A team of students from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign was one of four finalists for the 2007 Urban Land Institute Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition. The Illinois team did not win the $50,000 prize but did win $10,000 as a finalist. Team members were, from left, Samantha Singer (MUP 2007), Todd Bjerkaas (MUP 2007), Leah Ostenberg (MUP 2007), Anuttama Dasgupta (MUP 2007), and Dong Jun Lim (MUP 2006). Professor Brian Deal was the faculty advisor.
The competition was open to graduate students who are pursuing real estate-related studies at a North American university, including programs in real estate development, city planning, urban design, architecture and landscape architecture. The four finalists were chosen from 102 teams totaling more than 510 students representing 26 universities in the U.S. and Canada. This year's competition study area connected downtown Los Angeles to Boyle Heights and was defined as two cross-axial areas centered on East First Street and the Los Angeles River.
The Illinois team's proposal, entitled “Confluencia,” used the revitalized river and new transit links to reconnect the “urban islands” that make up Los Angeles. The plan envisioned development around transit lines and hubs and along First Street, reconnecting downtown and Boyle Heights with the sprawling Los Angeles archipelago. The riverway, with open spaces extending into surrounding neighborhoods and a greened-in railyards, forms a common spine. At the Mariachi Plaza development zone, a neighborhood retail at grade and a high concentration of affordable and workforce housing above is proposed as a model development around transit.
The submission PDF file is available but is quite large to download. To learn about this year's competition, visit http://udcompetition.uli.org.