Continuing on Lisa McCabe’s trip to San Francisco, below are some highlights from the ULI 2015 Fall Meeting! In these sessions, they explored both sides of their brains, tapping into tech as well as arts and entertainment.

Session 1: The Changing World

Topic: Global Trends and Demographics
Speaker: Charles Kenny – Center for Global Development, Washington DC Think Tank

Over the past 20 years, the global under-five mortality rate has declined by more than half. There has been a revolution in access to education, with 90% of children at primary school age enrolled in school, an increase of 20% over the past 25 years.

Overall, violence is on the decline globally, with countries seeing advances in civil and political rights, and access to mobile communications and the power that lies therein.

The percentage of the world in poverty has been steadily declining since 1950. Today, fewer than 10% of people live on less than $1.25/day due to huge growth in global economic output. Today, developing countries account for 50% of global output; in the 1990s in was only 33%. When the rest of world gets wealthier, they participate more in commerce, and therefore help developing countries start to invest more and invent more.

Progress is a reason for hope – we should be optimistic about the future of the planet.

Topic: Transformational Tech Trends and Impact on Global Business
Speaker: Jack Uldrich – Global Futurist

Biggest tech trends:
• Wearable technology is here (i.e. Apple Watch, FitBit). As it develops, the goal is for the internet and its information comes to us vs. us seeking it out.
• Tech will continue to get better, faster and more affordable.
• 3D printing could extend to products as substantial as airplane parts and home construction.
• Advances in Nano-technology are on the way, including self-healing materials by 2020 .
• Robotics revolution? Self-driving robotic cars are already legal in CA. In Sweden, they are delivering to customers. Tesla will have autonomous driving tech within next 3 years.
• Smart Buildings will increase by 40X by 2020.
• Gene sequencing technology – The price to sequence is cut in half every 4 months. By 2020 it will be more expense for us to flush our toilet than to sequence our genes.
• Artificial intelligence tools are getting exponentially more powerful. Some developers already using the famous Watson’s cognitive power to locate commercial buildings more advantageously.
• Data storage – Amazon Fresh is not about groceries, it’s about data. Amazon says, anything you want on earth you will get from them. They know what you want before you know what you want, and have filed for a patent for predictive shipping.

Session 2: Arts, Culture & Entertainment
How do they foster community engagement and understanding? How do they transform communities?

Topic: Respecting architecture and marrying it with something creative
Speaker: Jessica Srebnik, CEO Goldman Properties

When assessing Real Estate, it’s not about not about what it is, it’s about what it could be.

Case Study: Wynwood Walls, Florida
Find the essence of what each neighborhood is about, and build on that. In this neighborhood, art was at its foundation. The area was filled with street art and graffiti, and they transformed it into the largest outdoor street art gallery in the world. They focused on the creation of interesting public spaces in urban environments. And the neighborhood’s mission has become “Art at the Core” with every business integrating art into their construction and lifestyle.

Topic: How can injecting culture into real estate transform a project?
Speaker: Shaheen Sadeghi, President and CEO, LAB Holding

Culture is the new currency, but it’s about telling a story, not about a cap rate. What is the value of the Great Pyramids? The Taj Mahal? How do you set a cap rate on art and culture? You can’t. The value lies in the project’s connection to the community. Plan a culturally connected project that involves personalization, customization, and localization. Authenticity cannot be bought.

Developers need to understand the community and their culture, and to allow the community to become participants in the projects – to be co-authors. One size does not fit all. Especially if we want to build something that last and touches people rather than becoming a disposable development. People expect layers of experiences in their culture, and thoughtfully crafted Real Estate can be part of that experience.