THE COMPETITION. “The ULI Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition offers graduate 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 have two weeks to devise a comprehensive design and development program for a real, large-scale site full of challenges and opportunities.”
AWARDS. Urban Groves was awarded an honorable mention in the 2015 edition of the Hines Competition for “diagrammatic visualization, a good optimization of real estate, and general presentation board design.” The project was only one of 12 that received an award, out of 120 submissions from 60 universities in the United States and Canada. Urban Groves also received a Merit Award from the Oregon Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.
THE CHALLENGE. The 2015 competition tasked teams to create a master plan to transform part of the Treme-Lafitte neighborhood of New Orleans into a thriving urban community. Teams were asked to respond to the site’s proximity to key locations (the French Quarter, a new medical district, and the central business district), to address how the neighborhood interfaces with the new Lafitte Greenway linear park, and how to bridge (both physically and symbolically) the gap in the site created by the Interstate 10 highway.
THE DESIGN. Urban Groves addresses the constraints and opportunities of the site through three main strategies: an investment in public infrastructure, promotion of local industry, and by changing the urban interface under the I-10 overpass. An initial investment in green infrastructure creates a livable environment for current residents and visitors, and sets the stage for future development. Maker Spaces promote entrepreneurial endeavors and collaborative processes, providing a launch pad for local start-up businesses, and acting as a catalyst for activity. The Canopy bridges the divide between the two halves of the neighborhood and becomes a landmark for the new district, planting seeds for future development and establishing a revitalized identity.