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Philadelphia's Urban Developers Association Aims to Foster Diversity and Connection

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Labor + Trade Relations

Philadelphia's Urban Developers Association Aims to Foster Diversity and Connection

How one of the city's developers is working to create more connections and opportunities for those currently underrepresented in the real estate industry


January 12, 2024
Making connections in the city of Philadelphia
Image: VideoFlow / stock.adobe.com

The need for more diversity in construction and development is part of what motivated Philadelphia developer Rick Young to found the Urban Developers Association (UDA). The association aims to provide those underrepresented in building and development with access to capital, chances to network, and support as equity partners in joint ventures, according to a release from the National Association of Home Builders.

To help broaden his efforts, Young partnered with the Building Industry Association (BIA) of Philadelphia to host a happy hour in June 2022. More than 90 developers and other industry pros attended the inaugural event, and meetups since then have seen up to 200 attendees. Young is also working on launching the Women's Urban Development Association (WUDA).

“The events give people a chance to network and talk to people they’d never otherwise get a chance to be in front of,” said Young. “That’s as meaningful as anything I’ve set out to do: to be a bridge between two cultures and really be able to bring everyone under one roof to have a chance to network and talk to people they’d probably never get a chance to talk to.”

Additionally, the BIA and UDA interviewed more than a dozen emerging entrepreneurs and selected five to support through an equity fund.

“We’re going to try to take these developers to the next step,” said Marianne Scott, executive director of the BIA of Philadelphia. “We’re connecting them to some of the best developers in the city so they will be taken through the whole process of applying for land through the Land Bank.”

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