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Great Cities Start with Great Streets: The Urban Land Institute Endorses the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide

Jun 11, 2014

NEW YORK (June 11, 2014) — The Urban Land Institute, a global research and education institute dedicated to responsible land use and creating sustainable communities, is endorsing the Urban Street Design Guide, published last year by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO). The guide embraces the unique and complex challenge of designing urban streets, emphasizing the instrumental role of people-oriented land use and transportation policy in creating prosperous, livable cities.

The guide’s emphasis on making alternative transportation modes accessible and safe reflects a trend toward making cities more people-friendly and less car-centric, according to ULI Global Chief Executive Officer Patrick L. Phillips. “Great cities start with great streets,” he said. “The Urban Street Design Guide upends long-held notions about how people get around in cities, and offers practical, well-thought recommendations on how to make streets more inviting. ULI is pleased to endorse the publication as a useful tool in the creation of cities that are economically prosperous, environmentally conscious and highly livable.”

The guide, available at and in a print edition from Island Press, provides a detailed set of design strategies for creating healthy urban streets, including language on lane widths, storm water management, sidewalks, and complex intersections. The guide, written by cities and for cities, was developed to reflect the expertise of the nation’s foremost engineers, planners, and designers working in cities today.

“ULI’s endorsement is a strong statement about the importance of great street design,” said Linda Bailey, NACTO Executive Director. “The land use community is an indispensable partner in urban design, and we look forward to working with ULI members to bring projects to fruition all over the country.”

“In endorsing the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide, ULI is signaling the complementary and interrelated nature of innovative transportation policy and sustainable urban development,” remarked Ed Reiskin, NACTO President and Director of Transportation for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. “In San Francisco, public rights-of-way, including streets and sidewalks, comprise 25% of the land area, representing a tremendous opportunity to change the urban landscape by redesigning streets. For cities of the future to meet our common vision, we must work strategically and collaboratively at the nexus of land use and transportation.”

“Innovative street design standards aren’t just necessities for city officials, they’re an essential resource for tens of thousands of planning professionals, developers and academics training the next generation of urban planners,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, NACTO Chair. “This endorsement sets the guide as the gold standard for streets in modern land use and urban development and it extends its reach into the private sector and into the classroom.”

Gabe Klein, who serves as a member of NACTO’s Strategic Advisory Board and as a ULI Senior Visiting Fellow, endorsed the guide as commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation. “This design guide gives planners and engineers around the U.S. solid urban standards they can rely on, and which policy makers can count on for sustainable, safe, inviting and therefore business- and people-friendly streets for current users and future generations,” Klein said.

ULI’s endorsement of the guide is based on the recommendations of a ULI review committee. The committee concluded that NACTO’s process for developing the guide, which drew upon successful models that can be replicated, is consistent with ULI’s tradition of knowledge sharing and highlighting best practices.  ULI’s endorsement will be used to raise awareness of the guide among ULI’s membership, which includes more than 30,000 individuals worldwide, representing land use and development professionals in private enterprise and public service.

In endorsing the Urban Street Design Guide, ULI joins a growing list of cities, states, and organizations in support of safe, sustainable, and economically vibrant streets and cities. To date, 37 cities and 5 states have endorsed the guide, along with the Association of Bicycle & Pedestrian Professionals.


About the National Association of City Transportation Officials

NACTO is an association of 34 cities formed to exchange transportation ideas, insights and practices and cooperatively approach national transportation issues. Members include Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, DC. Affiliate members of NACTO include Arlington (VA), Austin, Boulder, Burlington (VT), Cambridge, Fort Lauderdale, Hoboken, Indianapolis, Louisville, Memphis, Oakland, Salt Lake City, Somerville (MA), and Ventura (CA). International members include Toronto and Vancouver.

About the Urban Land Institute

The Urban Land Institute ( is a global non-profit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has more than 32,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.