UT Team Ranks in Top 4 at Urban Land Institute Meet

MBA Student Ryan White Helps Represent UT at Finals in Seattle

Texas McCombs
Texas McCombs News

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UT School of Architecture students Nasim Kheibari, Saba Abdolshani, Mehran Abili, Texas McCombs MBA Student Ryan White, and SOA student Edwin Flores, pose before their poster presentation of “The Stitch,” a plan to revitalize a site in downtown Seattle.

A team of architecture and business students from The University of Texas at Austin ranked among four finalists in the 2024 Urban Land Institute (ULI) Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition on Thursday in Seattle.

First-year MBA student Ryan White of the McCombs School of Business joined the team with master’s degree students Edwin Flores, Saba Abdolshani, Nasim Kheibari, and Mehran Abili of the School of Architecture.

“This has been an amazing opportunity to work with fellow graduate students in disciplines I have had little exposure to,” White says. “We all see it as a unique honor to represent UT at the finals of this prestigious competition.”

The UT group was selected in February from 59 teams representing more than 22 universities. The other finalists include two teams from Georgia Tech and one from the University of Maryland College Park.

For the finals, these students refined their original proposals and submitted revised documents for live, public presentations and Q&A sessions with the jury. Each finalist team received $10,000, and the winning team will receive $50,000.

This year’s ULI challenge tasked students with transforming underused county government buildings and land, as well as the surrounding 15.4 acres in downtown Seattle. As the master developer, each team was required to come up with a proposal to turn the area into a thriving, mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhood. The area is home to historical properties, is next to several neighborhoods, and is bounded by an interstate highway and the central business district.

Each team had to evaluate the benefits and financial possibilities of redeveloping the county-owned parcels within a 10-year period. Proposals must increase connectivity and mobility, and address equity and housing affordability; they should also have a positive economic effect on the study area and community while increasing sustainability and resilience.

The UT team named its proposal The Stitch. Team members described it as “a unifying project that looks to repair and unify the barren downtown lives of King County — building on accessibility, social equity, and resiliency to unite the residents and outside tourists. The Stitch is a centrally located revitalized community that will become the beating heart of downtown Seattle.”

Now in its 22nd year, the ULI Hines Competition is an annual graduate-level competition intended to provide an interdisciplinary learning experience for business and design students.

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Texas McCombs
Texas McCombs News

News, business research, and ideas from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. Learn more at www.mccombs.utexas.edu