Honoring Visionaries Who Inspire Great Places
The ULI J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development was established to recognize an individual, or a person representing an institution, whose career demonstrates a commitment to the highest standards of responsible development.
The $100,000 prize honors the legacy of legendary Kansas City, Missouri, developer Jesse Clyde Nichols (1880−1950), a founding ULI member who is widely regarded as one of America’s most influential entrepreneurs in land use during the first half of the 20th century.
2016 Nichols Laureate:
Dr. Cheong Koon Hean
Dr. Cheong Koon Hean, a widely acclaimed architect and urban planner credited with shaping much of Singapore’s urban landscape, has been named the 2016 recipient of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development. Dr. Cheong, the 17th Nichols laureate and the first from Asia.
Dr. Cheong, whose extraordinary career in city building spans 35 years, is Chief Executive Officer of Singapore’s Housing & Development Board (HDB), which builds and manages public housing for more than 80 percent of the city-state’s population. With over 9 in 10 of them owning the homes they live in, it has one of the highest homeownership rates in the world. Since holding this position in 2010, she has overseen one of Singapore’s largest residential building programs to help address the high housing demand. She has also introduced HDB’s ‘Roadmap to Better Living in HDB Towns’, which guides HDB’s development of well-designed, sustainable and community-centric towns.
History of the Nichols Prize
The Nichols Prize, endowed by the family of J.C. Nichols, honors the legacy of the legendary Kansas City, Missouri, developer. A founding ULI member, J.C. Nichols is widely regarded as one of America’s most influential entrepreneurs in land use during the first half of the 1900s.
Nichols pioneered the development of sustainable, mass-market residential neighborhoods built for permanence, and automobile-oriented shopping centers. The Country Club District, a model residential community; Country Club Plaza, a 77-year-old shopping center and multiuse development; and numerous well-preserved suburban communities south of downtown Kansas City attest to his enduring legacy in that city.
Vincent Scully, 2003 Nichols Prize laureate, said of J.C. Nichols, “There is no one involved with the American city who does not owe J.C. Nichols a debt for his vision and method in the planning and development of residential communities. His example has helped this generation to take on that basic program intelligently once again.”
J.C. Nichols’s America: The Suburban World of The Community Builders Handbook
Essay by Robert Fishman (Originally published with occasion of the J.C. Nichols Forum celebrated in Kansas City, Missouri, September 2016)