ī-ˈdē-əa

formulated thought or opinion | Merriam websters dictionary

Everything starts with an idea.  A challenge to overcome or a better way to address what is out of pace with ‘the now’.  Sharing ideas  – gained through four decades of observation and asking ‘why?’ is my stock and trade. Whether to help clients think differently or to create a call to action in a community looking for a better future, I share ideas and provoke powerful conversations in three ways:

Speak. A conference keynote or an in-house lunch training?  Invite me to share best practices, the reasons why, and practical examples of real solutions – all to spark actions for how we can develop different.

Teach. For over two decades I have been providing those interested in the built environment with the tools and techniques for mixed use development; sustainable community design; and now small scale, incremental development.

Write. From provocative articles, to white papers and now Building Small, my writings provide a more in-depth set of ideas and the research behind them to support my presentations and teaching.  

“It’s no surprise that a book on small-scale development has come from one of real estate’s big thinkers.

—Ed McMahon | Senior Fellow for Sustainable Development

SPEAKING & TEACHING

My  presentations combine a conversational and accessible style with a clear framework and specific examples. Using either the UrbanGreen platform for sustainable and resilient real estate education, or CRAFT Development for small scale incremental development tools and techniques. I strive to ensure my audience leaves informed and excited about making positive change in the built environment.  

Upcoming Events

NOVEMBER

2-4 | Small Scale Developer Forum #16, Healdsburg CA

9 | Guest Lecturer | Tulane University, New Orleans, LA

DECEMBER

13 | Keynote | St. Louis, MO

JANUARY

29 | TEDx Sonoma County Buy Tickets Here!

MARCH

23 | Small Talk | ULI, San Francisco

MAY

5-6 May | Keynote | ULI Phoenix

 

Select Past Events

SEPTEMBER

7 | Guest Lecturer | UC Berkeley MRED+ Design

22 | Keynote | ULI San Antonio Leadership Luncheon

OCTOBER

13 | Meet the Author | ULI Fall Meeting Chicago, IL

22 | Guest Lecturer | U of Miami MRED + Urbanism

ULI Minnesota Housing Conference

July 2021 | Jim shares lessons from Building Small and the connection with Missing Middle Housing. | VIEW

SO YOU WANT TO BE A DEVELOPER?

January 2017 | A provocative look at how real estate development can be a meaningful agent of change | VIEW

economics of BUILDING SMALL 

March 2020 | Key lessons and value of small incremental development as an economic development tool. | VIEW

RURAL TO URBAN RESILIENCE

August 2015 | Findings to the question ‘does Resilience vary depending on community size and location? | VIEW

GETTING THE HOUSING WE WANT

September 2020 |  A community primer on what makes us the term ‘housing’ and its costs | VIEW

CONSERVATION DEVELOPMENT

June 2014 | A definitional framework of Conservation Development and four case studies | VIEW

“…one of my top book recommendations for anyone who has approached me with interest in development. I’m beyond thrilled for the success of this book.

—Sam Day | Samuel Day Architects

WRITING

Articles, white papers and now Building Small, provide the written form for sharing or exploring ideas in more depth.

Building Small

2021 | The seminal book that defines the what, why and how of small scale, incremental development. | MORE ABOUT BUILDING SMALL

Seeing Small

2018 | Contribution to Main Street America’s annual report, sharing lessons learned from over 14 cities. | READ

RESILIENCE ALONG THE RURAL TO URBAN TRANSECT

2015 | White paper for ULI exploring how resilience changes by community size and location | READ

Evolution of the Planned Community

2011 | Thought paper that looks at how Planned Communities are likely to change in the next decade. | READ

Reinventing Real Estate

2010 | A look at the opportunity for more responsible real estate investing coming out of the 2008 downturn | READ

Developing Sustainable Planned Communities

2007 | Contributions to book that served as an early roadmap for incorporating sustainability into the community development process | PURCHASE

Greenfield Development Without Sprawl

2004 | White paper that tackled the question ‘can planned communities be built without adding to sprawl? | READ

AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN RESORT COMMUNITIES

1995| A look at creating more affordable housing in expensive resort communities as a way to ensure long term viability of the local economy | READ

“My Strengths Finder™ profile says I am fascinated by ideas and enjoy digging through complexity to connect seemingly disparate things in elegantly simple ways. This is reflected in my writings and presentations as I try to show different approaches to solving thorny issues in an enlightening and educational manner.”

ULI Advisory Services Panel Chair 2011
Moscow, Russia