J.C. Nichols Student Prize Endowed for Architecture, Urban Planning + Design Students

Students will present visions for Trolley Track Trail development to judges

Development along Kansas City’s popular Trolley Track Trail could get a major boost soon, thanks to a new student design competition being inaugurated this year in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

The J.C. Nichols Planning Prize competition is open to junior-level UMKC students in an Urban Planning and Design class being taught by associate professor Michael Frisch, AICP, and visiting professor Ted Seligson, FAIA.

“The university is honored by this endowment, made possible by a generous donation from the Miller Nichols Charitable Foundation,” said Joy D. Swallow, FAIA, associate professor and chair of the AUP+D department. “J.C. Nichols’ legacy as a pioneer and innovator in urban planning is recognized internationally, and we in Kansas City continue to benefit daily from his vision.”

The Trolley Track Trail is a former trolley line right-of-way owned and operated by the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority bus system. The trail has been converted to a walking-biking-jogging path and extends from the UMKC Volker campus adjacent to the Country Club Plaza, to the intersection of 85th Street and Prospect Avenue.

For the competition, students will design and present a vision for development along a specific section of the trail. Seven students are entered in the competition, and each has been assigned a different trail section for his or her focus.

“The design work for the competition will involve a mix of individual and group work, just like what occurs in a professional urban planning office,” Frisch said, giving the students valuable professional-style experience.

The students are competing for a $500 prize. They will present their design plans to a jury April 27; the jury will then deliberate and decide on the winner the same day.

“As a transportation authority, the ATA is focused on running a bus system. Development and planning is not their field. Through this competition, we can provide them with visions of what trail-focused development could look like. It’s thinking that they don’t have the time or the budget to do,” Frisch said.

That’s typical for community engagement by the department.

“We are a catalyst. We set up projects that professional firms can then pick up and run with,” Frisch said. “We view our part in UMKC’s urban mission as a two-way exchange. We are helping the community, and we are learning from the community at the same time.”

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City

The University of Missouri-Kansas City, one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit www.umkc.edu. You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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