Jim is an infill developer and sustainable development advisor based in Sonoma County, California. Known for his aspirational but practical approach, he works with a range of tools and best practices to communicate the value of inspired design and sustainability within the realities of local market norms. With over forty years experience as an urban designer, land planner, sustainability strategist and now infill developer, he brings a broad range of perspectives and skills to the discussion about how communities grow. Trained as a landscape architect, he received a Masters in Real Estate Development from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as way to more effectively integrate economics, development and design thinking.
An active member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), Jim was at the forefront of defining the tenets of sustainable community design, serving as co-instructor for ULI’s pioneering program in Sustainable Community Design. He continues his leadership as founder and lead instructor for ULI’s program focused on small scale incremental development. He has organized and led fifteen national tours where participants explore the impact and benefits of non-institutional approaches to real estate development, and how it creates stronger local economies and more authentic places. Drawing on his own experience and the work of others seen during these tours, he authored Building Small: A Toolkit for Real Estate Entrepreneurs, Civic Leaders and Great Communities. Published in April by ULI, the book has quickly gained a national following from all professions engaged in shaping the built environment.
Jim works seamlessly with multi-disciplinary teams, bringing his design and real estate training to resolve complex challenges – focusing on enduring solutions catalyzed by initial, immediate steps. With an emphasis on high quality communications, Jim works to build deep understanding for the ‘how and why’ of decisions – rather than just creating consensus. His collaborative, integrative, and effective team leadership is recognized through his participation or chairmanship of over 15 ULI Advisory Service Panels – recently for Napa, CA and Toronto, Ontario.
Originally born in Pittsburgh, PA; Jim credits the diversity of places he has lived and worked – Moscow, Idaho; Springfield, Vermont; New Orleans; Denver; Phoenix; Boston; and San Francisco – for shaping his appreciation of town form impacts quality of life, and the importance of regional identity for creating more interesting places. Now living in the idyllic community of Healdsburg, California he shares these insights with clients and audiences across the globe.
MS, Real Estate Development MIT
BLARCH University of Idaho
HONORS • ADVISORY •TEACHING
Robert O’Donnell Award, 2016 for contributions to Advisory Service Program
Urban Land Institute
College of Fellows, 2012
American Society of Landscape Architects
Instructor, ULI Professional Development
Sustainable Community Design (1996-2001)
Residential Development (2000-2007)
Mixed Use Development (2009-2013)
Small Scale Development (2012–Present)
CLARB Registration #1797
RLA Arizona, Louisiana
Jim resides in Healdsburg, California with his wife Marty, daughter Maddie and trusty companion, Fig the daschund.