The year that was 2009 could be summed up in a word: transformative. America's home building leaders stood at the crux of the most complex economic, business, and social issues of our time. Global recessionary forces reshaped the ideas of both the built environment and homeownership in America.

Rising foreclosures sent home prices into free fall, destroying personal net worth and dunking many a once-happy homeowner underwater on their mortgages. A tidal wave of homes headed back to the banks, followed by a rash of failed land developments, office buildings, apartments, shopping centers, and even the banks themselves. The marketplace for transactions entered a state of paralysis; with few assets trading, values shrunk from the merely discounted into negative territory.

For home builders and developers, staying in business much less doing business in this environment meant rethinking everything from who their core customers are to how they build and develop. With little penciling under the old business models, rules, and traditions working, it meant going back to the drawing board to reconfigure everything from lots to floor plans to unearth value once again.

And that's where we come in. It was that spirit that governed the development of a unique set of challenges that begot exercises that morphed into a series of live Webinar presentations that eventually became the main event for the Big Builder '09 Virtual Event, which launched in mid-November and continues through April.

Maybe that sounds like something you have seen or heard before, but let us assure you otherwise. These weren't your father's Webinars.

Big Builder dug deep within our networks to put together cross-disciplinary teams of all-star home building and development executives in five markets across the country. We identified five very real parcels of land, from the performing to distressed, in each of those markets and tasked the teams to come up with the best business plan—complete with land plan, product designs, marketing and build-out strategies, and financials to boot—for each of those tracts.

In essence, what we created was housing's own reality TV series, a “Top Chef” or “Project Runway” for the home building industry, if you will. Only without Padma Lakshmi or Heidi Klum.

Over the next eight pages, you'll get to see the abridged versions of each team's plan to add value to their respective parcels, a rather big challenge given that they had limited resources and only a handful of weeks to come up with an action plan. For the full experience and bonus materials, log on—it's free—to You'll be glad you did.