FRANKFURT (August 14, 2014) – As the new chairman of ULI Germany, Juergen Fenk has made a commitment to put people first and promote cooperation between local governments and private industry. Fenk, Managing Director of Landesbank Hessen/Thüringen (Helaba), took over as chairman in July. In his new role, Fenk plans to bolster programmes that help create thriving communities, to encourage open dialogue between the public and private sectors, and to further strengthen the ULI Germany membership base.
Fenks’s vision for ULI Germany reinforces ULI’s mission of helping people and improving communities. “First and foremost, ULI and its members are concerned with people: developing for humanity,” said Fenk. “This can be only achieved if our cities are planned, built, and designed with people in mind. ULI contributes to this goal not only through its events, but also through a multitude of initiatives ranging from research, to education and professional development programmes, to advisory work on selected cases. It is through these initiatives that ULI turns global thinking into local action.
“As chairman, I hope to focus on convening Advisory Services panels and driving programmes like the Building Healthy Places initiative. I see a clear link between Building Healthy Places and ULI Advisory Services. Where and how we live and work have a massive influence on our health and well-being. Additionally, the “lifestyle factor” that a city can offer is becoming more and more important for companies that want to attract and retain the best talent. Advisory Services Panels offer us the chance to take responsibility for the future of our urban spaces and the structure of cities by actively participating in their planning. Any form of advice by ULI should take into account the diverse aspects of a liveable environment, including businesses, housing, infrastructure, and health. I will work to connect with the public sector and contribute to Advisory Services consultations.”
According to Fenk, one of Germany’s biggest challenges in the land use sector is meeting the needs of both public and private sector organisations. He believes that ULI Germany can play an important role in fostering dialogue between these two sectors. “There needs to be a broader understanding between the public sector and private industry,” Fenk said. “City governments and the real estate sector share priorities to be successful and sustainable but they often do not share visions and future ideas. If we can help shift the goals of the real estate industry toward quality and putting people first, then the basic aim of ULI has been met.
“ULI provides cities and municipalities with a link to the real estate industry and investors, allowing each side to engage in an unbiased, lobby-free dialogue on the current status and future of urban development. This allows all parties to exchange experiences and learn from each other to gain new ideas and find solutions together—what could be more valuable for both sides? If we succeed in encouraging municipalities and cities to take this step, to engage in a practical dialogue with actors in the private sector with the goal of creating better places for people to live, then we have laid the relevant foundations for better cities.”
Another one of Fenk’s key priorities is to continue the significant membership growth that ULI Germany has experienced over the last 18 months. “ULI Germany must continue to grow, not only in numbers, but in quality of members. During my tenure as chairman, I will make a concerted effort to recruit even more interesting and diverse members,” Fenk said.
In addition, Fenk hopes to strengthen the relationship between the ULI Germany Young Leaders group and the Executive Committee through ongoing communication and regular meetings: “Our goal is to offer the next generation of real estate leaders the chance to network with senior industry figures and help them become fully integrated into the real estate sector.”
Fenk will also work to promote a wide range of events organised by ULI Germany and its satellites, Switzerland and Austria. “I have never left a ULI event without new contacts, ideas, or lessons learned,” he said.
Fenk succeeds Bernhard H. Hansen, who has assumed the role of chairman of the ULI Germany Advisory Board. Fenk has been a board member of Helaba since 2012 and is responsible for the areas of real estate finance, property management, financial institutions and public finance. Before his work at Helaba, Fenk held senior management positions in real estate at various banks.