City and School of Architecture Launch Charlotte Urban Design Awards Program

 Urban Design Awards
Monday, August 30, 2021
"Urbies" will celebrate good design in Charlotte.

The City of Charlotte Urban Design Center and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte School of Architecture are collaborating on the city’s first Urban Design Awards, or “Urbies,” to elevate the importance of excellent urban design. An awards ceremony recognizing the inaugural Urbies winners will take place on Thursday, Sept. 23, at 5 p.m. A public panel discussion about the awards recipients and their projects will take place on Friday, Sept. 24 at 2 p.m.

The goal of the awards program is to recognize and celebrate quality urban design in Charlotte, while encouraging continued community discussion around what makes for unique and great places. “The city’s partnership with UNC Charlotte on this awards program will recognize and promote good design throughout the city,” said Taiwo Jaiyeoba, assistant city manager and director of the Planning, Design & Development Department. “We plan to make this an annual event for special recognition of the urban design community that everyone can participate in and enjoy.”

“The Urbies awards program resurrects a memorable and meaningful local tradition inaugurated by longtime Charlotte Observer editor and columnist Mary Newsom,” said UNC Charlotte School of Architecture Director Blaine Brownell. “As a newcomer to Charlotte, I am excited to support the launch of a new incarnation of this tradition, which is intended to encourage thoughtful and responsive urban design approaches that benefit all Charlotteans.”

Award recipients will be chosen by a diverse, 10-member community jury:

  • Tom Hanchett, History South.
  • Ike Heard, Heard Systems.
  • Tobe Holmes, University City Partners.
  • Grant Meacci, City of Charlotte.
  • Cheryl Myers, Charlotte Center City Partners.
  • Mary Newsom, Center for the Living City.
  • Beth Poovey, LandDesign.
  • Eli Portillo, UNC Charlotte Urban Institute.
  • Deb Ryan, UNC Charlotte School of Architecture, Jury Chair.
  • Clayton Sealy, CLT Development.

Award categories may include:

  • Great Transit/Trail-Oriented Development.
  • Great 10-Minute Neighborhoods.
  • Great Neighborhood Center.
  • Great Community Activity Center.
  • Great New Life for an Old Place.
  • Great Public Space.
  • Great Placemaking.
  • Great Street. 
  • Great Street Redesign.
  • Great Street Action.
  • Great Street Mistakes.
  • Great Urban Architecture.
  • Great Urban Design Champion.
  • Great Neighborhood Activism.
  • Great Student Project.
  • Great Missed Opportunity.
  • The Crown Jewel.

Visit the Charlotte Urban Design Center website for more information on the Charlotte Urban Design Awards.

About the City of Charlotte: The City of Charlotte provides services to more than 870,000 residents. The city's priorities are workforce and business development; transportation, planning and the environment; safe communities; and great neighborhoods. Charlotte is No. 6 on U.S. News & World Report’s 150 Best Places to Live in the U.S. in 2020-21. For the latest news and updates about city government, visit the citywide newsroom at, and follow @CLTgov on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About the UNC Charlotte School of Architecture: Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the School of Architecture at UNC Charlotte serves more than 300 undergraduate and graduate students in five degree programs, representing architecture, urban design, and computational design. In its first five decades, the program’s roughly 2,500 architecture alumni have shaped Charlotte, the New South region, and beyond. The School of Architecture is recognized for the expertise of its faculty, a commitment to outreach and community involvement, and the quality and extent of resources offered through labs, studios, and classrooms – both at UNC Charlotte's main campus and The Dubois Center at UNC Charlotte Center City in uptown Charlotte.