The Second Annual Urban Design Awards

Why do we host the Urban Design Awards?

On October 27th, The City of Charlotte Urban Design Center and the UNC-Charlotte School of Architecture presented the city’s second annual Urban Design Awards. Affectionally dubbed “The Urbies,” this awards program recognizes and celebrates quality urban design in Charlotte.

The Charlotte Urban Design Center’s mission is to advance the quality of Charlotte’s built environment and bring public awareness to the importance of urban design. The Urban Design Awards celebrate design that improves our quality of life and the many people who create the great public places that make Charlotte a livable city

Whether you know it or not, urban design greatly impacts your day-to-day activities. For example, great placemaking helps people feel more connected to each other through their surroundings. Walking to the plaza on a sunny day or supporting the local business on the main street enhances the sosocial interactions, makings great places to live. As Charlotte continues to gain people, it is important to celebrate our history while cultivating public space for future generations.

“Fast-growing Charlotte is increasingly part of the national conversation about desirable urban destinations. But growth alone doesn’t make a great city,” said UNC Charlotte School of Architecture Director and Professor Blaine Brownell. “The Urbies bring much-needed attention to the creation of memorable spaces that improve our quality of life and spark the collective imagination.”

Thank you to our caterer, Tayste

What happens at the Urbies?

Nominations for each category are submitted by the public, industry professionals, and City staff. A jury of 10 urban design experts deliberate, debate, and discuss the nominations to consider which submissions are most deserving of the award. The jury looks for projects that make valuable contributions to the public realm — places that surprise and delight us, are worth returning to again and again, and help us feel at home in Charlotte. The jury also recognizes the contributions of the organizations and individuals responsible for designing, planning, and stewarding those places through its Urban Design Champion and Neighborhood Champion awards.

A diverse 10-member jury of experts from the public and private sectors, from university professors to designers, planners, journalists, developers, and urbanists volunteer their expertise.

· Co-Chair, Monica Holmes, Division Manager of Design & Preservation, City of Charlotte Planning, Design, and Development Department

· Co-Chair, Deb Ryan, Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at UNC Charlotte

· Cheryl Myers, Chief Planning & Development Officer & Senior Vice President, Charlotte Center City Partners.

· Clayton Sealey, Owner & Creative Director, CLT Development LLC

· Darrel Williams, Founding Partner & Owner, Neighboring Concepts

· Ely Portillo Senior Editor for News and Planning, WFAE

· Ike Heard, Owner & Urban Planner, Heard Systems

· Mary Newsom, Center for the Living City

· Rachel Russel Krenz, Ram Real Estate

· Tobe Holmes, Director, Interim Executive Director, University City Partners

Monica Holmes opening ceremonies

The Urban Design Awards planning team is proud to have such depth of experience represented in the jury. Each viewpoint offers a different perspective for evaluating nominations.

“Our continued collaboration with UNC Charlotte and the contributions of our diverse awards jury provides an invaluable opportunity to showcase how important urban design is to quality of life and how meaningful public places are to the Queen City,” said Interim Planning Director Alyson Craig.

“The large number of nominations showed us that Charlotteans value a livable, vibrant urban environment. From preservation to walkability, to treasured public places and life on the street, these awards celebrate all the elements that make our city a great place to live, work, and play.”

Mary Newsome, Center for the Living City and Urbies juror, presenting award

Nearly 100 attendees gathered at the Charlotte Urban Design Center’s South End Studio. It was great to see the Studio, the city’s hub for engaging the community around urban design and placemaking, thriving with activity and buzz around great places. It is a space where residents, artists, and community organizations can access the City of Charlotte’s planning and urban design resources and staff in a single location and served as an ideal central location to celebrate the year’s successes.

Erin Chantry, Urban Design Center Manager, closes ceremonies

2022 Award Categories and Winners

We are happy to announce this year’s award categories and winners. You caIn this promotional video, you can also hear comments from our Division leader, Monica Holmes, and other Urban Design expertspromotional video.

Great Development Near Transit: Atherton

A great development near transit is a cluster of buildings and outdoor spaces that mixes homes with easy access to shops, services, and entertainment within a quarter mile of a transit stop. Access to transit is access to opportunity. When you live, work, or play near a transit stop, you expand your opportunities to experience new places, see new sights, find great restaurants and entertainment, and rub elbows with new people.

