Research Funded by LEF


$5,000 | April 2018 | Chicago

The initial printing of No Small Plans was meaningful and well received, a follow-up request for a second printing plus teacher instructions were requested.  In-part due to the efforts of the Chicago Architecture Foundation, the resource document is being posted on-line for other communities to undertake a similar historic approach for similar reasons with appropriate credits given to the Lambda Alpha International.

Chicago Architectural Foundation
Chicago Plan Commission
Chicago Public Schools
Chicago Public Library
American Planning Association
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs
Illinois Humanities Council
Wacker Manuel Advisory Committee


$10,000 | Arpil 2018 | Florida

Study to address and provide access to update analysis tools and approaches for understanding the fundamentals of land valuation.  More recently identified as Sugar Access, the analysis will explore information update available annually at various destinations broadly including street land speed data.  The information is applicable for real property tax purposes, mortgage underwriting, transportation planners and land use prospects.  The study will allow accessibility measures to employment centers, points of interest and commuting times for business endeavors.  Included will be a comparison of house price trends accuracy based on measure of distance, travel time data and overall automobile accessibility.

Total Budget: $93,500

Florida Atlantic University
University of Geneva


$15,000 | April 2018 | San Diego

A market study is needed addressing the prospects of a cross border entry center allowing both private and public sector entities to conduct business at a central business center along the US/Mexico border as an acceptable location along the San Diego County line. The challenge is creating a situs where academic and business collaborators can share business and social cultures solving problems and issues for mutual benefit. The San Diego Association of Governments estimates the loss of $7.5 billion in economic benefits due to a lack of a common meeting ground. Development of Dos Puertas has been maturing since 2011, now a real possibility with US Government encouragement. The project lacks only a formal study to present to all entities required to approve the concept, location, construction funding and concept implementation.

Total Budget:  $20,000

University of California, San Diego
San Diego Chamber of Commerce
Tijuana Development Corporation
Nettleton Strategies
Dos Puertas Strategic Development Team
Xpera Group (LAI San Diego)


$5,000 | April 2017 | Chicago

The project will fund and distribute to 30,000 Chicago students, grades 7 thru 10, over the next three years the publishing of No Small Plans which is a 144-page graphic novel that follows the adventures of young, primarily low income people in Chicago’s past, present and future as they wrestle with why design natters.  Specifically what it takes to design and steward the City they want.  Using the City as a canvas, the Chicago Architectural Foundation will work with students and teachers to explore urban planning, they will categorize civic engagement and stewardship through partnerships with the Chicago Public Schools and Public Library.  The collective efforts of all involved resulted in the book being printed by the end of June and is being distributed throughout the Chicago Public Schools system.

Total Budget:  $140,940

Chicago Architectural Foundation
Chicago Plan Commission
Chicago Public Schools
Chicago Public  Library
American Planning Association
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs
Illinois Humanities Council
Wacker Manuel Advisory Committee


$16,500 | April 2017 | Seattle

Office buildings are diverse in their physical characteristics and amenities, in recent years sustainability comes in the form of LEED O&M and/or Energy  Star as this become important in achieving lower occupancies as well as higher rents. The next most important aspect of achieving a healthy marketplace situation is the well being of the tenants.  The University of Washington has heath profiles on approximately 2,000 individuals roughly one quarter of whom work in office buildings in the Seattle locale.  The business plan proposes to monitor daily activity through either accelerometers or GPS devices for a minimum period of one week observing their travel diary, activities and socioeconomic characteristics, relating these attributes and perceptions as to the services and amenities provided in their respective work places.  The research project will ascertain the relationship between building characteristics/operating expenses, the well being of the occupants, as well as the performance of the office structures in the marketplace.

Total Budget:  $96,500

University of Washington
National Institute of Health
BOMA Seattle King County


$15,000 Ι Fall 2016 Ι Chicago

The proposed joint effort will involve professional digitization of selected major City plans from Chicago’s past century history; creation of a high-quality website site to make plans and studies available to planners, students and the general public along with a short narrative to explain their significance.  The project to include the development of scope, criteria, policies, guidelines and cost for systematic collection of non-governmental city planning currently archived by Chicago’s planning department for permanent preservation.  Project is a joint endeavor between the Ely Chapter and the Newberry Library, an independent, internationally known research source available to the public.

