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Jed Boal ReportingSome of the brightest urban planners in the country have turned their attention to the reemergence of Magna. There's a $50,000 prize at stake for the winning design, but none of them had seen the sites until last week.
Adam Semel, Harvard University: "It's great to stand here and envision some of the things we've come up with. We need to rethink some of those things."
The design and business students are from Harvard, Columbia, the University of Colorado and the University of Texas. Four teams of finalists are competing to come up with the best development plans for one of two sites owned partly by Kennecott Land.
Adam Semel: "Understanding how it feels in relation to these mountains around us, it's a dramatic site, even though it's completely empty."
The 2,000 acre piece of land for years buffered Kennecott Utah Copper. In the future Kennecott may build homes, parks and shops.
Melissa Dittmer, Columbia University: "We didn't know what sort of people we'd be drawing from and who we'd be creating for."
Main Street Magna could also get a new look, all part of the competition sponsored by the Urban Land Institute. The group from Colorado thinks it may have the best feel for the land as neighboring westerners.
Thomas Magloczki, University of Colorado: "We've been able to use that knowledge and our experiences to apply to this challenge. I'm not sure it gives us an advantage, but it gives us a different perspective."
The students don't always see things the same, but try to use that diversity of thought to their advantage.
Melissa Dittmer, Columbia University: “There’s a lot of conflict, but that’s enjoyable.”
The Urban Land Institute calls the process a competitive approach to preservation and development. Kennecott is looking for new ideas; maybe these planners will provide the blueprints.
The winning team will be announced April first. Kennecott has no immediate plans to develop the land, but will consider the winning design.