L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

Four winners of 2018 Plan Off


Every April, students from the Wilder School’s Master of Urban and Regional Planning program present their ideas for a better community in the annual Plan-Off! competition.

Students compete for a prize by pitching their solution to a real-world planning, public policy or management problem before a panel of expert judges. Students have three minutes to present their plans, which will advance through a series of rounds until a champion is named. The event is free and open to the public.

Congratulations to Jesse Harris, the winner of the 2018 Plan-Off! Runners up were Matt Becker, Max Ewart and Zhaokai Liu.

The 2018 Plan-Off took place on Friday, April 27, at the Virginia Housing Development Authority’s Virginia Housing Center. Also receiving awards were Cassandra Patterson, Best Urban Design Plan; Max Ewart, Best Public Outreach Plan; and Jesse Harris, Best Overall Plan.

The students and their presentations were:

  • Max Ewart, “Increasing Access to the James River Park System for Richmond's East End Residents”
  • Lara McLellan, “Safe Routes To School Development for Richmond Public Schools”
  • Cassandra Patterson, “Scotts Addition Complete Streets Plan”
  • Jessica Russo, “Citywide Policy Plan for Affordable Housing and Historic Preservation”
  • Matt Becker, “Creating a Framework for the MWCLT Lank Bank”
  • Mariah Williams, “Finding Homeplace: Exploring How Black Women Experience the Urban Environment in the city of Richmond”
  • Hannah Moore Cameron, “Contesting the Commemorative Narrative: Planning for Richmond's Cultural Landscape”
  • Nate Manning, “Myers Street Redevelopment Plan”
  • Grace Marie Leonard, “Relational Creativity in Highland Park: Learning Revitalization Through Innovation Together”
  • Zhaokai Liu, “The 4th District Police Station Plan”
  • Jake Elder, “Small Area Plan for the Route 36 Corridor”
  • Soumaya Ben-Miled, “Building Energy Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction”
  • Jesse Harris, “VCU Stormwater Management Plan”
  • Ben Leach, “The Carter G. Woodson Regional Stormwater and Nature Park”


The judges panel consisted of:

  • Cheryl Groce-Wright, executive director, Neighborhood Resource Center
  • Kelly Hall, director of planning and community development, Colonial Heights
  • Pamela Harris Lawton, associate professor, VCU Department of Art Education
  • George M. Homewood, interim director of economic development, Norfolk
  • Marianne Pitts, urban planner, Richmond Department of Planning and Development Review
  • Erica Sims, senior associate, development and programs, HDAdvisors
  • Jackie S. Stewart, strategic relations officer, Richmond Regional Planning District Commission
  • Mario Wells, real estate development officer, Communication Preservation and Development Corporation