Total Budget:  $19,700

Newberry Library
ELY Chapter (LAI)


$20,000 Ι Fall 2016 Ι Mount Vernon (New York)

Positioned in the central core of the City of Mount Vernon are two historic blocks.  Significant funds ($173,000) have been expended to-date with two other sites under redevelopment to revitalize and improve access to the downtown core of Mount Vernon.  The case study proposed are the central town blocks of the City which link abutting sites, this corridor is lined with historic structures which are to remain, but with guidance can become viable mixed use, low density properties.  The study to focus on the optimum usage of this cultural sector of the community to ensure compatible preservation of its history yet link with new construction on each flank

Total Budget:  $23,000

Mount Vernon Urban Renewal
Private Sector Contributions


$15,000 | Spring 2016 | Chapel Hill, NC

This research project will test hypotheses designed to explain the variation in economic well-being among central cities in larger U.S. metro areas; the research has six unique features recaptured below.

  • Most land economics research has taken an intra-metropolitan focus, this analysis is intermetropolitan.
  • The metro area is an appropriate unit of analysis because each one approximates a functional economic area, and collectively metro areas account for over 90% of U.S. GDP. Independent variables and control variables are measured at the metro level.
  • A dynamic version of economic base theory is used to formulate hypotheses. This straightforward economic development theory will enable urban planners, local economic developers, policy makers, and real estate professionals to grasp the research findings more readily.
  • For each metro area’s central city, well-being is measured with indicators of median household income, households in poverty, and downtown capitalization rates for Class A office properties which are a proxy for differences in land values.
  • Although this cross-sectional analysis is not causal, the independent variables precede the dependent variables. The former are measured for years between 1980 and 2005. The dependent variables are measured based on recent census data.
  • This comparative study that includes both declining and growing central cities in metro areas should provide stronger results upon which to assess policies or programs for urban revitalization.

One major barrier limiting effective revitalization strategies is the tendency that exists among practitioners to imitate, each using a different version of the same approach. By seeing the findings for their place in comparison to other places, practitioners should be better able to formulate unique strategies tailored for their locale.

Total Budget:  $33,198

Department of City and Regional
Planning, University of North Carolina
Institute for Economic Development


$7,500 | Spring 2016 |Portland, OR

The decision on how best to allocate land around transit stations is a debated topic, with transit officials often opting for park-and-ride lots over active uses such as multifamily housing, office, and retail organized into transit-oriented developments (TODs).  Providing large park-and-ride lots has been the default strategy to maximize transit ridership in the short-run, but may be the best strategy in the long run.  The debate continues when land is developed with officials usually assuming that TODs require the same number of parking spaces as conventional development, and that transit stations require the same number of park-and-ride spaces as non-TOD stations, even if much of the travel demand is captured internally and much of the transit demand is generated by TODs themselves.  It is essential that an updated comprehensive undertaking and study of trip and parking generation by this new style of development is developed and disseminated to policy makers, planning practitioners, transit agencies, and developers.

Total Budget:  $39,732

University of Utah
National Institute for Transportation & Communities
Utah Transit Authority
Utah Department of Transportation
Wasatch Front Regional Council


$18,500 | Spring 2016 | Palos Verdes Estates

Malaga Plaza is one of the oldest examples of a Public/Private Partnership, where the buildings are owned privately and the common parking, circulation and vehicular access routes are owned by the City.  Over the ensuing 60 years, the Plaza has transitioned to effectively an office park, the extent of commercial space is the post office, two banks, one coffee shop and a small market; as a practical matter, there are no retail or service providers in-place.  Current office tenancies require either all day, or prolonged periods of parking rights, there is a shortage of parking due to the current tenant mix.

It is proposed to repopulate portions of the ground floor space with the type of retail service providers that occupied the center the first 3 decades, key and well established real estate brokerage firms to remain due in part to high visibility and major tenant improvements, there are blocks of ground level space well suited to other users than office, there is ample second level space available and vacant.  It is also proposed to install parking lot lighting as none exists at present, as well as in front of the individual structures which have overhead canopy covering walkway, pedestrian friendly landscaping enhancement and walkways, and create additional parking in two areas now in open space to alleviate parking constraints.  This assumes the cost versus benefits study is favorable; the second phase is the implementation.

