Advisory Services

Regarding the recent Advisory Services panel for Downtown Tampa, FL –

“The expertise that the ULI panel brought was invaluable. It gave us a fresh perspective grounded in reality and provided us with a blueprint for our urban development. I couldn’t be happier.”
– Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Tampa, FL


ULI advisory services panels provide strategic advice to sponsors on land use and real estate development issues. Panels link developers, public agencies, and other sponsors to the knowledge and experience of ULI and its membership.

Established in 1947, this fee-based program has completed over 600 panels, in 47 states, 12 countries, and 4 continents. Sponsors praise panels for their comprehensive, pragmatic approach to solving land use challenges.

For Chinese version of advisory services click here.

Panel Options

ULI offers six panel options to meet the needs of your land use challenges. All panels share the following characteristics:

  • You, the sponsor, define the scope to insure that panels meet your needs.
  • ULI provides an objective, seasoned team of professionals.
  • Panel recommendations build on previous studies, initiatives and plans.
  • You receive the high quality product for which ULI is known.

Panel options match the scope and character of each assignment, including:

Sustainable Development Panel

Sustainable Development Panels, ULI’s newest advisory services tools, equips sponsors to understand, plan, and implement sustainable development principles at the policy and project level. Sustainable development panels advise you on how to create a clear sustainability vision for your project and effectively balance the economic, social, and environmental legs of the three-legged sustainability stool. Sustainable development panel sponsors also receive a comprehensive sustainability briefing package prepared by ULI’s research team and an on-site post-panel follow-up strategy session within one year of the panel’s presentation.

Deliverable: Sustainability Briefing Book, Full-Color Report, On-Site Post-Panel Follow-Up Strategy Session

Five-Day Panel

Five-day panels, Advisory Services’ flagship program, engage 8-9 ULI members for a full week on-site to explore and respond to your assignment. Five-day panels offer the most in-depth look at your project and feature a full-day of confidential interviews with stakeholders and community leaders. Five-day panels usually conclude with a well-attended public presentation.

Deliverable: Full-Color Panel Report

Three-Day Panel

Three-day panels offer a detailed look at a specific assignment. On three-day panels, 4-5 ULI members provide you with recommendations as you begin to form strategies for addressing difficult land use issues. This “SWOT team” approach will help you focus in on the critical decisions that need to be made and formulate some key action items for you to implement. Three-day panels usually conclude with a well-attended public presentation.

Deliverable: Black and White Panel Report

One-and-a-Half-Day Panel

One-and-a-half-day panel offers advice on a very specific land use challenge. A team of 2-3 ULI members or staff visit your site and make recommendations on a specific development project or land use policy. These panels often feature ULI’s Senior Resident Fellows, distinguished experts providing leadership in land use policy and practice in the areas of finance, retail, transportation, housing, urban development, and urban policy.

Deliverable: Summary Panel Report in B&W

Project Analysis Session

Project analysis sessions offer a two-hour “over-the-shoulder” look at your project at ULI’s Spring Council Forum or Fall Meeting. A team of four or five ULI members spend time with you reviewing your project and providing feedback on specific issues related to your plans. Project Analysis Sessions often help to define assignments for subsequent three or five day panels. Space is limited, so sponsors are encouraged to contact the Advisory Services staff well in advance of the meeting.

Deliverable: Audio Tape

Specialized Services

ULI will work with all potential sponsors to define a program to meet its needs. We recognize that each sponsor is unique with a set of issues that are very important to the specific community. ULI staff will work with you to define a process that will meet your needs and provide you with the momentum for moving forward. Specialized services include approaches as varied as two hours with ULI staff at its headquarters, extended sessions with research directors or senior resident fellows or a two day overnight visit by ULI staff or an extended visit to a specific site. It may also include a more elaborate series of panels over a period of months.

Deliverable: Varies

Local Technical Assistance Panel

Many ULI District Councils offer short panels conducted by local members. TAPs offer an opportunity to engage your local land use community in exploring a development project, policy, or challenge. Panelists are usually members of the local ULI District Council. Information for TAPS is available on the individual websites for our District Councils.

Deliverable: Varies by District Council

Panel Process

Step 1: Contact Advisory Services
Start the panel process by contacting advisory services at or +1 202 624 7000. Staff option for your assignment, provide you with sample report will help you select the right reports, and schedule a visit to your site to discuss the panel process. You can also complete the application form and E-mail it to advisory services.

