Catalysts for Economic Regeneration: Five Finalists Selected for 2011 Urban Land Institute Amanda Burden Urban Open Space Award

Parks in Houston, Portland, and St. Louis Make Short List: Winner to Be Announced in May

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WASHINGTON (April 5, 2011) — Five finalists have been selected for the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Amanda Burden Urban Open Space Award, a competition that recognizes an outstanding example of a public open space that has enriched and revitalized its surrounding community.

The finalists are Citygarden in St. Louis, Mo.; Director Park in Portland, Ore.; Discovery Green in Houston, Texas; Jamison Square in Portland, Ore.; and the Raymond and Susan Brochstein Pavilion in Houston, Texas. The winner will be announced at ULI’s Real Estate Summit, set for May 18-20, 2011 in Phoenix. A $10,000 cash prize will be awarded to the individual or organization most responsible for the creation of the winning open space project.

The award was created through the generosity of Amanda M. Burden, New York City Planning Commissioner and 2009 laureate of the ULI J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development. “All great planning comes down to the granular approach of how a building meets the street, how a street feels, how you feel walking in the city, and how it feels to be in public spaces and use public spaces that are inviting,” said Ms. Burden, who is serving on the jury for the urban open space award. “Great public space is why you stay in the city.”

The five finalists were selected from an impressive collection of entries, representing urban areas throughout the United States. Finalist selections were based on project design and how each transformed or revived their surrounding community.

“These finalists stand as vivid reminders of the importance of great public places,” said Jury Chairman Marty Jones, president of Corcoran Jennison Companies in Boston. “Their catalytic impact on other investment in the surrounding area is particularly notable and the role of these parks in welcoming a broad range of users contributes to the vitality, urban fabric and the health of our cities and neighborhoods.”

The descriptions of the finalists, with the project’s “champion” in parentheses:

  • Citygarden, St. Louis, Missouri (City of St. Louis/Gateway Foundation) – With a design that draws on St. Louis’ chief natural feature—its rivers—the 2.9-acre Citygarden has attracted diverse users, catalyzed nearby development, and changed perceptions of downtown. Situated on two blocks of the underutilized Gateway Mall, the active sculpture garden has drawn an estimated one million visitors since its opening.
  • Director Park, Portland, Oregon (ZGF Architects/Portland Parks & Recreation Department) – Taking the place of a proposed 8-story parking structure, the Simon and Helen Director Park is half-acre piazza that serves as parlor and salon for Portland’s downtown institutions. With a café, fountain, and pavilion, the minimalist open space has become an outdoor room for Portland’s citizenry.
  • Discovery Green, Houston, Texas (Discovery Green Conservancy) – Once a contaminated, underdeveloped parcel on the edge of downtown, the 12-acre Discovery Green has become Houston’s signature open space. Adjacent to the city’s convention center, the heavily-programmed park has attracted an estimated two million visitors since opening and drawn reinvestment into east downtown.
  • Jamison Square, Portland, Oregon (Peter Walker and Partners Landscape Architecture) – Located in Portland’s Pearl District, Jamison Square is the first of a series of planned urban parks, each designed to reinforce the city’s relationship with the waterfront. With its interactive fountain, pool, and outdoor art gallery, the pocket park has become a kid-friendly magnet for neighborhood families.
  • Raymond and Susan Brochstein Pavilion, Houston, Texas (Thomas Phifer and Partners) – Formerly an underutilized and neglected quad at Rice University, the Raymond and Susan Brochstein Pavilion has created a new student center and social hub on campus. The airy pavilion is capped by a broad trellis and surrounded by elm tree groves, providing shade for its surrounding seating areas and winding footpaths.

The first ULI Amanda Burden Urban Open Space Award was presented in 2010, with Detroit’s Campus Martius Park winning the inaugural honor. Known as “Detroit’s Official Gathering Place,” the 2.5-acre green space was transformed from a desolate downtown parcel into a vibrant central square that is now the heart of the city’s downtown redevelopment initiative.

In addition to Jury Chairman Jones and Ms. Burden, other 2011 competition jury members are: Michael S. Balaban, president, Lowe Enterprises Real Estate Group, Eastern Region, Washington, D.C.; Gregory Baldwin, partner, ZGF Architects LLP, Portland, Ore.; Douglas W. Betz, senior vice president of development, Dayton, Ohio; William A. Gilchrist, director of placed-based planning, City of New Orleans, La.; Kenneth H. Hughes, president, Hughes Development, LP, Dallas, Texas; Mark Johnson, president, Civitas, Inc., Denver, Colo.; Christopher W. Kurz, president and chief executive officer, Linden Associates, Inc., Baltimore, Md.; David Malmuth, president, David Malmuth Development, San Diego, Calif.; Jeff Mayer, chief executive officer, Jeff Mayer + Partners, LLC, Irvine, Calif.; Randall K. Rowe, chairman, Green Courte Partners, LLC, Lake Forest, Ill.; and John B. Slidell, executive vice president, The Bozzuto Group, Greenbelt, Md.

About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute ( is a global 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 30,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.