobility fund, rather than turn back to METRO
  • Maximize Federal and State funds (and administer them properly)
  • Cooperative approach to solutions across governmental lines—eliminate "silos"
  • Scrub operations for cost savings for waste and cost savings. Think like the Private Sector!
  • Federal/State grants HUD, CDBC, TxDOT)
  • Privatize appropriate public functions
  • Address long-term liabilities such as fire/police contract
  • Reasonable Development Impact fees
  • Leverage current/future revenue-coordinate investment across multiple enterprises and jurisdictions
  • Existing and future Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones ("TIRZ")
  • Utility taxes -water/sewer/drainage
  • Prioritize spending and cut lower priority items to focus on infrastructure
  • More economic development = more revenues

3. How can the Urban Land Institute, Houston, help Mayor Parker tackle this priority successfully?

  • Keep her informed of development issues. Keep City government from random-subjective-controls. Regulations are/were not a development issue as much as lack of process or randomness.
  • Help her transition teams to focus on investing now for future growth. ULI can help form a forward-looking approach with a plan to get there. Serve the City as a resource of information and as a thought leadership.
  • Monitor and advise her on the challenges facing the City and encourage best use of focused programs.
  • Provide Technical Assistance Panels and Advisory Service Panels with unbiased ULI experts.
  • Ensure ULI members serve on City committees; encourage City to use ULI as a knowledgeable, unbiased resource.
  • Bring national case studies information and best practices to Houston. Promote best practices and responsible land use with a long term view.
  • Continue initiatives with City government and its planners.
  • Help create more Private/Public partnerships.
  • Recruit new businesses to diversity Houston's economy.
  • Help formulate well thought-out, thoroughly analyzed plans.

About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute ( is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in sustaining and creating thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has more than 30,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines. For more information about ULI Houston, visit