University of Texas at Arlington in partnership with University of Texas at Dallas


Competition Dates: Friday, March 6, 2020 and Saturday, March 7, 2020 at UT-Arlington

Competition Location: College of Architecture, Planning, and Public Affairs (CAPPA) at UT-Arlington (601 W. Nedderman Drive, Suite 203, Arlington, TX 76019-0108)

Oversight Leaders:

  • David Coursey, Interim Chair Dept. of Public Affairs and Planning and MPA Director, CAPPA, UTA – (214 636 0108)
  • Meghna Sabharwal, Program Head, School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences (EPPS), UTD, (972 883 6473)
  • John McCaskill, Clinical Professor of Public and Nonprofit Management, UTD, (972-883-6274)

Technical Managers:

Site Judges:

  • Paul Frederiksen: Assistant City Manager of the City of Duncanville, Texas. He has a deep understanding of zoning, urban design, and transportation planning and land use issues. He also been a town manager and city administrator in Texas. During his public service career with such as Texas cities Dallas, Shenandoah, Argyle and now Duncanville he has continued to build on his wealth of experience in city management and sustainable urban planning in particular.
  • Teodoro Benavides: currently serves as a faculty member, Associate Professor of Practice, for the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences’ Public and Nonprofit Management Program. In addition, he serves as the Director for the Masters in Public Affairs Program and the Department’s Internship Coordinator.
  • Marty Wieder: Director of Economic Development with the City of Grand Prairie, Texas, since late May 2016. A double graduate (both Bachelor and Master degrees) of the University of Texas at Arlington, Marty has been blessed to work with Cities, chambers of commerce a Congressman and a Council of Governments – as well as almost a decade with an architecture firm. He is a firm believer in both free market economics and the Council-Manager form of government.
  • Travis Liska: AICP, Senior Transportation Planner, manages regional land use / transportation planning projects for the North Central Texas Council of Governments, the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the Dallas – Fort Worth region. His experience includes transit-oriented development planning, parking management policy, and analysis on the economic relationship of land development to transportation through value capture, benefit cost analysis, and funding. He’s recently lead NCTCOG’s Transportation Department gentrification study and parking management policy guidance. Travis holds a bachelor’s in Geography/GIS and a master’s in urban and Regional Planning from Texas A&M University.
  • Dr. Ivonne Audirac teaches in the master’s and Ph.D. planning programs of the Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture at UTA’s College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs (CAPPA). She has conducted research on information technology and urban form, smart growth and rural sustainable development. She has also conducted research on behavioral response to non-motorized mobility in automobile-dependent urban areas as well as on aspect of universal design and transit. Currently she teaches courses in planning and urban development, planning for community development, physical planning and urban design, advanced urban theory and leads an interdisciplinary course on planning for new mobilities “Exploring a future of hypermobility” co-taught with architecture and civil engineering faculty.
  • Tharani Devi Krishnakumar: Senior Planner with the City of Tyler, Texas. Her experience includes land use management, transportation planning, long-range planning and on-street bicycle master plan. Currently, she serves as the Direct-Elect for the APA East Texas Chapter. She graduated with Dual Masters in Social Work and Urban Affairs from the University of Texas at Arlington. Tharani is also a 2014 Graduate Fellow of the Archer Center Graduate Program in Public Policy from the University of Texas System in Washington D.C. She is a treehugger and believes in sustainable planning policy-making.

IMPORTANT: please remember to bring your own laptop computers to the competition. You must have GOOGLE CHROME installed. This is the only browser compatible with the simulation. Tablets are NOT compatible with the simulation. Remember to enable you ‘cookies.’ 

Informal Welcome Meet & Greet:

Friday, March 6, 2020

Join us for an informal gathering at the Firehouse Gastropub in Grand Prairie (; 321 Main St., Grand Prairie, TX) to meet your team members, competition staff, and fellow competitors.  Time will be announced soon but expect 5:30-7 PM. Get ready for some fun policy trivia!

Hotel Details:

Hilton Arlington (Must reserve by 2/21/20)

Double or Standard King $149

Shuttle service to and from DFW Airport and to and from CAPPA (competition site) and back from Legal Draft (award ceremony). Does not include travel to and from the 3/6 reception at Firehouse GastroPub
Call hotel directly to book – (817) 640-3322 and ask for the NAS rate or via web link (better!) at

Includes breakfast (it’s a HUGE buffet) for up to two people in the room (more than 2 can stay in the room)

There are plenty of moderately-priced hotel options near UTA. Some suggestions include (with pricing per night as of 1/20): LaQuinta ($84, 3.6 miles); Howard Johnson ($75, 2.9 miles); Holiday Inn Express ($97, 3.9 miles). We suggest checking the usual travel sites (e.g., Expedia) and Hotwire for the best discounts.

Ground Transportation:

UTA is roughly halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is 14 miles north and Dallas Love Field (DAL) is 24 miles northeast of UTA. The drive between UTA and DFW is much faster and easier. Unfortunately, there are no mass transit options into Arlington from either airport. There are ample car rentals available at the airport and we suggest Hotwire for the best rates. UTA is not providing shuttle service to campus and we suggest using Lyft, Uber, etc. or arrange with a fellow competitor. We expect many students will drive-in from nearby schools (e.g., UNT, UTD, TAMU, UT-Austin, UTSA, etc.). If you book at the expected room block with the Hilton Arlington, there is a shuttle service.

Competition Day – Parking:

If you plan to park at UTA, please email Darsa Wright ( at least TWO WEEKS before the event (2/22) with you name, email, and phone number to arrange a day parking pass. Parking will be within 100 yards of the event and accessible parking is also available.  Further parking details will be provided.

It is the participant’s responsibility to ensure they have made all necessary travel plans.

Initial Competition Day Details:

Participants must be at the CAPPA building, 2nd floor east entrance (follow signs and other posting on campus) no later than 8:00 AM for check-in on Saturday, March 7, 2020. See building 666 on this map—UTA-CAMPUS-MAP–8×11–HOUSING.pdf. Parking will likely be in F7 just off S. Cooper Street. Coffee and some morning snacks will be available beginning at 7:45 AM (presuming breakfast at your hotel). Welcoming remarks, instructions, and the start of the competition will begin promptly at 8:30 AM. Lunch will be provided during the competition. In the afternoon, competitors will be able to unwind in CAPPA’s beautiful courtyard (weather permitting) with afternoon snacks.

 Competition Award Ceremony and Reception

Join us at one of the best microbreweries in Dallas – Legal Draft ( just 2 miles from campus from 6:30 – 8 PM for the awards reception as we wrap-up the event. Expect light appetizers (probably a taco or bbq bar) and a drink on us (non-alcoholic drinks available).  We have the whole brewery reserved with the usual bar games (like cornhole, etc.) for those wanting to compete a little more.

The entire CAPPA and EPPS community looks forward to you joining us in Dallas.  If you have any questions, do not hesitate reaching out to Dr. David Coursey, your site leader.