2022 Nichols Student Prize Winners

Tianna Morton wins First Prize in the 2022 Nichols Student Prize competition for Urban Planning + Design students.

The Garden District
The Garden District, FIRST PRIZE

Tianna Morton’s project reimagined the area adjacent to Main and Linwood as “The Garden District.” Her project starts with a examination of whether big-box retail will still be viable in the future. Taking the site of Midtown Marketplace, she redevelops Linwood Boulevard as the site for apartments with an adjacent community of a mix of housing types. The Garden District will expand housing opportunity in Kansas City while providing a new park.

Two other projects received prizes in the competition. Jazmin Bustos received a Second Prize for her project Imagine the Possibilities. The jury was impressed with the attention to community institutions as part of her program for the site at Main and Linwood.

Imagine the Possibilities
Jazmin Bustos, Second Prize

Jazmin Bustos’ project included a child care facility, a library, and a community center with the aim of providing the services that could bring families back into this portion of Midtown Kansas City. Finally, the jury awarded a Second Prize to Luke Bertram’s project Baltimore Square.

Baltimore Square
Luke Bertram, Second Prize

Baltimore Square proposes the extension of Baltimore Avenue north across Linwood Boulevard up to 31st Street. Around the area of 32nd Street, Baltimore Avenue would intersect a public square providing a quiet respite from the bustle of Main St, Linwood Boulevard and 31st Street. The jury thought this design reflected an appealing sense of urbanism.

The Nichols Student Prize is awarded to students in competing to develop innovative urban designs and developments as a part of their education in UMKC Urban Planning + Design program. Support for the Nichols Student prize has been generously endowed by the Miller Nichols Charitable Foundation.

AUPD joins the new UMKC School of Science and Engineering in 2022.

The Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design will be joining the new UMKC School of Science in Engineering on July 1, 2022. Come to UMKC and learn to build the cities of tomorrow with programs in Architecture, Urban Planning + Design, Civil Engineering and Environmental Studies.

2019 Nichols Prize Winners Announced


Thomas Meyer’s project “Residents and Rain Gardens” won First Place in the 2019 Nichols Prize for Urban Planning + Design. This project proposed a combination of a dense new urban neighborhood along Troost Avenue from 64rd Street to 65th Street as well as an additional urban park on the east side of the site. Several videos show his plans for the Landing Site through his digital model: https://youtu.be/a2_lBxcIHjk, https://youtu.be/7CCG4J86ZyM


Jared Islas was awarded Second Place in the 2019 Nichols Prize Competition for his project “The Promenade.”

Bradley Hocevar won Honorable Mention for his project “Market Square at The Landing.”


Ryan Deeken was also given Honorable Mention for his project “The Resilient Landing”


The JC Nichols Student Prize competition is open to all students in the Junior level Urban Planning + Design studio UPD 312. The Nichols Prize is generously supported by the Miller Nichols Charitable Foundation.






Urban Planning + Design is the only PAB accredited planning progam in Missouri.

The BA in Urban Planning + Design at UMKC is the only PAB accredited planning program in Missouri. Planning accreditation ensures that program graduates meet the standards necessary for professional planning practice.

Urban Planning + Design students take a rigorous 3-year studio sequence in planning + design, complete a professional planning internship, and graduate with a portfolio of skills. Graduates use this portfolio to show their capabilities to perspective employers. UPD alums work in New Zealand, Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Colorado, Texas, Virginia and DC as well as in Missouri and Kansas. Our grads have gone to some of the best graduate schools in country.

Apply now for Fall 2019! https://www.umkc.edu/apply/

For more information about UMKC Urban Planning + Design, contact Program Director Michael Frisch, PhD, AICP at frischm@umkc.edu.

Information about planning accreditation may be found here:  http://www.planningaccreditationboard.org/index.php?id=30





Transit Driven Thinking

from UMKC Communications 5/17/2017

Nichols Student Prize contestants inspired by streetcar extension

Kansas City’s new streetcar is already driving development activity along its route. So with an election to decide on an extension plan in the offing, it’s only natural to imagine what changes in the city’s urban environment could follow.

Students in the Urban Planning and Design Studio II course at the University of Missouri-Kansas City took on that challenge, and did more than merely imagine the possibilities. The class, taught by faculty members Michael Frisch, AICP and Ted Seligson, FAIA researched existing land uses along the extension route, selected specific intersections, designed transit-driven developments at those locations that would meet community needs, and drafted implementation plans for their concepts. The student proposals were entered in the annual J.C. Nichols Student Prize competition sponsored by the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design, part of UMKC’s College of Arts and Sciences. Funding for the Nichols Student Prize has been generously provided by the Miller Nichols Charitable Foundation.

Each student selected a strategic node on Main Street from 30th Street to the UMKC campus.

At 31st and Main, Alex Gilbertson envisioned Warwick Ridge, an iconic building composed of stacked, cantilevered and offset layers, with luxury apartments atop first-floor retail shops.

At Linwood and Main, Rawya Alrammah called for a return to historical levels of housing density, with multiple apartment buildings over underground parking, surrounding an open central courtyard.

