New From the Urban Land Institute: ULI Amanda Burden Urban Open Space Award to Honor the Importance of the Public Realm in Creating Vibrant Communities

Jan 08, 2010, 17:35 ET from Urban Land Institute

Entry Deadline is February 19, 2010

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An awards program to recognize excellence in the design and development of urban public open spaces has been created by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) through the generosity of Amanda M. Burden, Chair of the New York City Planning Commission and Director of the New York Department of City Planning, and 2009 laureate of the ULI J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development.

The ULI Amanda Burden Urban Open Space Award recognizes and rewards an outstanding example of a public destination that has enriched and revitalized its surrounding community. The first winner of the award will be announced at ULI's Spring Council Forum, set for April 14-16, 2010 in Boston. A $10,000 cash prize will be awarded to the individual or organization most responsible for the creation of the winning open space project.

The award is illustrative of Ms. Burden's strong belief in the power of well-designed public spaces to serve both as gathering places accessible to all citizens as well as catalysts for economic development.

A member of the Planning Commission for 19 years, Ms. Burden was appointed in 2002 by New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to serve as Commission Chair and City Planning Department Director. Under her leadership, the Department has spearheaded the largest planning effort in the City since 1961, creating a blueprint for the city for decades to come.

Her commitment to making the public realm a focal point of land use planning is apparent throughout New York, including such notable projects as the High Line, an abandoned rail line in Manhattan that has been transformed into a unique elevated linear park. The park is part of the West Chelsea/High Line Plan (a 2009 winner of ULI's Global Award for Excellence competition), which also preserved the art gallery district and incentivized new housing for a range of incomes. More than 30 projects, many by world-renowned architects, have been catalyzed by the plan.

"It has been my life's work to celebrate the essence of city life and to create great public open spaces," said Ms. Burden. "All great planning comes down to the granular approach of how a building meets the street, how a street feels, how you feel walking in the city and coming to public spaces that are inviting. Public space is why you stay in the city."

The creation of the open space award immediately followed the announcement in October 2009 of Ms. Burden being selected as the winner of the ULI J.C. Nichols Prize. The prize, awarded annually by ULI, recognizes a person whose career demonstrates a commitment to the highest standards of responsible development. The prize includes a $100,000 honorarium, which, at Ms. Burden's suggestion, ULI has devoted to an annual award honoring transformative and exciting public open spaces.

Applications are now being accepted by ULI for the ULI Amanda Burden Urban Open Space Award - the deadline for submissions to ULI is February 19, 2010. The competition is open to both ULI members and non-members. The 2010 entry fee is $325 for private sector applicants and $175 for public sector/nonprofit applicants.

To be eligible, projects must:

  • Be located in North America
  • Cover at least 10,000 square feet
  • Have been open to the public at least one year and no more than 10 years
  • Be outdoors and highly accessible to the public, regardless of ownership
  • Be an inviting, sociable place, providing a range of amenities such as abundant seating, sun and shade, trees and plantings
  • Be used intensively as a magnet for a broad spectrum of public use
  • Be a lively gathering space, serving as a public destination throughout the year
  • Have made a positive transformation the surrounding community
  • Represent a sound investment of public funds, if public funds are involved
  • Be worthy of emulation

For more details on the award, click here.

About the Urban Land Institute

The Urban Land Institute ( is a global nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has nearly 33,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.

SOURCE Urban Land Institute