/ Americas

Influencing the Next Generation of Land Use Professionals

ULI’s ongoing efforts to raise interest among young people in creating better communities is reflected in the ULI Hines Student Competition, an annual ideas competition that provides graduate students the opportunity to devise a comprehensive design and development scheme for a large-scale site in an urban area.

The competition, which emphasizes the need for interdisciplinary solutions to development challenges, was created with a generous endowment to the ULI Foundation from ULI Life Trustee Gerald D. Hines, founder of the Hines real estate organization. “I look forward to this competition every year, and to see these bright young people who come forth with outstanding ideas and projects,” he said. “They are the future of the real estate industry.” 

A redevelopment plan for a Toronto site presented by a team from Cornell University took top honors in the 2018 competition. Members of the Cornell team were awarded a prize of $50,000 at the conclusion of the competition in Toronto in April 2018. The finalist teams—one from the University of Maryland and two from the Georgia Institute of Technology—were each awarded $10,000. Participants were tasked with creating a master development plan for east Toronto that would catalyze other development, including commercial, retail, and residential space, and connect with adjacent neighborhoods. “Being able to create a change in a community—that is what this was about,” said Peter Romano, leader of the Cornell team. “It takes an interdisciplinary team to do that. Everyone brought something to the process, and it was an amazing experience.”  

Students present their development proposal to members of the 2018 Hines Student Competition jury.

ULI Trustee Carl Weisbrod served as chairman of the Hines Student Competition jury. “It’s a challenge for all of us to make urban environments not just economic machines, but places where people can live with civility in a comfortable, diverse, innovative setting,” said Weisbrod, senior adviser at HR&A Advisors Inc. in New York City. “This competition shows that so many young professionals who are entering the real estate profession will bring a lot of creativity, expertise, intelligence, and, most importantly, a real commitment to the future of cities at a time when cities are thriving, and more and more people live in cities.”   

The 2018 winner and finalists were chosen from 130 teams representing nearly 60 universities in the United States and Canada. More than 7,400 students have participated in the ULI Hines Student Competition since its first year in 2003. The program is open to graduate students who are pursuing real estate–related studies at universities in the United States and Canada, including programs in real estate development, urban planning, urban design, architecture, and landscape architecture. 

Jurist Jamie Simchik, principal at Simchik Planning and Development in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, secured a seat on the jury through Navigator, ULI’s member benefit that matches members with volunteer opportunities. A ULI Young Leader, Simchik participated in the competition as a graduate student in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Being on the “other side” and narrowing the entries down to one winner was a learning experience, in terms of factors the jury considers versus what students prioritize, he said. “Being creative while grounded in reality is what made the finalists’ proposals stand out,” he noted. 

Use Navigator to apply to serve on the Hines Student Competition jury.  

  • “I look forward to this competition every year, and to see these bright young people who come forth with outstanding ideas and projects. They are the future of the real estate industry.”

    – ULI Life Trustee Gerald D. Hines, creator of the Hines Student Competition


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