CNU 2010 Charter Award Winners Set High Mark for Excellence While Tackling Many of Era's Defining Issues

In 10th year, top urbanism honors go to solutions for retrofitting suburbia, serving aging populations, supporting local food sources, remedying foreclosure conditions and improving health

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The jury for the 10th annual CNU Charter Awards has recognized seven professional projects and one academic submission for excellence in urbanism. The jury also recognized three academic projects with honorable mentions. The awards will be presented in a May 22nd ceremony at the 18th Congress for New Urbanism (New Urbanism: Rx for Healthy Places) in Atlanta.

Among 90 entries fielded from around the world, two of the six professional awards went to planning efforts in greater Atlanta, reflecting the seriousness and ingenuity with which leaders in the region are rethinking runaway growth patterns to address concerns about quality of life, sustainability and the needs of elderly and low-income populations. Other winning projects have impacts on locations as diverse as downtown Baltimore, rural lands outside Vancouver and Fort Myers, Florida, and a mountain village in the principality of Andorra. The winners are recognized for embodying the Charter for New Urbanism’s 27 principles and its vision of livability and sustainability extending from vibrant pedestrian-friendly streets in cities and towns to coherent regions that support excellent transit service, protect farmland and natural resources and meet needs of diverse residents ( Winners also respond to principles in a companion to the Charter, the Canons of Sustainable Architecture and Urbanism (

“These winning projects put the communities where they’re located out front in finding solutions to the staggering pressures affecting their growth and development,” says this year’s Jury Chair Vince Graham, the Charter-Award winning developer of I’On and Mixson in Charleston, South Carolina. "The results are cutting-edge but also timeless and livable. They help put communities on a path for a more economically and environmentally sound future."

The winning projects showcase the adaptability of new urbanist Charter principles to an extraordinary range of contexts and emerging concerns. Winning achievements include:

• A set of planning solutions for 150 square miles of rural Florida that protects farms, wetlands and groundwater by transferring development rights to infill areas of Fort Myers and new villages where newly adopted codes and regulating plans allow by-right approval of compact walkable development. Sited adjacent to 135,000-lot Lehigh Acres, the future mixed-use village will reduce the isolation of the massive foreclosure-plagued subdivision identified by the New Yorker magazine as a potential future slum.
• A new model for “agricultural urbanism” on 540 rural acres east of Vancouver that triples overall food production while developing a third of the land with walkable, mixed-use that not only weaves provisions for farming and gardening seamlessly throughout the design of public space, residential blocks, and single- and multi-unit building types, but also reflects this thorough integration in the owners’ association agreement.
• An ambitious cooperative effort co-hosted by Atlanta’s metropolitan planning organization and non-profit partners such as AARP that acknowledges that much of the region’s built environment is poorly matched with the needs of a rapidly growing elderly population, as well as the young and poor, and creates plans to turn major sites in five counties into “retrofit communities” that demonstrate how Atlanta can transition into a place that better supports residents at every stage of their lives.
• An innovative retrofitting of a windswept, single-use government office park in Baltimore — once considered an award-winning example of 1960s urban renewal ideals — with a reconnected street-and-block network and vibrant mixed-use fabric (much of it adaptive reuse) to capitalize on abundant transit connections and establish a “culture of sustainability.
• A bold counter proposal from Katy, Texas: Instead of merely applying “low-impact” storm water design principals to a sprawl scheme, as directed in an open competition, the team detailed how the project’s entire program of 1200 homes plus schools and extensive mixed-use development could fit comfortably in traditional neighborhoods on the land originally intended for schools alone, allowing three-quarters of the land to remain in agricultural production or as functional open space.
• A visionary partnership led by Emory University to restore true quality of life to a traffic-choked, strip-development-lined 5-mile stretch of arterial street by fostering 10 walkable districts connected by a livable corridor that reconnects with the area’s partially obscured roots as an Olmsted-designed garden city.
• An intervention initiated by the culture minister of the principality of Andorra after he stopped an approved plan that would have sacrificed historic buildings and disrupted traditional public spaces to accommodate university expansion; the new plan artfully preserves existing buildings, accommodates university needs and creates a harmonious relationship to existing and new traditional public plaças.
• An academic plan that weaves fine-grained, green infill development and public spaces through a Capitol district of Santa Fe that is as undistinguished (with parking lots and undefined space) as the nearby historic core is world-renowned for its urbanism.

The winners of the 2010 Charter Awards are:

Southeast Lee County Plan for Conservation and Devleopment
Lee County, Florida
Submitted by Dover, Kohl & Partners

Southlands: Agricultural Urbanism
Tsawwassen, British Columbia, Canada
Submitted by Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company

Lifelong Communities
Atlanta, Georgia
Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company

State Center
Baltimore, Maryland
Submitted by Design Collective, Inc.

Salon Des Refuses
Katy, Texas
Submitted by Dreiling Terrones Architecture and Crabtree Group Inc.

Design Guidelines for Emory University’s Clifton Community Partnership
Atlanta, Georgia
Submitted by Goody Clancy

A Plaça in a Pyrenees Village
Sant Julia de Loria, Andorra
Submitted by Fairfax and Sammons Architects

Barrio Capital de Analco
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Submitted by Andrews Univeristy, School of Architecture

The Honorable Mentions for academic projects when to the following three projects: Redeveloping Rhode Island's Forgotten Riverfronts, Westerly, RI, submitted by Jared D. Sedam, University of Miami School of Architecture; Western Riverfront Proposal, Bath, Somerset, U.K., submitted by Bath Summer Studio 2009, University of Notre Dame, School of Architecture; Alameda Market: A New Sustainable Urbanism, Denver, CO, Submitted by University of Miami, School of Architecture

View images and summaries of 2010's winning submissions.

The 2010 Charter Awards Jury:

Vince Graham, Jury Chair, Founder, I’On Group, Charleston, South Carolina
Dana Beach, Executive Director, Coastal Conservation League, Charleston, South Carolina
Maggie Connor, Principal, Urban Design Associates, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Joe DiStefano, Principal, Calthorpe Associates, Berkeley, California
Jacky Grimshaw, Vice-President of Policy, Center for Neighborhood Technology, Chicago, Illinois
Elizabeth Moule, Principal, Moule Polyzoides Architects & Urbanists, Pasadena, California
Paul Murrain, Urban Designer and INTBAU Visiting Professor at the University of Greenwich, London, England

Large photo: From Southlands: Agricultural Urbanism in British Columbia, Canada.