Kansas City ULI Chair Lynn Carlton Shares Goals for Giving Back
HOK’s Lynn Carlton describes how she uses her expertise as an urban planner and position as local Urban Land Institute chair to give back to her Kansas City community.
What are your goals for ULI?
“We’ve started Technical Assistance Panels where we take eight member volunteers representing every different discipline from planner, landscape architect and architect to banker, developer, real estate lawyer and broker. They all volunteer a full day of their time and the city submits an issue or a challenge they’ve had that they haven’t been able to overcome. We come together, meet all the stakeholders, tour the site and have a charrette in the afternoon. What’s great is as we’re throwing out design, developers say ‘you can’t do that,’ brokers say ‘I can’t sell that,’ and so we try again. It’s a real iterative process right there that afternoon. By the evening we present it back to the city council at an open public meeting. We’re not paid at all; this is voluntary and free. We just try to come up with the best real estate solution to help them get past some sort of problem.”
What’s the most important business lesson you’ve learned so far?
“When I moved back to Kansas City, I heard a lot, ‘We’ve never done that before.’ If anything, that challenges me to want to understand why it hasn’t been done before and what we can do to change it. It’s a process where you have to make course corrections, but using, ‘We’ve never done it that way before,’ is something that doesn’t sit well with me. There are always ways to learn to do things better and to challenge and question the status quo.”