Georgia Tech team proposal awarded honorable mention in prestigious Urban Land Institute Hines Student Urban Design competition

A multi-disciplinary team of CoA graduate students from Georgia Tech earned honorable mention at the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Hines Student Urban Design competition. The team is made up of Desmond Johnson (M.Arch), Mario Rodas (M.Arch), Nathan Shi (MSUD), Elizabeth Vason (MCRP) and Ai-Lien Vuong, (M.Arch/MCRP).

The competition, which is in its 13th year, offers graduate students the opportunity to collaboratively produce a compelling urban design proposal and rigorous financial pro forma. The 2015 competition challenged teams to propose a comprehensive design and development program for parts of the Tulane/Gravier and Iberville neighborhoods in downtown New Orleans.

“Honorable mention is a remarkable achievement given the caliber of the teams,” said Ellen Dunham-Jones, professor and coordinator of the MSUD at Georgia Tech and faculty advisor to the team. “The ULI competition has become very highly regarded and gets more competitive every year. I’m thrilled that this year continues Georgia Tech’s winning track record of earning top placements. It’s an intense two-week commitment on the students’ part. But it’s also a terrific opportunity for them to put on the hat of a developer and get as creative about costing, phasing, and finance strategies as about public spaces and building types. AiLien’s team did a great job integrating their design vision and implementation strategies – and it showed!”

The Georgia Tech team proposal Down the Line was cited by the jury for “its phasing scheme, thoughtful relocation of the RV park, general space layout and visual legibility.” There were four finalists and eight honorable mentions selected out of a pool of 120 teams from 60 universities in the U.S. and Canada.

"One of the best aspects of ULI is collaborating on an interdisciplinary team,” said AiLien Vuong, team leader and dual M.Arch/MCRP student.  “While it can be challenging, it's entirely representative of the dynamic all of us will encounter in our own professions.”

MCRP student Elizabeth Vason added, "The ULI Hines competition is a two week blast of craziness, but we all brought our different talents to the table and came up with a development proposal we are proud of. I'm so glad the judges appreciated our hard work."

The Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition is part of ULI’s ongoing effort to raise interest among young people in creating better communities, improving development patterns, and increasing awareness of the need for multidisciplinary solutions to development and design challenges. Teams must be comprised of students from at least three disciplines, working to devise a comprehensive design and development program for a real, large-scale site full of challenges and opportunities. Submissions must include drawings, site plans, tables, and market-feasible financial data for the designated site.

For more information about the competition and to see the complete list of winners, visit the Urban Land Institute website.

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