Total Budget:  $27,000

LAI Los Angeles Chapter
City of Palos Verdes Estates
Malaga Cove Plaza Business and Professional Association


$12,311 | Spring 2016 | Treasure Island, FL

Like many established beachfront communities around the country, the City of Treasure Island is in need of revitalization. The City is located on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, connected to the mainland by a short causeway. Its economy has always depended heavily on attracting tourists to its beaches on the Gulf of Mexico.  In the absence of the City reconsidering their land use plan and other forward-thinking policies, the City has fallen into decline. If new land use and infrastructure policies are not implemented, the City will become obsolete, driving away tourists from the City and nearby beach communities, contributing to a continued downward spiral.

The proposed research will study the economic impacts of a variety of land use and infrastructure changes, using the City of Treasure Island as a case study. The methodologies developed and the implications of the results can be used by other communities and economic development agencies facing similar situations. The project will explore three topics: 1) a change in commercial zoning; 2) a revision of residential land use regulations; and 3) alternative options to promote sustainable growth. A variety of methodologies will be used to evaluate these topics from their cost and revenue-generating potential as well as their economy-wide effects.

Total Budget:  $21,061

University of Southern Florida St. Petersburg
University of Tampa
City of Treasure Island
Tampa Bay Regional Council


$20,000 Ι Spring 2015 Ι New Mexico

The ZIA Chapter of LAI is assisting the City of Santa Fe through a partnership with the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce and Santa Fe Association of Realtors, on a project to revitalize the St. Michael’s Drive corridor of Santa Fe.  This major artery is anchored by the Santa Fe University of Arts & Design on the west and by the Cristus-St. Vincent Regional Medical Center to the east.  The corridor linking these anchors is surrounded by older, underdeveloped properties approximately 73% of which are parking lots.  The City of Santa Fe desires to facilitate this area’s revitalization. The Zia Chapter workgroup is now in the process of reviewing the plans, sketches, summaries, etcetera, performed to date.  The visions are consistent and agree that housing is the first critical development need and the catalyst for transformation.  The city is seeking economic analysis input from the Zia Chapter to identify and test the right incentives that will work to catalyze redevelopment.

Total Budget:  $40,000

LAI – New Mexico Chapter
City of Santa Fe
Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce
Santa Fe Association of Realtors



$5,000 Ι Fall 2014 Ι Chicago

Planning Chicago is in published form, in part funded by LEF/LAI with a collaborative effort by the City Chapter and the American Planning Association (APA).  Planning Chicago is now being utilized in various planning, architecture, urban economics, and real estate academic programs.  To address the preferences and needs of both student and other readers, the authors proposed to APA the creation of an e-book.  This will however entail the gathering of permissions and the payment of reproduction fees for exhibits, maps, pictures, etc.  The authors have been begun the work on the solicitation of permissions; APA has provided the necessary legal forms to be utilized and the authors have updated the original publications permission contact information and assigned responsibilities.  The goal will be to gather all permissions and accept same in second quarter 2015, the move into a production of the e-book in multiple electronic formats in summer 2015.  This will enable promotion of the e-book format in advance of fall 2015 – ahead of the beginning of the academic year.  The efforts of APA staff and authors are on a voluntary basis.

Total Budget:  $5,000

LAI – Chicago Chapter
American Planning Association

Capitalizing on transit accessibility

$5,000 Ι Fall 2013 Ι Salt Lake City

An initial publication to be prepared, to be followed by a series of articles, ultimately to present the results at several national conferences.  Since the early 1970’s, there has been studies that show light rail impacts on property values almost universally.  A computation and consensus will be prepared on the type of real estate product generating the highest premium, as well as the potential magnitude of these gains.  The study will recognize there are regional differences in impact, regression analysis will be applied to address these variables.

