UBRI has been working  in the region with the School for over 30 years, pursuing public scholarship with community constituencies at the intersection of public policy, urban planning, urban design, architecture, and  real estate development. We understand that together these  ways of working are an essential part of the solution to build  stronger regional economies with better places for all people. UBRI guides decision making, design, and strategic planning  with implementation assistance for our local, regional, state, and national partners. We take an objective approach to understanding complex issues, and we translate this understanding into useful  and relevant information for the communities we serve. We are grounded in the disciplines of research and analysis. We contribute to evidence-based planning and design and work with our partners to implement, evaluate, and collectively solve problems to ensure stronger economic futures for all.

What We Do

We help communities make informed decisions through:

We perform objective data collection, analysis, and evaluation to help communities understand where they are today, and guide strategic decision-making and evidence-based planning and design for the future.

The best information comes from those closest to the subject matter. We ensure broad and meaningful public participation around planning and design, and facilitate informed and active civic discussion.

We develop strategic action plans so communities can address needs and grow opportunities uncovered through data and engagement.

We anticipate and resolve challenges and provide specific technical assistance to build capacity within communities.

We help communities tell their own stories. We make complex data understandable and present information clearly and effectively to drive action.

How We Do It

We collaborate with others in placemaking, innovation, talent and sustainability. UBRI serves residents, businesses, governments, non-profits and philanthropic organizations. Working alongside community members, foundation staff, government officials and policy leaders, we draw from diverse perspectives and offer innovative and individualized solutions to drive change and progress for our funders, clients and partners.

We connect the dots for maximum collective impact to build effective ecosystems. Regional economic growth will not happen if we work in silos. We work across initiatives— promoting and connecting strategies, and focusing on building the larger ecosystem that will be critical for long term growth. Our networks within the university, businesses, nonprofits, foundation community and public sector, and our deep local knowledge and history of regional planning make us uniquely positioned to take on this role. We look at the big picture, find efficiencies, facilitate learning opportunities, and capitalize on the areas where it makes the most sense to work collaboratively. There are individual organizations and agencies doing great work. As planners and designers, we don’t do all the work ourselves, but we work to empower others who are experts in the field and embedded in the community to maximize collective action. This has led to some of the most comprehensive, collaborative, strategic and effective approaches in recent years.

We empower the voices of the community. Sustaining broad support and ongoing input for projects requires effective engagement with the general public. This is accomplished by providing clear and compelling communication about projects, but even more importantly, providing opportunities for citizens to provide meaningful input. We use a variety of methods to gather community input including stakeholder meetings, focus groups, community workshops, surveys and many other methods. We maximize participation through methods such as multilingual surveys; leveraging networks of partner community groups; and creating engaging materials. Through feedback from citizens and stakeholders, we strive to tell a community’s story that is authentic and elevates the importance of the community’s role in transforming the economy.

Read about our history.