/ Americas

Reimagining an Industrial Corridor

A University of Texas at Austin team proposes a new neighborhood along the Chicago River that taps into the city’s industrial roots.

Chicago has a long and storied history of urban manufacturing with entire neighborhoods and large parcels of land devoted to industrial production. As the city’s economy has veered away from heavy manufacturing over time, repurposing industrial corridors throughout the city for the 21st-century economy has been a top priority for leaders.

One such area is the North Branch Industrial Corridor, which skirts the Chicago River north of downtown. In 2017, the ULI Hines Student Competition challenged teams of graduate students from major university programs in real estate, architecture, urban design, and other land use fields to submit a comprehensive redevelopment proposal for an actual, large-scale site in the North Branch corridor. 

An Americas-based ideas competition that spurs innovation among the next generation of land use leaders, the ULI Hines Student Competition mimics the demanding work environment and professional experiences that students will have upon entering the real estate profession. It is intended to prepare them for careers where multidisciplinary, collaborative teams are the norm. Teams have a mere 15 days to complete their master plan, which must include a comprehensive vision, feasibility studies, and financial data for the site—elements that any real-life development proposal would have. The competition was founded in 2002 by Gerald D. Hines, a ULI lifetime trustee and Hines founder and chairman.

BY THE NUMBERS
60

Universities in the United States and Canada with student teams participating in the 2017 ULI Hines Student Competition

  • “My experience in the Hines Competition was an inflection point in both my life and career. It reinforced my belief that as much as we may desire it, our world is not so simply boiled down to clear professional lines. The built environment and all those who live in and interact with it require complex solutions from innumerable perspectives.”

    – Christopher Perkes, University of Texas, Austin, team leader
1 / 1

Out of 118 teams from 60 universities that entered the competition in 2017, four were selected as finalists. The University of Texas at Austin team was chosen by the Hines Competition jury as the winner for its proposal, “Rooted” , which builds upon the “inherent power of food culture” and on Chicago’s identity as a major source of food production, processing, and distribution.

Rooted proposes a new urban community centered on food production, workforce development in food-based industries, and places for food entrepreneurs to live, work, and thrive. New residential units—that range from affordable to market-rate—inject a 24/7 energy and a mixed-use vibrancy into the site. The proposal envisions strong links to transit networks and adjacent neighborhoods, a pedestrian bridge across the Chicago River, and new opportunities for walking and biking.

For the five students on the winning team, the experience was transformative and illustrative of the multidisciplinary, collaborative nature of careers in urban development. Christopher Perkes, who is pursuing a joint master’s degree in community and regional planning and sustainable design, led the team, composed of Luke Kvasnicka, a master’s student in architecture; Miles Payton, a master’s student in landscape architecture; Mason Rathe, a master’s student in business administration; and Kirsten Lynn Stray-Gundersen, a master’s student in architecture. Simon Atkinson, professor of community and regional planning, and Edna Ledesma, lecturer at the School of Architecture, served as team advisers.

Careful review: Jury chair Teri Frankiewicz and jurors Rameez Munawar and Betsy del Monte analyze a development proposal submitted by one of the 118 student teams that entered the competition.

“My experience in the Hines Competition was an inflection point in both my life and career,” says Perkes. “It reinforced my belief that as much as we may desire it, our world is not so simply boiled down to clear professional lines. The built environment and all those who live in and interact with it require complex solutions from innumerable perspectives.”

Perkes adds: “Overall, it was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, and has already proved itself invaluable in my personal, professional, and academic endeavors.”

Learn more about the ULI Hines Student Competition and Rooted”, the winning proposal of the University of Texas, Austin, student team.

Ideas Competitions

ULI Australia Engages Young Professionals

Ideas competitions have become an important tool for ULI to cultivate leadership, problem solving, and interest in joining the Institute among emerging professionals in land use. In 2015, ULI Australia’s Young Leaders Group launched the Urban Innovation Ideas Competition to engage professionals under age 35 to submit proposals for actual sites in major cities across Australia. In FY 2017, the competition’s theme was strengthening connections between established precincts in Brisbane, Australia’s third-most-populous city and the capital of the state of Queensland.

Composed of members of the Young Leaders Group and industry leaders, the competition jury selected Nicholas Stevenson, an associate urban designer at Urbis, for his proposal, “The City Stitch,” which imagines lushly landscaped mixed-use neighborhoods in the interface between Brisbane’s city center and Fortitude Valley.

The jury praised Stevenson’s proposal for its celebration of Brisbane’s subtropical climate and world-class amenities as well as its focus on the fundamentals of successful urbanism.  The competition has inspired similar competitions in Asia: in FY 2018, the ULI Hong Kong Young Leaders Group launched its own version of an ideas competition focused on the Start Street neighborhood in Hong Kong.

Explore

/ Europe

Building an Innovation Economy

Rotterdam sought ULI Europe’s expertise on a long-term strategy for nurturing innovation districts and ecosystems.

Read More
Dialogues

Trish Healy and
Alex Rose

  • Trish Healy
    ULI Americas Chairman
  • Alex Rose
    ULI Foundation
    Governor
Watch More