Billie Hufford recommended an emphasis on enhanced retail services at Armour and Main, anchored by a new Main Market food hall with dozens of micro-businesses in stalls on a first floor that could be opened to the elements in good weather; apartments would occupy the upper floors.

At that same intersection, Thomas Kimmel’s concept focused on adding a variety of housing types to an under-utilized 13-acre tract behind a school and Home Depot, tied together with a pedestrian concourse dubbed “The Circuit.”

A few blocks to the south, Sean Thomas sought to tie together the intersections of 39th and Main with Main and Westport to create a pedestrian-friendly “harmonious urbanism” that would reclaim areas sacrificed to automotive traffic and parking.

Taylor Vande Velde looked at 43rd and Main and saw an intersection physically dominated by huge nearby buildings – the American Century towers and the Marriott hotel. To counter that impression, she called for a human-scaled piece of landmark architecture built along the waterway. Mill Creek Point would include ground-level retail and community space with residences above.

The Nichols Prize jury, however, was most taken with David McCumber’s concept for the intersection of Main and Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard, and awarded him first place in the competition. His pedestrian-oriented concept, Plaza Connections, would reclaim large swaths of asphalt for human use, extend the Trolley Track Trail north of the Country Club Plaza, and add two pedestrian bridges across Brush Creek and three new apartment buildings. But the centerpiece of his concept borrows, as does the Plaza, from Seville, Spain: a half-circle hotel structure outlining a circular public plaza space. The hotel would be built on land owned by the city’s Parks Department, with ample first-floor space open to all, in a new take on public-private partnerships.

The jurors were Prof. Joy Swallow, the AUP+D Department Chair; Bill Bruning, a member of the department’s Advisory Board; Diane Burnette, director of MainCOR; and Gib Kerr of Cushman & Wakefield and the Regional Transit Alliance. They awarded third place to Vande Velde for Mill Creek Point, and second prize to Kimmel for The Circuit.

The 2015 JC Nichols Student Prize Reception is Friday, May 8, 2015, 5pm.

The 2015 JC Nichols Student Prize reception is Friday, May 8th, at 5:30 pm in Katz Hall Room 101. The winners of the 2015 student prize in urban planning + design as well as other Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design honors will be announced at this reception. All are welcome.

The JC Nichols Student Prize in Urban Planning + Design has been made possible by a generous contribution of the Miller Nichols Charitable Foundation.

2015 Alumni Honoree: Bart Rudolph

The UMKC Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design honored Bart Rudolph (Urban Planning + Design, Class of 2006) as the 2015 Alumni Honoree. Bart gave a 40 minute talk at Katz Hall on Friday evening, April 17 touching on major milestones in his career from UMKC to his present position as Senior Transportation Planner of Kittelson & Associates Inc. of Anchorage Alaska.





bartUMKC  Not the typical image of urban planning!

Bart’s post UMKC career in transportation planning started at the Mid America Regional Council, Kansas City’s metropolitan planning organization (MPO). From MARC he moved to Lawrence, Kansas where he worked on pedestrian and bicycle planning. However, the big change in his career was when he accepted a position in Alaska. He worked on multi-modal transportation plans that included planning for ferries, airports, snowmachines, and boardwalks as well as typical highway and rail connections.


Images from Bart’s trips to support the Yukon Kuskokwim Transportation Plan, an area of Western Alaska.

Bart Rudolph’s professional planning experience shows that careers in Urban Planning + Design can take you to some of the most beautiful and wild scenery in the United States and the world:



Brian Jackson and Chayton True share 2013 JC Nichols Student Prize

The Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design is pleased to announce that Brian Jackson and Chayton True are the 2013 winners of the JC Nichols Prize Student Prize. Both projects examined the impact of moving I-35 on the Crossroads and Westside neighborhoods in Kansas City. The projects were selected by a jury of professionals from eleven projects examining “The Broadway Corridor” in Kansas City.

Brian Jackson’s project shown in Figure 1, examined the impact of developing a multi-modal transit station on Broadway across from Bartle Hall. Brian Jackson used the present I-35 right of way for the development of a light rail line that would connect Johnson County with Downtown Kansas City. The removal of the expressway allows for the development of a neighborhood just west of the Kauffman Performing Arts Center. A platform extends over the north side of I-670 allowing the construction of a convention hotel and a new luxury high rise apartment tower.

Brian Jackson's winning design for the Broadway Corridor.
Brian Jackson’s winning design for the Broadway Corridor.

Chayton True’s design examined the intersection of Southwest Boulevard and West Pennway. Chayton True redesigned almost all of the circulation routes including I-35, Broadway, West Pennway and Pershing Road. His design creates a new node that opens up for redevelopment when I-35 is removed as shown in Figure 2.

Chayton True's winning design for the Broadway Corridor
Chayton True’s winning design for the Broadway Corridor


The JC Nichols Prize is given to the best student projects in the Junior level studio of the Urban Planning + Design program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The prize has been generously funded by gifts from the Miller Nichols Charitable Foundation and from individual donors.