About the 2018 Winning Proposal and Team
A redevelopment plan for a Toronto site presented by a team from Cornell University took top honors in the 2018 Urban Land Institute Hines Student Competition. Members of the Cornell team were awarded a prize of $50,000 at the conclusion of the competition in Toronto on April 5.
Cornell’s winning scheme, “Montage,” is a transformational mixed-use development at the junction of Toronto’s Downtown and East End neighborhoods. The proposal envisions an environmentally sustainable cultural hub that integrates cinema, creative industries, and Toronto’s park system to provide a unique outlet for expression and lifestyle. Montage embraces the future of urban transportation by providing both public transit and a thoughtful street grid that accommodates private vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians. It enhances the urban fabric with distinctive plazas, tree-lined streets, and industrial facades, reminiscent of the late 19th century.
The Cornell team was comprised of Peter Romano (team leader), joint master of regional planning and master of real estate; Gary Esposito, master of architecture; Paul Heydweiller, master of real estate; Rawinthira Narksusook, master of real estate; and Jamie Mitchell, master of architecture. The team was advised by Suzanne Lanyi Charles, assistant professor, city and regional planning.
“Being able to create a change in a community – that is what this was about,” Romano said. “It takes an interdisciplinary team to do that, because none of us by ourselves knows all of what goes into it. Everyone brought something to the process, and it was an amazing experience.”
Jury Chairman Carl Weisbrod, senior advisor at HR&A Advisors In New York City, said that Cornell’s proposal stood out because it was the most thorough and most coherent of all the presentations. “Each of the proposals had strengths and weaknesses, but the Cornell team really took a deep dive into the economics of the assignment – they prepared a market analysis, a cost analysis, an impressive financial plan and a site plan that was feasible and which worked,” he said. “All the finalists had interesting and creative ideas, but on balance, theirs was the strongest.”
About the 2018 Finalist Teams
The finalist teams, one from the University of Maryland and two from the Georgia Institute of Technology, were each awarded $10,000.
The finalist teams and development schemes:
- “Absorption” from the Georgia Institute of Technology
- “Eastern Link” from the Georgia Institute of Technology
- “Don River Landing” from the University of Maryland
About the 2018 Competition
The 2018 competition reflected development plans being considered as part of the City of Toronto’s vision for reviving the neighborhoods east of its historic downtown. Participants were tasked with creating a master development plan for the redevelopment of parcels adjacent to the Don River into a thriving mixed-use community that would catalyze other development, including additional commercial, retail and residential space, and connect residential neighborhoods in the city’s northeast section to commercial neighborhoods in the southern section. The 2018 winner and finalists were chosen from 130 teams representing nearly 60 universities in the United States and Canada. Team proposals were required to illustrate innovative approaches to five general elements: 1) planning context and analysis, 2) a master land use plan, 3) urban design, 4) site-specific illustrations of new development, and 5) development schedule and finances.