A team representing the University of Maryland has taken top honors in the 2015 Urban Land Institute (ULI) Hines Competition with its winning master plan proposal that transforms the Tulane/Gravier and Iberville neighborhoods in a downtown New Orleans area into a thriving urban neighborhood. The team from the University of Maryland edged out two teams from Harvard University and a joint team representing the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and University of Wisconsin – Madison.
As the winning team, the University of Maryland students received $50,000; each of the remaining three finalist teams received $10,000. The announcement was made at the competition’s conclusion yesterday in New Orleans. The 2015 victory for Maryland marks the second consecutive year that the university has won the Hines competition.
The ideas competition challenged multidisciplinary student teams with the task of devising a comprehensive design and development program for parts of the Tulane/Gravier and Iberville neighborhoods. This year’s competition was designed to simulate an actual urban design and development scenario, with certain details changed for the purposes of the competition. The competition scenario was based on a hypothetical situation in which community stakeholders, including residents, land owners, local businesses, and others in the area bound by the upcoming Lafitte Greenway, the eastern edge of the new medical district, and crossed by the elevated I-10 highway, came together to create the North Claiborne Neighborhood Improvement Association (NCNIA) – a fictional entity created for the purpose of the competition – which sought to convert the site into a thriving community that blends with culture and economy of the surrounding area.
“The four student teams’ final proposals all made innovative yet financially realistic master plans for helping revive a historic downtown area ripe with market potential,” said Jury Chairman J. Michael Pitchford, president and chief executive officer at CPDC in Silver Spring, Maryland. “When presented with an urban design assignment filled with critical land use challenges, each team stepped up and showed creative problem-solving skills. They will utilize these learned skills throughout their professions and go far in their careers.”
The winning proposal from the University of Maryland – “The Crossing” — fosters sensitive growth in Iberville, Bienville, and Lafitte by engaging the nearby medical campuses and the greenway. It develops a high-quality main street on Derbigny and phases in diverse housing stock at an appropriate urban scale. In the master plan, new development supports active programing under I-10, ensures affordable housing, and improves the area’s storm water infrastructure. Final phases of the plan reinforce the community-oriented approach. A proposed bus rapid transit works to improve accessibility for historically disadvantaged communities along North Claiborne Avenue. The ramp relocation and subsequent redesign of Basin Street unify the Lafitte Greenway and Louis Armstrong Park. Within the newly continuous green space, the Resilience Center symbolizes the essence of the proposal by bringing natives and visitors together to create an improved future for the city and its residents.
For more information on the ULI Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition, visit: http://uli.org/hines.