Total Budget:  $31,250

University of Utah
Cornell University
University of North Carolina
University of Pennsylvania
University of New Orleans


$5,000 Ι Fall 2013 Ι Atlanta

Similar to the Planning Chicago endeavor, this study is a compilation of past, present and prospective planning activities in the broader Atlanta region.  The end product of this effect, in partnership with the American Planning Association (ADA) is a presentation in the Spring of 2014 at both the Atlanta LEW, as well as APA spring conference in Chicago.  The background will address success and failures of previous planning efforts to ascertain why Atlanta became the focal point on the southeast, and more importantly, its prominent role in the future of the region.

Total Budget:  $39,900

LAI – Atlanta Chapter
American Planning Association
University of Michigan
Atlanta Regional Commission


$30,000 Ι Spring 2013 Ι Toronto

In a joint partnership with the American Real Estate Society, the sixth volume under the Journal of Sustainable Real Estate will focus on property values and environmental factors.  The impact of negative environmental influences (leaking underground storage tanks, superfund sites, landfills, water and air pollutions, power lines, pipeline ruptures, etc.) will be contrasted with the positive effects of such factors as beach access, views, parkland areas, etc.  The long term affects of each category will be measured economically on the impact on properties and long term sustainable real estate practices.

Total Budget:  $60,000

LAI – Toronto Chapter
American Real Estate Society
Florida International University
University of San Diego
University of North Carolina


$10,000 Ι Fall 2012 Ι Toronto

Currently there are land use planning conflicts throughout America in larger urban regions, the results of competing interests for sites previously dominated by manufacturing.  Conversion of underutilized industrial regions to other uses negates the renaissance presently being experienced, land use policies need to be re-examined with active preservation and redevelopment versus recycling put in-place.  The major cities of Boston, Toronto, Chicago and New York will be the case study cities used to evaluate industrial land preservation efforts.  The project will be researched with the end product published by the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson University in Toronto.

Total Budget:  $15,000

Ryerson University


$5,000 Ι Fall 2012 Ι Chicago

Second in a series of city-specific publications by the American Planning Association, the book is oriented primarily to educate planners and the general public on the effectiveness of theory versus practice.  Planning Chicago will show how the City was shaped by planning ideology, administrative and political decisions about land usage, coupled with choices about the use of resources.  The book will address the tensions and cross-currents of Chicago’s history and demonstrate why the City has thrived while other northern communities have not.  The background will allow the critical role of planning for future challenges to be addressed, particularly for a city effectively built out with reduced new development prospects, undergoing demographic changes and changing design concerns.

Total Budget:  $54,500

LAI – Chicago Chapter
American Planning Association


$10,000 Ι Fall 2011 Ι Memphis

Sustainable real estate is a growing sector of the real estate market, but lacking consistency as to performance measurements and reporting standards. LEF has committed funds to extend a research project to define both public and private sector criteria to evaluate the standards needed to ascertain the environmental merits of LEED (us) and BREEM (uk) projects. This second phase component of the project will involve LAI members; the concluding third phase is the correlated narrative results to be implemented and published by the Pennell Center for Real Estate Development at Clemson University.

Total Budget:  $20,000

Clemson University
Counselors of Real Estate

John Marshall Law School

$7,500 Ι Spring 2011 Ι Chicago

Identified as the Kratovil Conference on Real Estate Law & Practice: “40th Anniversary of our Quiet Revolution in Land Use Regulation”, this one day seminar will be hosted by the Law School in Chicago, along with LAI members from the Ely and Hawaii Chapters; the conference will focus on Land Use Regulation, Real Estate Ownership and Development. This high profile endeavor will involve interaction between scholars, leading practitioners, real estate attorneys and industry leaders. The collateral efforts of LAI participants and national exposure through various media outlets are a plus to the organization.

Total Budget:  $73,250

LAI – Chicago Chapter
American College of Real Estate Lawyers

Burnham Centennial Celebration

$30,000 Ι Fall 2009 Ι Chicago

Funded over a four-year period with matching funds from the Ely Chapter, the project allowed Lambda Alpha to directly participate in the presentation of the project in 2009 and share in the promotional benefits of this historic undertaking. Chicago was masterplanned under the leadership of Daniel Burnham, who went on to prepare plans for San Francisco, the National Capital in Washington, Manila, etc. The impacts of this plan are still being felt by planners nationally and, especially, in Chicago where it continues to be viewed as a guide by both the private and public sectors. A textbook resulted from the Chapter’s involvement and has become a recognized resource document.

