Canadian students make finals of Urban Land Institute design competition

Canadian students in design competition finals

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Canadian graduate students have been named finalists in the Urban Land Institute’s annual design competition, which gives five-member, multidisciplinary teams a two-week timeline to devise a development plan for a designated site in a North American city. This year, 105 teams from 61 universities in Canada, the United States and Singapore took up the challenge to forge a mixed-use, mixed-income scheme for the East Village neighbourhood in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

Frances Grout-Brown, Leorah Klein, Yanlin Zhou, Ruotian Tan and Chenyi Xu — collaboratively representing Ryerson, York and Western Universities and University of Toronto — earned a place in the final four with a plan for a LEED neighbourhood that emphasizes sustainability, resiliency and connectivity to the existing urban fabric. They’ll now have an opportunity to confer with stakeholders in Kansas City and further refine their plan before presenting it to a jury of professionals working in various fields of commercial real estate, land use planning and urban design.

“The final four teams had a strong vision aligned with the challenge, balanced urban design with financial feasibility, demonstrated teamwork, and showed potential to improve on their original proposals in the finals,” observes Diana Reid, the jury chair and an Urban Land Institute trustee from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “It was inspiring for the jurors to see the next generation of the real estate industry.”

The Canadian quintet has advanced to the finals along with teams from the Georgia Institute of Technology, University of California Berkley, and another collaborative effort from students at University of Houston, Pennsylvania State University and Columbia University. As finalists, they’ll receive USD $10,000 and are eligible for the USD $50,000 top prize, with $5,000 of that earmarked for their university or universities.

Two other Canadian teams, representing University of Calgary and University of Waterloo and University of Toronto, were among eight honourable mentions.

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