Step 2: Define the Assignment
Once you decide to undertake a panel, advisory services staff will help you define the panel’s assignment and create a list of questions for the panel to answer. The final assignment becomes part of the panel contract.

Step 3: Advance Preparation
You, the sponsor, and ULI both work hard to prepare for the panel’s visit. Your advance preparation responsibilities include:

Briefing Book: You prepare a briefing book that outlines the assignment, study area history, demographics, past studies, and other background information essential to the panel’s work. You mail the briefing book directly to each panel member approximately two weeks before the panel’s arrival on site.

Resource Materials: You prepare on-site reference materials for use during the panel’s visit. Reference materials include previous reports, large-scale maps, and other reference materials. ULI returns resource materials at the end of the panel’s visit.

ULI’s advance preparation responsibilities include:

Chair and Panel Selection:
ULI selects a chair and panel with the experience and knowledge required to respond to the assignment. ULI provides biographies of the panel to you in advance of the panel’s visit.

Logistics Planning: ULI plans most logistics for the panel’s visit, with the exception of the First Night Dinner, Monday Reception, Briefing, Tour, and Final Presentation. ULI books all hotel and meeting space for the panel and coordinates travels and meals.

Step 4: The Panel Week

First Night Dinner: You arrange dinner on the first night for the sponsor team and the panel. The dinner provides an opportunity for panel members to speak informally with your sponsor team, learn about the local climate, and explore your objectives for the week. ULI will absorb the dinner cost of the panelists and ULI staff.

Sponsor Briefing: On the first full day of the assignment, your representatives brief the panel on the study area and the specific details of the assignment. This briefing should include a history of the study area, an overview of the issues, and a discussion of expectations.

Study Area Tour: Following the briefing, you lead a carefully planned and narrated a tour of the study area. Your sponsor team, and additional resource people, if necessary, should accompany the tour to answer the panel’s questions. You arrange appropriate transportation for the tour and provide a hand-held map of the study area for each panelist.

Reception: During a 5-day assignment, you are encouraged to host an hour-and-a-half reception on Monday evening for the panel and local stakeholders. The reception allows stakeholders to meet the panel in an informal setting and learn more about the panel’s assignment and agenda. A sponsor representative and the panel chair usually provide brief remarks.

Interviews: You prepare a list of local resource people and schedule times for them to meet with the panel. The number of people the panel talks to depends on the assignment and the panel format. The list may include members of the private sector, community leaders, political leaders, local residents, key officials of public agencies, and any other individuals who might provide information and insight to the panel. ULI staff will work with you to compile this list.

Panel Deliberations: After the briefing, tour, and interviews, the panel engages in private deliberations to develop recommendations. The time allotted for deliberations varies depending on the panel format.

Final Presentation: You secure a location for the final presentation. If it is a public presentation, the room should have a stage or podium from which the panel can address the audience and should have audio/video capabilities. Generally, if the presentation is public, about 100 people can be expected. The hotel ballroom, city council chambers, or a local venue such as a library, church or club auditorium can be used. If the presentation is a closed meeting, a conference room in the hotel or at the sponsor’s office may be used.

Step 5: Report Preparation
ULI will prepare a final report detailing the panel’s findings and recommendations presented on the final day of the assignment. The sponsor reviews a draft for the correctness of factual information and ULI then produces a final report. There are no substantive changes to the recommendations from the final presentation to the final report; therefore a sponsor can begin implementation immediately!

Step 6: Follow-Up
ULI can help you connect with the local ULI District Council and other resources to plan follow-up strategies after the panel. ULI can also contract with you to provide future panel services to build on the panel’s recommendations.

Technical Assistance Panels

Technical Assistance Programs (TAPs) are part of the Advisory Services Program. TAPs were specifically designed to be run and implemented by District Councils. Advisory Services offers several options – project analysis sessions, fellows advisory panels, on-site analysis sessions, five-day panels, technical assistance programs, advisory workshops, and special services. All of these have four characteristics in common:

  • A scope defined by the sponsor to ensure that their needs are met;
  • An objective team of seasoned professionals who have addressed similar issues;
  • Recommendations that build on what you have already done; and,
  • The high-quality outcome for which ULI is known

Contact Us

Colin Galloway
Vice President, Content, Asia Pacific
+852 9202 8381

Tom Eitler
Senior Vice President, Advisory Services
+1 202 624 7186


About Advisory Services