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Graduate students Aditi Mehta and Jacquelyn Dadakis, awarded second place in JPMorgan Chase Competition

Redesign of an urban grocery nets non-profit organization $15,000
For their redesign of an abandoned store in New Orleans, urban planning and design graduate students Aditi Mehta and Jacquelyn Dadakis, along with students from Washington University in St. Louis, won the second place prize in the 2009 JPMorgan Chase Community Development Competition.

Mehta and Dadakis, who are NOLA fellows — a joint project of the Public Service Center and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning — worked with Broad Community Connections, a New Orleans non-profit run by former Public Service Fellow Jeffrey Schwartz ’08. The students came up with a redevelopment plan for an abandoned food business in New Orleans by redesigning an existing grocery store, Robert’s Fresh Market, on historic Broad Street in New Orleans — a commercial avenue in the city that was partially destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

With the revitalization of the store, the team hopes to provide a model for further economic development in the neighborhood. For Aditi, the Broad Street reFresh project, "was especially rewarding because it will have real world implications." For placing second in the competition, Broad Community Connections will receive $15,000 seed funding for the proposal.

Mehta will again be in New Orleans this January working as a NOLA Fellow. Her project is a video/photo project showcasing the community of Broad Street. More about her project can be found here: http://colabradio.mit.edu/?p=576. More about the NOLA Fellows program can be seen on TechTV.

Urban planning and design graduate students Holly Jo Sparks and Lakshmi Sridaran, working in conjunction with an architecture studio at Washington University, placed first in last year’s competition with their development plan for the reuse of the Franz Building in Central City.

Department of Urban Studies and Planning faculty member Karl Seidman was an advisor for the proposal. The JPMorgan Chase Community Development Competition challenges students to develop community-building real estate projects in New Orleans with nonprofit organizations.


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