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5 developments selected as 'best in urban placemaking'

Falls Park on the Reedy in Greenville, S.C., and the Grand Rapids (Mich.) Downtown Market are among the finalists for the 2015 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence.

February 05, 2015 |
Grand Rapids Downtown Market, Grand Rapids, Mich. Photo: Mike Buck

Grand Rapids Downtown Market, Grand Rapids, Mich. Photo: Mike Buck

The Bruner Foundation Inc., sponsor of the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (RBA), today announced the five finalists for its 2015 award. 

Founded in 1987, this pioneering, biennial accolade seeks to identify transformative urban places in America, and to celebrate their impact on the economic, social, and physical fabric of our cities. Pike Place Market in Seattle was the first RBA winner, and 73 places in 25 states have been recognized with the award since. 

The 2015 RBA finalists are:


Falls Park on the Reedy - Greenville, S.C.

Photo: Rosales and Partners

The renaissance of a 26-acre river corridor running through the heart of Greenville, restoring public access to the falls and greenspace and catalyzing adjacent downtown development. (Submitted by the city of Greenville)



Grand Rapids Downtown Market – Grand Rapids, Mich.

Photo: Mike Buck

A new downtown public space promoting local food producers and community events, entrepreneurship, and education about nutrition and healthy lifestyles. (Submitted by Grand Rapids Downtown Market.)



Miller’s Court - Baltimore, Md.

Photo: Billy Michels

The redevelopment of a vacant manufacturing building into an affordable and supportive living and working environment for public school teachers and education-focused nonprofits. (Submitted by Enterprise Community Investment Inc.)



Quixote Village - Olympia, Wash.

Photo: Panza

A two-acre community of 30 tiny houses and a common building that provides permanent, supportive housing for chronically homeless adults. (Submitted by Panza)



Uptown District - Cleveland

Photo: Rien Van Rijthoven / Stanley Saitowitz, Natoma Architects Inc.

The vibrant redevelopment of a corridor linking art, educational and health care institutions with surrounding neighborhoods, creating lively outdoor gathering spaces, retail shops and restaurants, student and market-rate housing, and public transit connections. (Submitted by Case Western Reserve University)


Entries comprised completed projects in the continental United States. The finalists and ensuing Gold and Silver Medalists are selected by a nationwide committee of urban experts. The 2015 selection committee includes:

  • Rebecca Flora - AICP, LEED ND-BD+C, Sustainable Communities Practice Leader, Ecology & Environment, Chestertown, Md.
  • Larry Kearns - AIA, CSA, LEED AP, Principal, Wheeler Kearns Architects, Chicago
  • India Pierce Lee - Program Director, Cleveland Foundation, Cleveland
  • Mia Lehrer - FASLA, President, Mia Lehrer + Associates, Los Angeles
  • James Stockard - Lecturer in Housing, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Mark Stodola – Mayor, Little Rock, Ark.

“The Rudy Bruner Award offers the opportunity to showcase innovative placemaking responses to the needs of American cities and communities,” says Simeon Bruner, founder of the award. “We want to advance discourse about making cities better, and seek outstanding examples to share with those who care about improving our urban environments. There are a surprising number of inventive projects out there, if you just look for them.”

Next month, Bruner Foundation staff will begin site visits to each finalist project in preparation for the committee’s selection of the medal winners in June. The medalists will receive cash awards to support their projects: one Gold Medal recipient - $50,000, four Silver Medal recipients - $10,000 each. Case studies of all past RBA winners are available online. 2015 winner case studies will be posted in 2016.

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