CNU Charter Awards Adds New Categories

Jury Chair Jeff Speck Introduces Changes for 2014

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The Congress for the New Urbanism announces new categories for the 14th Annual CNU Charter Awards, including "Best Tactical Intervention" and "Best Urban Infill"

CHICAGO, IL, August 1, 2013- The CNU Charter Awards, the global award for excellence in urban design, is getting a facelift this year. New Jury Chair Jeff Speck has altered and expanded the list of categories that applicants can apply for, recognizing the advances and new directions taken by new urbanists in previous decade.

The categories for this year will be:

* Best Regional Plan
* Best City Plan
* Best Neighborhood Plan
* Best District Plan
* Best Corridor Plan
* Best Urban Infill
* Best Street
* Best Block
* Best Building
* Best Suburban Retrofit
* Best Tactical Intervention
* Best Planning Tool or Process

While the new categories represent a significant expansion of the Charter Awards, Speck says that they are fully within the new urbanist tradition. "As in all previous years, submissions will be judged against only one standard, which is the time-tested principles put forth in the Charter for the New Urbanism," explains Speck. "While these principles are unwavering, past awards have shown us the great degree of diversity that they welcome. I have proposed this reorganization of the award categories-perhaps temporary-as a reminder that the Charter anticipates a broad range of interpretation, and in hope that it might encourage a larger number of designers to consider their work in its light."

The Charter of the New Urbanism, ratified in 1993 by a group of architects, planners and urban thinkers, is a groundbreaking document that speaks out against the "disinvestment in central cities" and "the spread of placeless sprawl," laying out a number of principles for turning that tide back and reclaiming "our homes, blocks, streets, parks, districts, towns, cities, regions, and environment." A new book just released by CNU and edited by Emily Talen builds on this legacy and expands the vision laid out by the founders. The Charter for the New Urbanism, 2nd Ed. is now available at and bookstores everywhere.

Winners of the 2013 Charter Awards included a student project to radically rethink housing projects on New York's Lower East Side and a holistic approach to a Rwandan village. Winners were selected by a top-notch team of new urbanists and invited experts including Shelley Poticha, Director of the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities at HUD; V. Fei Tsen, Chairperson of Chinatown Community Development Center in San Francisco; and jury chair Doug Farr, Founding Principal of Farr Associates. This year's jury promises to be just as accomplished and exciting.

Professionals and students should be pleased with the change in the award submission categories, as it gives more opportunities to be considered "best in show." The 2014 Charter Awards will be accepting submissions as of November 1st, 2013 and will close January 8th, 2014.   

 Tim Halbur, Communications Director
312.551.7300 X12 or email at
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