formulated thought or opinion | Merriam websters dictionary

Sharing ideas.  Gained through four decades asking ‘why?’  To help audiences think differently or create a community call-to-action.  Get my ideas three ways:

Speak.  Keynote or in-house training? Inspired stories and real solutions.  Spark a conversations to develop different.

Teach. Mixed-use development; sustainable community design; and the alternative of small scale, incremental development.

Write. Provocative articles, white papers and now Building Small. In-depth ideas and the research behind them.  Available below.  

“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


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

MARCH, 2022

5 | TEDx Sonoma County

21 | Building Small | NC State, Raleigh


18 | ULI Spring Meeting | San Diego, CA

5 | A Small Case Study | U of Miami MRED+U

21 | Building Small | NC State, Raleigh, NC


5 | A Small Conversation | Changing Hands Bookstore, Phoenix

6 | Why Small Matters | ULI Phoenix

6 | Book Talk + Signing | For the People, Phoenix

22-24 | Building Small Forum | San Antonio

Select Past Events

Guest Lecturer | UC Berkeley MRED+ Design

Keynote | ULI San Antonio Leadership Luncheon

Guest Lecturer | U of Miami MRED + Urbanism

Small Scale Developer Forum #16, Healdsburg CA

Guest Lecturer | Tulane University, New Orleans, LA

Emerging Developers Fireside Chat  | Richmond, CA

TEDx Sonoma talk on making Small Big!

March 2022 | Jim reminds us of what is truly important and the joy we get from the small things in life | VIEW


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

The Impact of Small Scale Development

January 2022 | Jim is interviewed on the Everything Coworking Podcast | VIEW

economics of BUILDING SMALL 

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

ULI Minnesota Housing Conference

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


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


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


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


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