The 2013 ULI/Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition is underway, with 160 teams from 70 universities in the United States and Canada developing solutions for a site in Minneapolis’s Downtown East neighborhood, near the site of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium.

Now in its 11th year, the Hines Competition is an urban design and development challenge for graduate students. Multidisciplinary teams of five representing at least three disciplines devise a comprehensive development program for a real, large-scale site. They have two weeks to develop solutions that include drawings, site plans, tables, and market-feasible financial data. It is an ideas competition: there is no expectation that any of the submitted schemes will be applied to the site. The winning team will receive $50,000 and the finalist teams $10,000 each.

At ULI’s Fall Meeting, ULI Chairman Peter S. Rummell cited the Hines Competition as a key program to help inspire a new generation of land use leaders.

I have high hopes for what ULI can accomplish. It’s trusted and respected around the world. And we need to ensure that it stays that way—by attracting not only the old and wise, but the young and smart. I want to see ULI build on the progress we’ve made through programs such as the Hines competition and our outreach to Young Leaders.

A nagging worry of mine is that ULI—and the industry itself—may be at risk of losing young professionals who don’t see real estate as being as appealing or as interesting as other professions. It’s ironic, because there probably has never been a more interesting time to be in real estate.

It’s at the center of all these forces of change that are reshaping our work. And, to get city building right, we need the best thinking. Not just from seasoned experts who’ve seen it done wrong, but from newcomers whose fresh ideas and creativity can keep us from repeating the past.

It’s up to us to show the next generation that a career in land use is a way to make an impact. It’s a way to make a meaningful difference in whether places are truly livable or just tolerable. And, with talent, good timing, common sense, and a little luck, they can even make some money in the process.