Through the competition, now underway, interdisciplinary teams of graduate students have been challenged to offer a practical, workable scheme for the design and redevelopment of a 73.5-acre site in East Village that will brand the neighborhood as an appealing destination, attract future investment, and improve the overall prospects for downtown economic prosperity. The competition is based on a hypothetical scenario in which San Diego’s Centre City Development Corporation (CCDC), acting on behalf of the San Diego Redevelopment Agency, has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the East Village redevelopment, and which assumes that the owners of individual parcels making up most of the 73.5 acres wish to combine their parcels into one site. Each student team is required to act as a master developer for the group of owners, designing a master plan for the site and supplying financial projections to support the master development plan.
The Hines competition strives to encourage cooperation and teamwork—necessary talents in the planning, design and development of sustainable communities—among future land use professionals and allied professions, such as architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, historic preservation, engineering, real estate development, finance, psychology and law. It is open to graduate students who are pursuing real estate-related studies at a North American university, including programs in real estate development, urban planning, urban design, architecture and landscape architecture.
A $50,000 prize will be awarded to the winning team; and an additional $30,000 will be split among the remaining finalist teams. This year, applications were submitted from 132 teams representing 48 universities in the United States and Canada, with some 660 students participating in total.
East Village is one of eight distinct neighborhoods making up the downtown area, which covers a total of 1,450 acres bound by Interstate 5 and the San Diego Bay.
While based on a hypothetical situation, the 2010 Hines competition addresses the city’s attempts since 1975 to revive its downtown through efforts by CCDC on behalf of the redevelopment agency.
To date the public nonprofit has invested $1.45 billion in public funds that has catalyzed a $13 billion private-sector investment leading to more than 17,600 new homes, more than 9,000 new hotel rooms, 7.92 million square feet of office and retail space, and $485 million in new public infrastructure. Two of the primary goals of the effort are to triple the current residential capacity to 90,000 and more than double the downtown workforce to 165,000.
The competition is focusing on East Village because while CCDC’s redevelopment efforts have revived other downtown neighborhoods, East Village remains largely bypassed. With private-sector activity stalled by the recession, CCDC is skeptical that redevelopment in that neighborhood will occur without an additional “jumpstart” on its part. The challenge posed to the students is to devise a scheme that incorporates the achievement of highest and best sustainable use, the generation of new economic activity, and the inclusion of a catalytic component that will give East Village an identity and trigger broader redevelopment throughout the neighborhood.
The Hines competition has been funded in perpetuity through a $3 million endowment from Gerald Hines. A legend in the land use industry, he is widely known as a leader who pioneered the use of high-quality planning and architecture as a marketable feature of development in office, residential and mixed-use projects. “Real estate development is a very exciting, imaginative field. It involves many disciplines and interaction with so many parts of our world—finance, politics, science, psychology—it affects the lives of so many people,” Hines said. “Through this competition, we are raising awareness among the students of the key role high-quality urban design plays in creating sustainable living environments.”
The teams will be expected to submit proposals that illustrate innovative approaches to five general elements: 1) planning context and analysis, 2) master land use plan, 3) urban design, 4) site specific illustrations, and 5) development schedule and finances. Participants have received project briefing materials, including a comprehensive problem statement; background information on the site; market information; relevant existing design proposals; and other details, along with a list of materials required for team presentations. The competition is designed as an exercise; there is no intention that the students’ plans will be implemented as part of any revitalization of the site.
Four finalist teams and several honorable mentions will be named next month. In the final phase of the competition, the student finalist teams will have the opportunity to expand their original schemes and respond in more detail. During this time, a member of each team will be brought to San Diego to tour the site and revise their presentations. On April 8, 2010, finalist team members will present their schemes to the competition jury members during a public forum in San Diego. The event will culminate with the announcement of the winning team.
The competition jury consists of renowned experts in urban planning, design and development: Jury Chairman Lizanne Galbreath, managing partner, Galbreath & Company, Norwalk, Conn.; Bert Gregory, FAIA, LEED AP, president and chief executive officer principal, Mithun, Seattle, Wash.; Jeffrey D. Kune, managing partner, DMG Capital Realty Advisors, West Palm Beach, Fla.; Neal Payton, AIA, LEED AP, senior principal, Torti Gallas & Partners, Los Angeles; and John M. Walsh III, President , TIG Real Estate Services, Inc., Dallas, Texas. Additional jury members will be announced soon.
For more information on the ULI Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition, visit www.udcompetition.uli.org.
The Urban Land Institute (www.uli.org) is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has nearly 33,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.