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WASHINGTON (April 12, 2020) – A redevelopment plan for a Kansas City, Missouri, site presented by a team, called Fusion, comprised of students from Ryerson University, York University, and University of Toronto has taken top honors in the 2021 Urban Land Institute (ULI) / Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition. The ideas contest provides graduate students the opportunity to devise a comprehensive design and development scheme for a large-scale site in an urban area. Members of the winning team were awarded a prize of $50,000 at the conclusion of the competition on April 8. The remaining three finalist teams, with representatives from the Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Houston, Pennsylvania State University, and Columbia University in the City of New York, and the University of California Berkeley, each will receive $10,000.
While the competition normally takes place on-site, this year the competition was a fully virtual experience. On March 19, the students rehearsed their proposals and received feedback from six experts and ULI members from Kansas City. On April 8, they presented their plans virtually to a 16-person jury of ULI members from around the country.
This year’s competition asked students for proposals to create a thriving mixed-use, mixed-income area in the East Village neighborhood in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The challenge brief asked the students to address housing affordability, equity, transportation, mobility, sustainability, and resilience in their proposals.
The four teams that advanced to the final round of the competition were chosen from 105 entries by a jury of 16 leading ULI members representing a broad variety of real estate and related disciplines. This year, students formed teams representing 61 different universities in the United States, Canada, and Singapore, including 31 teams with students from more than one university.
“On behalf of ULI, I want to congratulate the winners and finalists of the 2021 ULI Hines Competition,” said ULI Global CEO W. Edward Walter. “I commend them for the creativity and hard work that got them to the final stage of this competition. I also want to thank our jury members, who have devoted countless hours of their own time to reviewing and debating the proposals put before them. We welcome all of the competitors to ULI’s network of problem solvers and thought leaders, and I can’t wait to see their impact on the built environment of the future.”
The winning plan from Ryerson University, York University, and University of Toronto seamlessly fused the East Village, Paseo West, and Kansas City’s Downtown Core. The team created a welcoming and affordable mixed-use development, where everyone who wishes to call it home, can. Designed around two key pillars, connectivity and resilience, this LEED neighborhood embodied inclusive and sustainable growth within Kansas City.
The Fusion team was comprised of Frances Grout-Brown and Leorah Klein, Ryerson University; Yanlin Zhou, York University; and Ruotian Tan and Chenyi Xu, University of Toronto.
“Reflecting on this experience in its entirety, it’s surreal how much we’ve learned along the way,” the team said in a statement. We started the competition with a shared vision to create an inclusive, sustainable and welcoming neighbourhood that felt uniquely Kansas City. Though each member of the team brought different skills to the table, we were strongly aligned in our aspirations for the site and were proud to present our proposal rooted in enabling physical and social connectivity and achieving economic and environmental resilience.”
“The 2021 ULI Hines Competition Finalists raised the level of creative thinking and technical execution delivered in the competition,” said ULI Hines Jury Chair Diana Reid. “This was a challenging brief; it required a bold vision for the future, balancing economic impact, environmental sustainability, enhanced mobility, and social equity. Each of the finalists delivered catalytic development proposals. Fusion stood out as it pushed a new paradigm for an urban neighborhood based on the strong regional legacy of agriculture. Their financing plan and design enabled economic resilience through small scale food growth and distribution, local culinary incubation, and research-driven employment opportunities. Fusion’s food-based approach and focus on inclusive and sustainable growth, created a complete vision of a new urban neighborhood in East Village, including ambitious housing affordability targets, smart community partnerships, strong pedestrian and multi-modal transportation, and connectivity to and through the site.”
The ULI Hines Student Competition was created with a generous endowment from longtime ULI leader Gerald Hines, founder of the Hines real estate organization. The program is part of an ongoing ULI effort to raise interest among young people in creating better communities and improving urban development patterns. The competition encourages cooperation and teamwork—necessary talents in the planning, design, and development of sustainable communities—among future land use professionals and allied professions. More information about the 2021 competition is available online.
The finalist teams and development plans were:
The competition jury consists of renowned experts from diverse backgrounds in commercial real estate, land use, and design. In addition to Jury Chair Diana Reid, members of the jury are: Randy Bredar, executive vice president, JE Dunn Construction, Kansas City, Missouri; Lynn Carlton, vice president regional planning, HOK, Kansas City, Missouri; Fernando Costa, assistant city manager, City of Fort Worth, Texas; John Gilmore, managing director, Walker & Dunlop, New York, New York; Kona Gray, principal, EDSA, Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Veronica Hackett, principal, The Clarett Group, New York, New York; Faron A. Hill, founder and president, Peregrine Oak, Atlanta, Georgia; Steve Kenat, principal, GBBN, Cincinnati, Ohio; Jill McCarthy, senior vice president, Kansas City Area Development Council, Kansas City, Missouri; Susan Meaney, senior advisor, KSL Capital Partners, San Francisco, California; Joe Perry, vice president, Port KC, Kansas City, Missouri; Geeti Silwal, principal, Perkins&Will, San Francisco, California; Amy Slattery, founder and chief executive officer, Odimo, Kansas City, Missouri; Lauren Standish, vice president, HGOR, Atlanta, Georgia; Margaret Wylde, chief executive officer, ProMatura Group, LLC, Oxford, Mississippi.
NOTE TO REPORTERS AND EDITORS: Additional information on the ULI Hines Student Competition can be found at uli.org/hines. A gallery of all 2021 submissions and teams is online at uli.org/hines2021gallery.