Changing the Narrative:
The 2019 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence

The five winners have changed the rules of standard practice and elevated issues that matter, addressing ongoing and long-term challenges faced by cities across America.

Changing the Narrative: The 2019 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence includes detailed case studies and lessons learned about the winning projects including:

  • Crosstown Concourse in Memphis, TN
    Rehabilitation of an abandoned Sears, Roebuck & Co. distribution center into a mixed-use vertical village and arts, education, and healthcare destination.
  • Beyond Walls— Lynn, MA
    Grassroots public art and lighting initiative revitalizing a former industrial city.
  • Buffalo Bayou Park in Houston, TX
    Enhancement of a historic waterway into a resilient public greenspace.
  • Parisite Skatepark in New Orleans, LA
    Youth-driven DIY creation of a new public park on vacant land beneath a highway overpass.
  • Sulphur Springs Downtown in Sulphur Springs, TX
    Renewal of a rural, small-town civic plaza and main street.

Lessons Learned themes include:

  • Changing Attitudes, Expectations, and Perceptions About People and Places
  • Innovation Is Happening in Unexpected Places
  • Turning Deficits into Assets
  • Practical, Replicable Design Approaches
  • Addressing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and the Unintended Consequences of Success
  • Who’s Driving Vision and Investment?

2019 Case Studies:

Crosstown Concourse— Memphis, TN

Courtesy of Chad Mellon

Submitted by Crosstown Arts

Beyond Walls— Lynn, MA

Courtesy of Warren Jagger

Submitted by Beyond Walls

Buffalo Bayou Park— Houston, TX

Courtesy of Jonnu Singleton

Submitted by SWA Group

Parisite Skatepark—New Orleans, Lousiana

Courtesy of Michael Wong

Submitted by the Administrators of the Tulane Educational Fund on behalf of the Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design

Sulphur Springs Downtown—Sulphur Springs, TX

Bruner Foundation

Submitted by Toole Design Group

About the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence

The Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (RBA) was created in 1986 by Simeon Bruner, founding principal of Bruner/Cott Architects and Planners (Cambridge, MA), and is a program of the Bruner Foundation. The RBA was named in honor of founder Simeon Bruner’s late father, who established the Foundation in 1963 with his mother, Martha. The Bruner Foundation is renowned for its pioneering approach to social issues including health care, education, evaluation, and the built environment.