The Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (RBA) announces five finalists for its 2017 Gold and Silver medal prizes. The Gold Medalist will receive $50,000 and four Silver Medalists will each receive $10,000 to enhance their projects. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, RBA is a biennial design award recognizing transformative places that contribute to the economic, environmental, and social vitality of American cities. Seventy-eight projects in 27 states have been honored since its founding.

The 2017 RBA finalists

Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building— Boston, MA

A community-oriented mixed-use development integrating public school headquarters, public meeting space, retail, and transit.

(Submitted by City of Boston)

Bruce C Bolling Municipal Building, Location: Boston MA, Architect: Sasaki Associates

Chicago Riverwalk Phases 2 & 3—Chicago, IL

Reclaimed waterfront that transforms the river into Chicago’s next great civic park.

(Submitted by Sasaki)

Image courtesy of Christian Phillips

Iberville Offsite Rehabs I & II — New Orleans, LA

The rehabilitation of 26 scattered-site historic houses into 46 homes for low-income families.

(Submitted by Kronberg Wall Architects/Planners)

La Kretz Innovation Campus + Arts District Park—Los Angeles, CA

A cleantech incubator, education center, and neighborhood park developed by the local public utility.

(Submitted by Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects)

SteelStacks Arts and Cultural Campus—Bethlehem, PA

Transformation of an abandoned steel plant into a mixed-use cultural and entertainment district.

(Submitted by Redevelopment Authority of the City of Bethlehem)

Image courtesy of Halkin Mason Photography

RBA entries comprise completed projects across the contiguous United States. Finalists and medalists are chosen by a nationwide committee of urban experts through an in-depth evaluation process involving input from the award application, site visits, interviews with project participants and community members, and committee discussions.

The 2017 selection committee:

  • Knox White—Mayor, Greenville, SC
  • Kimberly Driggins—Director of Strategic Planning, City of Detroit Planning and Development Department, Detroit, MI
  • David Lee, FAIA—President, Stull and Lee Incorporated, Architects, Boston, MA
  • Willett Moss—Principal, CMG Landscape Architecture, San Francisco, CA
  • Deidre Schmidt—President & CEO, CommonBond Communities, Minneapolis, MN
  • Scot Spencer—Associate Director for Advocacy and Influence, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, MD

Next month, RBA staff will begin site visits to each finalist project in preparation for the committee’s selection of the medal winners in June. A Metropolis magazine POV blog series will document these visits, giving readers close-up experiences with each of the sites.

Findings and lessons learned will be relayed through detailed case studies and published in book form in 2018 as a resource for educators, practitioners, and students. Past case studies are available on the new RBA website.

“Over the past thirty years, the Rudy Bruner Award has honored a diversity of pivotal places, from Seattle’s Pike Place Market to Project Row Houses in Houston to New York’s Brooklyn Bridge Park, bringing to light their contributions to improving the quality of life in America,” says RBA Founder Simeon Bruner. “After three decades, we’re still discovering and recognizing new ways that public and private ingenuity and design can make our cities more accessible, inclusive, and beautiful for everyone.”

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.