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LOS ANGELES-Looking to concentrate on land use and growth issues in the western half of the country, non-profit research and education organization ULI has established a new center to be based out of Los Angeles. Con Howe, who has served as planning director for ULI for the past 12 years, will head the center. The announcement was made yesterday at ULI’s 2005 Fall Meeting, being held Downtown at the Los Angeles Convention Center from November 1-4. The annual conference is expected to draw an estimated 5,000 industry players.Explosive growth, sprawl and distinct economic, political and geographic features of the west were the catalysts for the creation of the center, which will focus on projects and master plans that use best practices for development. According to ULI chairman Marilyn J. Taylor, “The center will enable ULI to expand its reach and activities with much greater attention to the particular issues facing the west,” she said. According to ULI president Richard M. Rosen, the newly-created center is being supported by individuals who have an association with ULI. Funding from these sources will keep the center running for its first 2-3 years. The ULI Center will enlist an advisory group of 25-30 people and will cover the region west of the Rocky Mountains. The center will focus on finding examples of successful developments that can be used as examples for other communities and educating the public and policymakers on smart growth principles. One of the key issues the center will focus on is improving and maintaining the infrastructure of many cities. As for meeting their criteria, ULI “does not lobby,” Rosen said. “We do celebrate best practices.”According to Howe, the center is looking to provide service to all areas from the Rockies to the Pacific Ocean. “The center plans to identify 5-7 projects,” Howe said. “We are very concerned about not being too California-centric, but rather having a western region focus.”

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