Interdisciplinary Student Teams Present Urban Design Solutions for Cincinnati in National ULI Hines Competition Finals

March 19, 2019
UT Austin student teams advance to the finals in the 2019 Urban Land Institute Gerald Hines Student Competition.
Five students smile at the camera in front of a floor-to-ceiling glass wall.

On April 3, student finalists in the national Urban Land Institute (ULI) Hines competition will present forward-looking design and planning solutions for a real-world scenario in Cincinnati.

In mid-February, ULI announced four finalist teams, two of which are comprised of students from the UT Austin School of Architecture and McCombs School of Business. Graduate students in Urban Design, Architecture, Community and Regional Planning, Landscape Architecture, and Business Administration collaborated on proposals that address design, land use, sustainable development, finances, and social and economic impact.

The 17th annual ULI Hines Student Competition challenged students to create a comprehensive development proposal for an area in Cincinnati, Ohio, comprising portions of a highway, the central business district, and the central riverfront along the Ohio River. Teams were asked to consider options for decking the highway, Fort Washington Way, and to propose development adjacent to it. They were also tasked with illustrating innovative approaches to five general elements: 1) planning context and analysis, 2) a master land use plan, 3) urban design, 4) site-specific illustrations of new development, and 5) development schedule and finances.

The UT Austin finalist proposals include "The Landing," which emphasizes green infrastructure and renewable district energy production that aligns with the Cincinnati Green Plan in its effort to make the city's energy 100% renewable by 2035, and "Cincinnati United," which reimagines the city's river boundary as a boardwalk that hosts recreation and cultural expression activities for all.

Because we are an interdisciplinary team, the creative process has been incredibly collaborative and our team chemistry is a significant contributing factor in our success thus far in the competition,” said The Landing team’s Hailey Brown. “We have learned how to augment each other’s strengths and trust one another with key design elements, which I have found to be the most important takeaway from this whole experience. Of course, we hope to win, but we also hope that we can inspire others to think creatively and progressively about how to integrate sustainable systems into their cities.”

 “Working on an interdisciplinary team has been an enriching, real-world experience because everyone brings a unique set of skills and perspectives,” stated Cincinnati United team leader Caroline Tate. “We have learned that good design requires the insights and collaborative efforts of each team member, and is especially dependent upon effective communication. Ultimately, we hope to convince the judges that our proposal is the best solution for Cincinnati, and bring back a win for the University. Regardless of the outcome, we are proud to represent UT as finalists in this national competition.”

An ideas contest for graduate students, the ULI Hines Competition, endowed by longtime ULI leader and real estate mogul Gerald Hines, is in its seventeenth year. It is designed to simulate a real urban planning and development scenario, and allows participating teams 15 days to design and submit a comprehensive master plan proposal for a large-scale urban site in the United States. The proposal must include presentation boards with site plans, renderings, analytical tables, and market-feasible financial data.

Check the ULI website for updates on the national competition winner.

Congratulations to our finalists!

Cincinnati United team: Caroline Tate, Nian Chen, Yang Yang, Andrew Jacobs, John Mark Devlin
The Landing team: Trent Tunks, Hailey Brown, Victoria Freeman, Eric Joyce, Andres Manrique

Academic advisor: Simon Atkinson, Mike Hogg Centennial Professor
Professional advisor: Claire Hempel, Principal, Design Workshop