Inaugural Winners Announced for ULI Hines Student Competition - Europe

A team from Politecnico di Milano have been revealed as the inaugural winners of a pan-European virtual real estate competition for university students and will receive one-year ULI membership and fast track to Hines’ internship program

Four students from Politecnico di Milano have emerged victorious in the final of a pan-European virtual real estate competition, established by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and Hines, the international real estate firm, which challenged teams to prepare a plan for a redevelopment of a fictional city centre location. The final of the ULI Hines Student Competition – Europe took place on Thursday 18 June, and the winners will each receive a one-year ULI membership and fast-track to Hines’ internship programme.

Danilo Chiesa, Adam Houchaimi, Livia di Maria, and Edoardo Maria Cici, from Politecnico di Milano, beat out stiff competition from eight other teams from higher-education establishments across Europe, including the University of Cambridge, Technological University Dublin, London Business School, Polytechnic University of Milan, INSEAD graduate business school and the Technical University of Madrid.

Team captain, Danilo Chiesa, said: “We are delighted to be crowned the winners of this inaugural competition, which has certainly put us through our paces! The final was a very challenging day and tested our communication skills as a team, our ability to work remotely with all the team members, as well as our ability to creatively design a suggested solution to the case study that we were presented with. It was a little nerve-wracking to be presenting to such senior leaders of the real estate industry but I’m really proud of our team’s efforts and we’ve felt well supported throughout the day.”

The final consisted of a whole day of virtual sessions using a video conferencing platform, including a briefing in the morning followed by each of the nine teams working together in group of four using virtual “breakout rooms”, with the support of a volunteer mentor from ULI’s Young Leaders and NEXT networks. The teams were asked to prepare a plan for the case study, based on a fictional location called “Cathedral City”, which looked at how the city centre could shift from retail towards community-led mixed-use development – an interesting and timely challenge.

The finalists were asked to present their plans to a high-powered jury consisting of senior industry professionals, including Brian Moran (chair), Head of Hines Ireland; Lars Huber, CEO of Hines Europe, Lisette van Doorn, CEO of ULI Europe; Sir Stuart Lipton, Lipton Rogers Development, Hala El Akl, Director of PLP Architecture; Ed Siskind, CEO of Cale Street Partners; and, Sabine Lebesque, City of Amsterdam Development Corporation.

Lars Huber, CEO of Hines Europe, said: “We are very proud to support this competition, which has revealed some incredible talent that we look forward to seeing work in the real estate industry. Special congratulations to the winning team but I think everybody who took part today can be very pleased with their performance as we’ve seen some very innovation solutions and fresh new ideas on how to rise to the challenges that our industry faces at this present time.”

Lisette van Doorn, CEO of ULI Europe, said: “Creating and sustaining thriving communities is at the heart of what ULI stands for and it is especially important that we attract and retain the best talent to our industry to support us in our mission. This competition is a perfect example of everything ULI stands for with a multi-disciplinary, multi-generational collaboration focused on thought leadership, learning and sharing best practices.

Seeing the enthusiasm and motivation from the competing students has been fantastic and we hope they will stay involved with ULI when developing their careers, leveraging our content and global network. And hopefully at some point they will be as committed as our jury to give back to younger generations.”

Following the success of this year’s competition, plans are underway for developing the next iteration. For further information, please visit:

The Urban Land Institute is a non-profit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the institute has over 45,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land us and development disciplines.

ULI has over 4,000 members in Europe across 14 National Council country networks. For more information, please visit, follow us on Twitter or follow our LinkedIn page.

Hines is a privately owned global real estate investment firm founded in 1957 with a presence in 205 cities in 24 countries. Hines has approximately $133.3 billion of assets under management, including $71 billion for which Hines provides fiduciary investment management services, and $62.3 billion for which Hines provides third-party property-level services. The firm has 165 developments currently underway around the world. Historically, Hines has developed, redeveloped or acquired 1,393 properties, totaling over 459 million square feet. The firm’s current property and asset management portfolio includes 539 properties, representing over 232 million square feet. With extensive experience in investments across the risk spectrum and all property types, and a pioneering commitment to sustainability, Hines is one of the largest and most-respected real estate organizations in the world.

Since entering Europe in 1991, Hines has grown its European platform to include offices in 16 cities as well as a presence in 49 cities in 11 countries, with €20.9 billion of assets under management in Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom.

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