What is “Urban Excellence?” Rather than provide a prescriptive solution, the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (RBA) is intended—by design—to be a process of exploration. It was created to prompt a conversation about urban excellence in America and to illuminate the complex process of placemaking.

The Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence can be thought of as a question—an inquiry into the nature of excellence.

Robert Shibley, Placemaking: The Art and Practice of Building Communities

The process of soliciting, evaluating, and selecting projects provides a point of departure and forum for dialogue, the exchange of ideas, and reflection. These ideas are captured in “lessons learned” essays that summarize the findings from each cycle of the award and offer food for thought for those interested in urban design and development.

Not surprisingly, several recurring themes have emerged over the years:

  • the nature of placemaking and the necessity of anchoring projects in their place;
  • leadership that brings energy, vision, and an inclusive approach;
  • the use of collaborative partnerships and participatory processes;
  • the empowerment and growth of capacity of people and organizations; and
  • ways to leverage the power of design to affect transformative change.

These themes and others are considered more fully in the essays listed to the right. We invite you to explore them and join us in learning more about urban excellence.