Local Students Head to China for Global Schindler Award

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NJIT team is a finalist in prestigious urban mobility design award

NJIT Students Named as Finalist for Global Schindler Award

NJIT Students Named as Finalist for Global Schindler Award

"Our project was about arguing for a broader definition of what mobility is and how it affects different parts of the built environment," Professor Georgeen Theodore, AIA

A group of New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) students and their professor are headed to Shenzhen, China after their entry was selected as one of 12 finalists for the Global Schindler Award. The 2015 award, sponsored by Schindler, a leading global manufacturer of elevators and escalators, called on top architecture and design students from around the world to present outstanding mobility design concepts for a preselected project site in Shenzhen.

The NJIT team of finalists represents the Master of Infrastructure Planning program and are advised by Georgeen Theodore, an associate professor in the College of Architecture and Design and practicing urban designer. They are the only U.S. team to be selected as a finalist.

“Teamwork was a big component of this project. Our entry wasn’t developed by just one person; it was possible through a collaborative effort between an exceptional group of diverse students,” said group member Esther Zipori.

Schindler designed the juried competition to create an open forum for fresh thinking about the challenges and possibilities of a shared global, urban future, with mobility playing a vital role.

“Mobility in cities isn’t just about roads, highways, buses and trains,” said Greg Ergenbright, president, Schindler Elevator Corporation. “The architects of our future cities will need to consider creative and sustainable ways for people to move through our urban environments. This is the first year Schindler has opened the award to global submissions and it’s extremely gratifying to have our New Jersey neighbors make the final 12.”

The NJIT team sought to broaden the concept of mobility, focusing on physical movement as well as the social, economic and environmental challenges presented by globalization and urbanization.

“Our project was about arguing for a broader definition of what mobility is and how it affects different parts of the built environment,” said Theodore. “By taking a look at different aspects of mobility, from social mobility to economic mobility, we were able to more holistically address ways to make future cities more accessible.”

In order to analyze these various forms of mobility, the team carefully studied the site’s existing conditions, a daunting challenge given their physical distance from Shenzhen. Despite this distance, the team was able to identify similarities between the current conditions in Shenzhen and those in Newark, home of NJIT.

“While every city is unique, we found many parallels that made this a fascinating and relatable subject for us,” Theodore said. “All the things that couldn’t fit in Hong Kong at some point ended up in Shenzhen, and Newark, in many ways, has a similar relationship with Manhattan.”

“Urbanism is evolving into a new discipline, a way of working, mixing science and design,” explains Professor Kees Christiaanse, urban designer and Schindler Award collaborator. “We need a new generation of urbanists, more people engaging with design in responding to the challenges of urbanization.”

The Global Schindler Award presentation will be held in Shenzhen, China on April 30, 2015. All 12 members of the NJIT team will be in attendance. A total of $150,000 will be awarded to the winners, ranging from a first prize of $50,000 to six travel grants for $5,000 each. Schindler is developing a 100-page book containing essays about "Future Cities" alongside the students’ project submissions.

About Schindler Elevator Corporation
Schindler Elevator Corporation is the North American operation of the Switzerland-based Schindler Group, a leading global mobility provider with approximately 54,000 employees operating in more than 100 countries. Schindler supports sustainable urban development with safe, reliable and ecologically sound mobility solutions and its equipment moves one billion people every day all over the world. For additional information about Schindler Elevator Corporation, visit the company’s Web site at http://www.us.schindler.com.

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Kathy Rucki