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Green redevelopment plan puts UT students in winners circle

Architecture team wins contest for Chicago area master plan

Rendering of master plan for mixed-use development with Chicago skyline background
“Rooted” final plan
Courtesy of the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture

The inspiration for a contest for plans to redesign a big tract of Chicago land might have come from a statement by the city’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, but Texas students had no problem rising to the challenge, walking away with first place with their redevelopment master plan for major city site.

According to an announcement on the UT News website, a multidisciplinary student team from the School of Architecture and McCombs School of Business won a prestigious academic national title for urban design, placing first in the Urban Land Institute’s Hines Competition in Chicago earlier this month. They will receive a $50,000 prize.

The ULI Hines Competition is designed to simulate an urban planning and development scenario. Participating teams have 15 days to design and submit a comprehensive master plan proposal for a large-scale urban site in the United States.

This is the first win for UT Austin students, who advanced through several rounds from an initial 118 applicants from more than 60 universities in the U.S. and Canada to nab the price.

A bunch of different views and renderings of urban redevelopment plans
UT Austin team’s final boards
Courtesy of UT School of Architecture

UT Austin students’ winning proposal, “Rooted,” reimagined the Chicago site as a place for clean industry, with a vision to improve quality of life, allow for adaptive reuse in the long-term, and highlight Chicago’s iconic food culture. Recognizing that Chicago has long served as the heartland for food production, processing, and distribution, the project created a center for food and manufacturing that ties together the city’s past, present, and future.

The students’ vision is of an environmentally conscious and lively urban space that uses durable materials and embraces initiatives such as green/living roofs, rainwater collection, and a river ferry system. At the center of the proposal is a redesigned, localized food supply chain that establishes an equitable and inclusive environment.

The team successfully addressed issues of affordable housing, transportation, accessibility of key resources, sustainability, pricing and absorption.embraced the city’s iconic food culture, and incorporated durable and sustainable materials and systems that can be adapted for reuse in the long term.

UT Austin Students Win National Urban Design Competition [UT News]