Friday, October 22, 2010

@ ULI Fall Conference 2010

Ever since I first heard the iconic exchange between Mohanlal and Sreenivasan that concerned the distance between two American cities, I had wanted to visit the Capital of the US (and the World, as many DC-ers claim). After a couple of decades, the opportunity to visit the quintessential capital city came last week when I attended the Fall Conference of the Urban Land Institute,  the world's top real estate and urban development forum.

Other than a whistle stop tour of the city and listening to a bunch of interesting presentations, I also got the opportunity of interacting with the leadership of some of the top real estate developers in the world including Forest City, Tishman Speyer and Boston Properties. Of course, what I wanted to understand most is their approach to international expansion, which seemed to be getting back on track after a spell of suspended animation during the worst of the Recession. And India is pretty much right on top of the priority, and there could even be some good news specifically for Trivandrum. Stay tuned on that!

I also had a chance to meet up with representatives of a leading urban planning and development organization, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, which works with Governments and advocacy groups, like TDF, to promote sustainable transportation and urban design paradigms. I hope to have some interaction with them on getting a mass transit plan for Trivandrum rolling. On the same lines, MIT has recently tied up with Volvo for a new Center of Excellence on Bus Rapid Transit, and this is a resource that I hope to leverage for Trivandrum in the near future. More on these and other discoveries from the first six weeks at MIT soon!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Reporting Back!

This is probably the longest time that I have been off the grid since I started writing this blog. Due apologies for being offline so long but getting used to the grind of the world's best institution of higher learning has taken its toll on my creative time. However, proverbially, I am back!

In the meantime, I have been having a lot of conversations about a bunch of topics of interest to this blog, and hopefully, to you, its readers. Some of the areas that MIT has been giving me a crash course on include Urban Design and Development, City Planning theory and the various aspects of Real Estate Development. Not only is the time spent here an opportunity to interact with some of the world's leading thinkers in urban design and development, but also to make elevator pitches about Trivandrum to some of the world's leading real estate firms. For example, at the 25th Anniversary of my current alma mater, the Center for Real Estate at MIT, some of the speakers included the owners of two multi-billion dollar real estate giants - Hines and Boston Properties. Next week,  I am off to the Fall Meeting of the Urban Land Institute in Washington D.C., where the Whos-Who of the US real estate industry congregate. Opportunity beckons! In the meantime, I am hoping to get at least one new article out, stay tuned!