2022 Plimpton-Poorvu Design Prize, Third Prize: “Urban Health Catalyst”

Outdoor space with four palm trees, colorful advertisements and people sitting on benches

Rendering of bustling public outdoor space at Urban Health Catalyst.

by Vicky Chen (MAUD/ MDes REBE ’22) and Xudong Zhu (MAUD ’22) — Recipients of the 2022 Plimpton-Poorvu Design Prize, Third Prize.

The Health District, a developing neighborhood in Miami, is home to the second-largest concentration of medical and scientific facilities in the US, after Houston. Boasting 10 hospitals and research facilities, five municipal agency buildings, and three universities and colleges, it is the hub of Miami’s expanding biotechnology and medical research industries. Due to its singular purpose, the area—which bustles with activity during the daytime—becomes a ghost town at night, leaving only patients, night shift employees, and merciless machines. “Urban Health Catalyst: An Innovative Health Themed Development Model in Miami Health District” strives to provide an accessible living environment for healthcare employees by introducing mixed-income housing and health-themed programming to the institutional Health District. We also plan to utilize the healthcare resources to stimulate the surrounding distressed neighborhoods.

Rendering of the complex with infographics on its development strategy and financials including key return measures and return sensitivities.

For the urban scale, we suggest a high-density, mixed-use spine spanning the Health District, creating a neighborhood that is walkable and livable. This continuous linear development connects River Landing and Williams Park, two anchor points in the surrounding area. Neighbors in the area may share the communal facilities with future tenants.

We want to further stack lessons learned from the pandemic about social, environmental, and economic health by developing a mixed-use project on government-owned vacant land. By bringing 448 units of mixed-income housing and medical community–oriented programs to the current single-use district, Urban Health Catalyst is meeting market needs to provide a quality healthy environment for locals and future tenants.