Team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology andUniversity of Wisconsin Wins the 2009 ULI Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition

(Washington, DC) – A team with members representing the Massachusetts Institute of Technology School of Architecture and Planning and the University of Wisconsin School of Business has been selected as the winner of the seventh annual ULI (Urban Land Institute) Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition. The team’s entry, which involved the redevelopment of a site in Denver, was chosen by the competition jury over plans submitted by other finalist teams from Columbia University, Kansas State University, and the University of Miami.

The winning entry, “Panorama Station, Proposal for Transit-Oriented Development and Public Space at Alameda Station,” captivated jury members with its innovative approach to integrating the 75-acre DDD to downtown and the greater community. The winning team received the top prize of $50,000; the three finalist teams each received $10,000. The winner was announced April 2 following presentations by the finalists during a public forum at the University of Denver.

The annual competition is open to graduate students who are pursuing real estate-related studies at a North American university. It is designed to encourage cooperation and teamwork – necessary talents in the planning, design and development of sustainable communities – among future land use professionals and allied professions, such as architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, historic preservation, engineering, real estate development, finance, psychology and law. Through the competition, interdisciplinary teams of five graduate students each are challenged to craft practical, workable solutions for the revitalization or development of an actual site in an urban area within North America.

Created in 2002, the ULI Hines competition has been funded in perpetuity through a $3 million endowment from urban development pioneer Gerald D. Hines, chairman and owner of the Hines real estate organization. Hines, who attended the competition in Denver, said, “I am impressed with all of these students. They are thinking innovatively and their collaborative effort represents the future of the land use industry.”

For the 2009 competition, student teams were asked to present schemes portraying them as single-entity owners of the Denver Design District (DDD), a valuable midtown parcel comprised of three properties among roughly 75 acres just 1.5 miles south of downtown. While the DDD boasts an impressive tenant roster, and is the largest to-the-trade design center in an eight-state region, its built environment resembles a typical suburban power center. Based on the assumption that the DDD parcel has ample potential for a higher and better use, the competition charged the teams with redeveloping the entire 75-acre site and creating a landmark, transformative mixed-use community without losing the current, valuable roster of tenants.

ULI selected this site because it provided an opportunity for students to illustrate innovative ways to incorporate six aspects of urban design identified by ULI as essential components of sustainable communities. These include: 1) mixed-income housing; 2) adequate infrastructure to support growth; 3) ample public space; 4) places of commerce; 5) environmental preservation, incorporating green design principles to mitigate climate change; and 6) financial feasibility.

An added sustainability challenge -- and new to the competition this year -- was a connection to ULI’s initiative, The City in 2050: Creating Blueprints for Change. This initiative posits a vision of the future replete with massive demographic, climate, and financial changes that likely will alter the built environment. While adhering to the typical challenge involving financial and urban design components, teams were also challenged to consider their redevelopment of the DDD in the context of 2050 and how their plans would allow the DDD to thrive in 2050 and beyond.

The winning development scheme:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning with University of Wisconsin, School of Business: “Panorama Station, A Proposal for Transit-Oriented Development and Public Space at Alameda Station” incorporates five key objectives: provide view-oriented public space, support a fifteen minute car-free lifestyle, create a sense of place, anticipate future flexible uses for big box spaces, and integrate water conserving landscapes. Team members included Blair Humphreys, Jesse Hunting, Eric Komppa (University of Wisconsin), Duncan McIlvaine, and Sarah Snider.

The entries from the three finalists:

Columbia University, School of Architecture: “Solstice 5280” seeks to leverage the existing demographic trends and natural resources of Denver while combating the negative effects of sprawl and environmental degradation by employing six design strategies: density, energy, education, reuse, lifestyle, and public spaces. Team members included Jordan Cox, Jay Gillespie, Jinwoo Heo, Kyung Jae Kim, and Alex Weis.

Kansas State University, School of Landscape Architecture/Regional and Community Planning: “touch” proposes to converge culture, enterprise, and lifestyle to create a verdant, livable, community-focused urban atmosphere. The design establishes new methods of interaction and collaboration through vertical integration, higher densities, multiple transportation options and open space to create an engaged and vibrant lifestyle. Team members included Junbin Feng, Anthony Fox, Christopher Morton, John Perry, and Bryan Zundel.

University of Miami, School of Architecture: “Alameda-A New Sustainable Urbanism” seeks to build on the historic urban grid while achieving a sustainable density and a balance between the public and private realms. The proposal pays particular attention to the notion of a self-sustaining community that simultaneously reaches out to the adjacent neighborhoods; flexible space and sense of place anchor the strong design components. Team members included Warren Bane, Benyameen Ghareeb, Jeffrey Hall, Victor Santana, and Jared Sedam.

The winning scheme was selected by a jury of renowned real estate development, architecture, urban planning and design experts: Jury Chairman Daniel Van Epp, , owner, The Van Epp Companies, Las Vegas; Donald Brinkerhoff, founder and CEO, Lifescapes International, Newport Beach, Ca.; Donald K. Carter, president, Urban Design Associates, Pittsburgh; Lizanne Galbreath, managing partner, Galbreath & Company, Norwalk, Conn.; Bert Gregory, president and CEO, Mithun, Seattle; Stephen James, planning and community design manager, Kennecott Land, Salt Lake City; Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia; and Neal I. Payton, principal, Torti Gallas and Partners, Los Angeles. Financial advisers to the competition were: Bruce C. O’Donnell, vice president, George K. Baum & Company, Denver; and John M. Walsh III, president, TIG Real Estate Services, Inc., Dallas.

“The innovation and creativity shown by the winning team and each of the finalists is an inspiration to those of us with long careers in land use,” said Jury Chairman Van Epp. “This competition provides wonderful insight into the thoughtful approach the next generation will take to create communities that are viable and sustainable.”

Six team entries were also selected for honorable mentions: Cornell University with “Urban Succession;” three from Harvard University titled “Urban Acupuncture;” “Leveraging the Wedge,” and “Symbiosis;” the University of Maryland, College Park, with “Phasing D3;” and the University of Pennsylvania with “SODO: living by design.” Two entries from the University of Pennsylvania, titled “re:newable denver” and “Conexus,” also received recognition for their unique visions for ULI’s initiative, The City in 2050: Creating Blueprints for Change.

The Urban Land Institute ( is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has nearly 38,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.