The Urban Land Institute (ULI) has announced that AECOM Director of Cities and Urban Development Christopher Choa will become the new chairman of ULI UK. Choa will begin his term on 1st July 2017 and will serve on a voluntary basis for the next two years. He takes over from Simon Clark, formerly a partner at Linklaters LLP, who led ULI UK from 2015, growing the council’s membership to over 1,000 industry professionals.
As a long-time supporter of ULI, Choa wants to further boost the UK council’s membership and raise its profile as Britain tackles a number of economic and political challenges. Choa believes that ULI UK should embrace globalisation and solidarity among cities: promoting culture, equality, and a more cohesive, collaborative society. As part of this effort, he plans to build relationships with UK mayors to support their understanding of the built environment.
“Cities are crucial to help Britain bridge uncertainties,” said Choa. “Our urban lands bring together the greatest number of people, and create the most social and economic value.”
“ULI attracts an extraordinary range of considerations from every related discipline – from investors and developers, to designers and software engineers. We identify and create new opportunities for individuals and companies who seek ways to influence and contribute to the communities around them.”
“Simon has made a tremendous contribution to taking ULI forward on its journey and I look forward to taking his advice in the coming months as we look to further strengthen our network and continue to forge new relationships, shaping great ideas and big conversations.”
Choa will shortly set out his vision for the next two years, which is likely to include a heavy focus on helping cities evolve for seniors, making the most of connectivity, and providing the necessary hard and soft infrastructure Britain needs to thrive.
Working with ULI UK Executive Director Liz Waller and the council’s executive board, Choa will also oversee plans to expand member engagement, which includes substantial networking events allowing professionals from a range of disciplines to network, exchange ideas, and create new opportunities.
Outgoing ULI UK Chairman Simon Clark said,
“It has been an absolute pleasure to lead ULI over the past two years. We have made extensive progress in growing our membership and cementing our position within the built environment. Chris has great energy, enthusiasm and expertise, and I know he will inject this into the organization and help steer it further upstream.”
Choa, who is a Director of Cities and Urban development at AECOM, studied fine art at Yale before earning a master’s degree in architecture from Harvard. Over his 30-year career, he has led dozens of major projects advising on large-scale engineering and architectural endeavours, helping to shape many of the world’s great urban destinations.
His recent work includes advising on major urban renewal projects in China and the Middle East, and in India, where prime minister Narendra Modi is leading a major initiative to develop smart cities across the country.