Matt Nickel, Dos Pueblos High School graduate 2003, who is currently a 2nd year graduate student at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning in Ann Arbor, and son of Peter Nickel and Carrie Garner of Santa Barbara, is a finalist in the 2011 Gerald D. Hines Student Design Competition.

The Urban Land Institute, the sponsor of the 9th annual Hines competition, offers graduate-level students the opportunity to form their own multidisciplinary teams and engage in a challenging exercise in responsible land use. Student teams comprising at least three disciplines had two weeks to devise a comprehensive design and development program for a real, large-scale site full of challenges and opportunities. Submissions had to consist of boards that included drawings, site plans, tables, and market-feasible financial data

A $50,000 prize will be awarded to the winning team; and each of the remaining three finalist teams will receive $10,000. This year, applications were submitted from 167 teams representing 65 universities in the United States and Canada, with 835 students participating in total. The 4 finalist teams will be flown out to Seattle, Washington to present their proposals to a jury comprised of renowned experts throughout the United States in urban planning, design and development. The winners will be announced on March 31.

Now underway, the 2011 competition challenges teams to create a practical and workable scheme for the best use of approximately 33.5 acres around the Seattle Sound Transit system’s Mount Baker station. The competition is based on a hypothetical proposal in which a local family with significant landholdings in the immediate vicinity of the Mount Baker station seeks to devise a long-term development proposal that will leverage the potential of neighborhood and give an identity to the area surrounding the station. In order to meet the owners’ demands, student teams will act as a master developer by proposing a master land use plan for the development site as well as supplying financial projections needed 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.


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