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Internationally acclaimed artist and urban planner Theaster Gates, whose rise to prominence began with his use of art and culture to revive underserved neighborhoods in his hometown of Chicago, has been named the 2018 recipient of the ULI J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development. Gates was awarded the prize by Michael Spies, ULI governing trustee and 2018 Nichols Prize jury chairman, during the opening general session of the 2018 ULI Fall Meeting.

Gates’s creative approach to revitalizing neglected urban neighborhoods—including the reuse of building materials and other items to transform vacant properties into usable space—is what earned him the Nichols Prize, the Institute’s highest honor. His studies in urban planning and sculpture have informed and inspired his work, which began on Chicago’s South Side, where he founded the Rebuild Foundation to transform neighborhoods and celebrate innovative artistic practices.