A team representing the University of Texas at Austin took top honors and the $50,000 prize in the 2017 ULI Hines Student Competition with its winning master plan proposal to redevelop a Chicago site with a highly thoughtful, innovative approach to urban planning, design, and development.
The team was coached by academic advisers Simon Atkinson, professor of community and regional planning, and Edna Ledesma, lecturer, school of architecture. The team members were Christopher Perkes (team leader), joint master of science in community and regional planning/master of science in sustainable design; Luke Kvasnicka, master of architecture; Miles Payton, master of landscape architecture; Mason Rathe, master of business administration; Kirsten Stray-Gundersen, master of architectue.
About the 2017 Competition
The 2017 competition challenged student teams to design and submit a master-plan proposal that included presentation boards with drawings, site plans, tables, and market-feasible financial data for the North Branch Industrial Corridor, located in Chicago, Illinois.
This year’s competition is designed to simulate an actual urban planning and development scenario, with some details changed for the purposes of the competition. It is based on a hypothetical situation in which an investment group acquiring assets in this area would like to step forward with a cogent vision for building a mixed-use sustainable area that benefits from the adjacent synergies, accommodates the changing demographics, and supports the broader goals of the city.
In this competition scenario, teams have been given the task of transforming this transitional area and completing the vision for the investment group, as a thriving, sustainable, mixed-use, walk-able, and transit-accessible town. The assignment includes taking advantage of the site’s waterfront location and proximity to downtown.
Though based on a hypothetical situation, the 2017 Hines Student Competition reflects many real-life concerns of Chicago. In recent years, the city has supported increased market demand for urban real estate products with strategies to attract investment in its urban core and along key commercial corridors.
About the Winning Proposal
The Texas team’s winning proposal, “Rooted,” is built upon the inherent power of food culture to bring together people of diverse backgrounds in a comfortable and lively space. It recognizes that Chicago has long served as the heartland for food production, processing, and distribution due to its prime location and role as the gateway to the East and West. Through the creation of a center for food and manufacturing, a unique urban experience materializes, tying together past, present, and future. The proposal not only reimagines the localization of the food supply chain, but also creates an equitable and inclusive environment conducive to building human capital.
About the 2017 Finalist Teams
The finalist teams and development schemes were:
- Carnegie Mellon University: “IN-district” is a strategy that preserves and celebrates the historic context of the Chicago North Branch area through a revitalization into a new center for culture, innovation, and industry.
- Université Laval: “Assembly Line” is as much a meeting place between neighborhoods as it is a high-efficiency manufacturing district with a 21st century twist.
- University of Maryland: “NorthWorks” focuses on the integration of community, industry, and landscape along the North Branch; accomplished through three gears: connect, adapt, and engage.
In addition, the jury selected five team proposals for honorable mention. The jury commended Columbia University for “Grow Chicago, the Georgia Institute of Technology for “Chicago Fit”, the Georgia Institute of Technology for “North West Bond”, Kansas State University – University of Wisconsin for “Tech Yards”, and the University of Florida – University of Michigan for “Catharsis”.