The Urban Land Institute (“ULI”) recently published a report focused on the pressing need to conscientiously incorporate racial equity into real estate development. This report is a result of a workshop held in November, where ULI members discussed the importance of the industry’s continued evolution in order to meet the changing expectations of our communities and rising societal challenges. This implementation of racial equity has become a benchmark for development, similar to the way sustainability strategies have in recent years. However, this is not just a trend — ULI’s group of industry professionals highlighted the business case for racial equity and the power of equity-focused approaches to add value to assets and increase their competitiveness among other industry players.
BRE’s Director of Operations for the US Breana Wheeler had the opportunity/privilege to participate in this workshop, complementing work already being done at BREEAM considering Social Impact across the family of standards. BREEAM’s goal is to help create a built environment that goes beyond environmental performance metrics to one that balances environment while consciously contributing to the long-term economic growth, health and wellbeing, resilience and cohesion of people and communities. BREEAM’s report on how Social Impact is represented in BREEAM at present goes in depth on several objectives, such as:
- Encouraging social impacts and equity to be a key consideration at each life cycle stage of the built environment.
- Driving the delivery of positive social impacts and value as an output from the development and operation of built environment assets.
- Contributing to and encouraging industry innovation in the assessment and measurement of built environment related social impacts.
- Rewarding built environment assets that generate positive social impact and value.
- Incentivizing the development and operation of socially equitable places.
Historically, the real estate industry has held a significant role in the creation and perpetuation of racial injustices that we still see today. As an industry, it is our duty and obligation to improve upon this foundation of racial equity in order to move forward responsibly to best meet the challenges of the future.
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