Total Budget:  $200,000

LAI – Chicago Chapter
18 Other Partners

San Miguel de Allende Land Use Study (SMASH)

$10,000 Ι Spring 2009 Ι International

A technical workshop involving fifteen participants from multiple disciplines was assembled in Mexico to provide guidance for urban growth patterns, transportation, water management, conservation, etc. for this community of 80,000 people. LEF participated with six alliance partners. This colonial town in central Mexico is a haven for international visitors, retirees and US second-home expatriates. The prospects for urban sprawl threaten to undermine the quality of the community, the end-product of the workshop provided the local leadership with guidelines to oversee an orderly and disciplined growth pattern.

Total Budget:  $50,000

LAI – Specific Members
Technical Alliance Workshops
Harvard University
San Miguel Municipal Government
Urban Land Institute
Riordan Foundation

Light Rail Value Impacts

$5,000 Ι Fall 2008 Ι Phoenix

With the completion and now operational Light Rail system in Phoenix, the Foundation underwrote the cost of updating a ULI study addressing the impact on land uses and values surrounding the stations along the new rail line. A Master’s Thesis was submitted and published by Arizona State University; the study revealed and measured the impact on lands surrounding the METRO stations both in terms of intensity of development as well as the inherent appreciation in property pricing. The information was segmented by community as surrounding land uses affected the ability to recycle land and the constraints on value potential.

Total Budget:  $49,100

LAI – Phoenix Chapter
Arizona State University
Maricopa Association of Governments
Urban Land Institute

Ross Minority Program in Real Estate

$4,500 Ι Spring 2007 Ι Los Angeles

USC Marshall School of Business; School of Policy Planning & Development meet twice each year; the spring session is a two-week resident program, the six-week winter program is for non-residents and lasts for six weeks. This Certificate Program is an intensively comprehensive, educational program that is designed to provide minority urban developers with the technical expertise and access to resources needed to develop significant urban real estate projects in their communities. The format provides real estate development and finance education for minority entrepreneurs and professionals. It was founded in 1993 by the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles, USC and others interested in redevelopment. Sponsored by USC, it has graduated over 500 leaders in urban revitalization; LEF has participated on a co-sponsor basis.

Total Budget:  $9,000

LAI – Los Angeles Chapter
LA Community Redevelopment Agency
University of Southern California

Arizona State University Graduate Student Chapter

$5,000 Ι Fall 2006 Ι Phoenix

Implemented and monitored by LAI’s Phoenix Chapter, a real estate based graduate student sub-chapter has been successfully formed. Funded on a matching basis by the local chapter, the students enjoy the benefits of real estate community involvement, networking, and clearly a more practical understanding of our industry through monthly meetings plus an annual conference with MIT’s real estate school. The program is in effect and has become a resource for future LAI membership.

Total Budget:  $10,000

LAI – Phoenix Chapter
College of Design
Urban Land Institute
Arizona State University

San Diego Canyonlands Video

$5,000 Ι Spring 2006 Ι San Diego

This information/education video was concluded and aired on San Diego cabled television stations to further the community’s knowledge on maintaining environmentally significant canyon areas and linking these connectors with nearby urbanizing areas. The preservation of vital open space areas is necessary to maintaining the ecosystems of the county; a mitigation program is now in effect in the County.

Total Budget:  $40,000

University of California @ San Diego
San Diego Foundation
County of San Diego Planning Department
Estrada Land Planning

Safe Horizon

$5,000 Ι April 2006 Ι New York

The Foundation funded $2,500 in the Spring of 2006; another $2,500 in the Fall was matched by another non-profit entity. This Housing Mediation Program was initiated in operation at three Domestic Violence Shelters in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and has been expanded into a 40-hour training program for volunteer mediators. This program has subsequently been expanded nationwide to assist underprivileged/under-educated residents with aggressive landlords, funding support from the IBM Foundation

Total Budget:  $10,000

Sage House Domestic Violence Shelters
New York Cares
New York Board of Education
IBM Foundation