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1. What is the judging criteria?
Charter Awards entries are judged on the extent to which they fulfill and advance the principles of the Charter of the New Urbanism, which defines the essential qualities of outstanding building and urban places from the scale of the region to the building and block. The Charter Awards recognize excellence in architectural, landscape, and urban designs built in harmony with their physical and social contexts as well as the policies, plans, and codes that structure them.
Charter Award-winning projects should represent more than just beautiful neighborhoods, buildings, and streets. They are projects that have improved residents’ health and happiness, financially strengthened local governments, and helped protect the natural environment. In short, the Charter Awards honor places that celebrate people and improve their lives.
This year the jury is looking for projects that support an active public realm, something that is especially important during a global pandemic. However, any project that meets the application criteria will also be considered.
Projects that embody a wide range of Charter principles are more desirable than ones that embody fewer principles. The judging criteria favor built or implemented work, yet also acknowledge that large-scale plans can take years to implement physically.
2. What are the project categories?
Charter Awards submissions are categorized based on their submitter as either Professional or Student, and must fall into one of three scales:
- Region, City, and Town
- Neighborhood, District, and Corridor
- Block, Street, and Building
Emerging Projects: To highlight design and urbanist innovations in the planning and design process, an applicant can designate the project as an "Emerging Project, in addition to selecting its scale. These projects include research or early-stage projects that show exceptional merit in advancing the practice of New Urbanism. This category applies only to professional projects, as student projects are emerging, by definition. Emerging projects may be at any geographic scale (region, Metropolis, City, Town: Neighborhood, District, Corridor; or Block, Street, Building).
3. When is the deadline?
4. How do I submit?
All entries should be submitted digitally via the CNU Awards CMS System.
5. What is the entry fee?
The standard entry fee is $300 per project for CNU members and $500 per project for non-members. Student and faculty entries are $50 per project, which includes a one-year CNU student membership. Multiple entries require multiple payments.
CNU has a limited number of need-based application scholarships available for the 2021 Charter Awards. If you have been economically impacted by the pandemic and are interested in submitting a project please contact Avery at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. How do I know you received my entry?
7. When will the winners be announced?
CNU recognizes all award recipients on its website, Public Square (CNU's online journal), and at an annual awards ceremony. This year's ceremony will be held during CNU's twenty-ninth annual Congress, which runs from May 19-21, 2021, virtually. Winning project teams can attend the awards ceremony for free tentatively scheduled for May 21, 2021. Winners will be notified prior to those dates.
8. Are codes, manuals, plans, studies, or other documents eligible?
Yes. Projects for general implementation of planning and design techniques – such as policies, standards, model codes, guidelines, manuals, and/or pattern books – can be submitted as long as they adhere to the submission guidelines. Preference will be given to projects that have been implemented on the ground.
9. Are projects outside the U.S. or by firms based outside the U.S. eligible?
10. Does it matter if my project is built or unbuilt?
Our judging criteria strongly favor built work or implemented plans. Photographs of built work are also strongly preferred over renderings or illustrations. We acknowledge, however, that particularly at the Regional, City, and Town scale, even outstanding plans can take years to reach full implementation. In addition, our Emerging Projects category signals our interest in encouraging work that is research-based or in the early stages.
11. Can project teams submit multiple entries in a given year?
12. What would make my entry ineligible?
If any member of the 2021 jury, or members of their firm or organization, are or were part of a project's professional team or a participant in its implementing process, that project is ineligible for entry this year. The onus is on the entrant to check if there is a connection. If a connection is found, the entry will be removed from the jury review and a refund will be given, minus a $30 processing fee. See the list of this year's jury members.
13. What are the format requirements?
All entries for the Charter Awards must be blind entries. All entries should be submitted digitally via the CNU Charter Awards CMS System. Please create a login and password for the system and follow the prompts for your entry.
14. How many images should I enter?
CNU requires you to upload up to ten high-resolution photos (of at least 2000 x 840 px) of your project as single files (i.e., outside of the application). You will be prompted to do so while going through the online submission process and will want to have those files handy when preparing to submit your entry. Photos of completed built projects are required in addition to any renderings or illustrations.
The following three images are required: at least one site or area plan showing the project’s land use, street networks, and other elements of its urbanism; a map or aerial photo showing the larger context in which the project is located and clearly identifying the project’s site boundaries; and at least one image showing the design or plan in use by people (photos are preferred unless the project is not complete). In the case of plans, research, and early-stage projects, a relevant image may be substituted (e.g., a photograph of a charrette or civic engagement, a rendering showing how a project may be used, etc.). In addition, you will be required to submit up to ten individual hi-res images of the project.