Recipients: MV+A Architects and Planners, Crescent Communities, Edens

Great Walkable Neighborhood: Wesley Heights

A great walkable neighborhood is where places to live, work, and play are all within an attractive, tree-shaded 10-minute walk. This can be a new or established neighborhood, but it should have a unique and identifiable character. You can find your favorite coffee shop around the corner and say hello to neighbors on your walk to work. And when you run out of dish soap, it’s just a quick walk to the grocery store or bodega a few blocks away.

Recipients: Wesley Heights Neighborhood Association

Great New Life for an Old Place: The Brooklyn Collective

Great new life for old place looks like substantial renovation of an outdated or underutilized building or place that now makes a significant contribution to the vitality of the city. Revitalizing buildings and places that have made an impact on the culture, economy, and history of a city over the years makes Charlotte stronger — by weaving the stories of who we were, who we are, and who we hope to be into our urban spaces, people feel more rooted in the places they live, work, and play.

Recipients: Monique Douglas and Kevin Douglas

Great Public Space: Romare Bearden Park

An inclusive and distinctive place where people from all walks of life feel welcome to gather. Great public spaces can include parks, plazas, greenways, or trails. These places can range from “must-see” destinations to treasured community places that we return to again and again. The best of these spaces embodies community values and foster a deep sense of place.

Recipients: Land Design, Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation

Great Placemaking: Nebel’s Alley Night Market

Placemaking is as much a process as a project: It involves the reimagination of every day, underutilized spaces as engaging places through community participation. The result is a people-centered, shared space within or along streets, sidewalks, and other public places. From a sidewalk mural to a pop-up park, these places remind us that our shared spaces can be much more than utilitarian and provide moments of beauty, vibrancy, and whimsy (and beyond) to enrich our daily lives.

Recipients: Esther & Elsa, Asana Partners

Great Street: North Davidson Street

A great street has a lively, distinctive character that adds vitality to the community by enhancing the social and economic life of the city. Great streets become stages for what Jane Jacobs called the “Sidewalk Ballet.” By promoting interaction, from a chat with a neighbor or hello to the local street cart vendor, great streets are places for people to interact, experience the rituals of daily life, and discover new sights and sounds.

Recipients: NoDa Neighborhood and Business Association

Great Urban Architecture: Elizabeth on Seventh

A building that shapes public space through vibrant ground-floor uses, where the activity inside spills out into the street and enhances the pedestrian experience. A great city building embraces the street and provides opportunities to participate in life on the street, from both inside and out.

Recipients: BB&M Architecture, Crescent Communities

Great Suburban Design: Piedmont Town Center

Great suburban design can be a building, place, shopping center, or neighborhood outside of the city center that exhibits great urban design. Great suburban design includes different places for people to interact outside the private space of the home — from the front porch to the sidewalk. Great suburban commercial design has a “Main Street” feel, where visitors stroll between shops and restaurants on foot, and where a quick trip to get a book can just as quickly turn into a leisurely afternoon.

Recipients: Bolton & Menk, LS3P, Lincoln Harris

Great Student Project: The Charlotte Urbanists

A project or series of urban design projects completed by one or more students while enrolled at a local university that illustrate an advanced understanding of urban design in Charlotte.

Recipients: The Charlotte Urbanists

Great Neighborhood Champion: Neighboring Concepts

A local leader or group that organizes and collaborates on initiatives to improve and protect the quality of public spaces in their neighborhoods. Neighborhood champions embody community spirit through their dedication to the places that have shaped them.

Recipient: Neighboring Concepts

Great Urban Design Champion: David Furman

A local individual or organization who has made significant and sustained contributions in improving the urban design of Charlotte, whether via policy, education, programming, design, or planning. These are people or groups that promote the connection between people and place, and work to make Charlotte a place that visitors want to return to, and that all residents take pride in calling home.

Recipients: David Furman

People’s Choice Award: Five Points Plaza

A building or public place in the city selected by Charlotteans as their choice for great urban design. Urban design encompasses how places look, function, and feel. You know great urban design when you see it — those places in Charlotte that are memorable, comfortable, and inviting. The project within City boundaries with the greatest number of nominations is the winner.

Recipient: AECOM, City of Charlotte General Services

Stay in Touch

Do you enjoy urban design? Want to hear the stories of how good urban design improves the quality of life? While staying up to date on local design news, City projects, and current events? The Charlotte Urban Design Center is launching a monthly newsletter. Sign up for our digital newsletter here to stay in touch with us!

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Advances the quality of the built environment, creates public awareness, and communicates the importance of urban design in Charlotte, NC.

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Charlotte Urban Design Center

Advances the quality of the built environment, creates public awareness, and communicates the importance of urban design in Charlotte, NC.