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About the Award

The Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (RBA) seeks to promote innovative thinking about the built environment and advance conversation about making cities better. The national award discovers and celebrates urban places that are distinguished by quality design along with their social and economic contributions to our nation's cities. The award was founded in 1986 by architect and developer Simeon Bruner and named in honor of his late father.

One Gold Medal of $50,000 and four Silver Medals of $10,000 are awarded each biennial. Projects must be a real place, not just a plan or a program, and be located in the continental United States.

The RBA is distinguished by its intensive application and selection process, and the detailed documentation of the winners. Winners are selected by a committee comprised of six urban experts, including a mayor. The process includes site visits to each finalist, spending two to three days touring the site, taking photographs, and interviewing people involved in the project. Findings are shared with the selection committee to inform their discussion and determination of the medalists.

Each winner is documented with a detailed case study that chronicles the development process – including design, financing and operations – and impact in the community, along with along with a distillation of selection committee's discussions. Case studies and other findings are shared through this website, our publications, events like the annual Bruner Loeb Forum and our METROPOLIS POV blog.

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