Urban design plays an important role in maintaining and enhancing the quality of life in Canadian communities. The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, Canadian Institute of Planners and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects – in cooperation with Canadian municipalities – work closely to promote awareness of that role. In 2006, the three groups established the National Urban Design Awards program to recognize individuals, organizations, firms, and projects in Canada that have contributed to the quality of life and the sustainability of Canadian cities.
The National Urban Design Awards program encourages the submission of multidisciplinary projects involving planners, landscape architects, architects, students, and other disciplines. The program recognizes the importance and impact of inter and multidisciplinary teams in enhancing the qualify of life in Canadian communities.
There are six different categories of urban design projects. One award will be bestowed for each category. The jury has the discretion to change the category in which a project is submitted.
Urban Design Plans Urban Fragments
Urban Architecture Community Initiatives Award
Civic Design Projects Student Projects
National Urban Design Awards 2022 Recipient Virtual Roundtable Event recording
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS - CLOSED
The next call for submissions will take place in the Fall of 2023.
Mark your calendars and check back closer to the date for more information.
This category is for a plan or study of a significant area within a Canadian municipality that provides a development or redevelopment strategy for inspired urban transformation in the mid-to-long-term. Urban design studies, master plans, redevelopment strategies, and community plans with the potential for significant impact on the community’s sustainability or development, are eligible in this category.
This category is for a building (or group of buildings) of high architectural standards which achieves urban design excellence through its relationship with its immediate surroundings because of its site, massing, and pedestrian amenities. The building will also contribute to defining a special relationship with the neighbouring urban fabric.
The project sits within the boundaries of a Canadian municipality and was designed by an architect. Special consideration will be given to buildings that also achieve, or are capable of achieving, a green building rating. This category is open only to registered architects and a license number or proof of registration is required.
This category is for civic improvement projects such as a park, public space, civil engineering or environmental infrastructure, street furniture, lighting, and other elements implemented as the result of an urban design plan or initiative.
The project is located within the boundaries of a Canadian municipality and was designed by an architect, landscape architect, or an engineer. This category is open to registered design professionals (architects, engineers, registered planners, and landscape architects). A license number or proof of registration is required.
4. Urban Fragments
This category is for single, small-scale pieces of a building or landscape that contribute significantly to the quality of the public realm. The category includes small and modest elements such as street furniture, lighting elements, interpretation media, memorials, public art or other forms of intervention that contribute to the beautification, sustainability, enjoyment, and appreciation of the urban environment. Projects can be of a temporary (but not ephemeral) or permanent nature.
5. Community Initiatives Award
This category is for any built project, however modest, initiated or implemented by a community-based organization that has enhanced the public realm. Examples may include streetscaping, public art, commemorative or interpretive installations, and environmental initiatives.
6. Student Projects
The category is administered through participating Canadian Universities. Submissions may also be made directly from a student enrolled in an accredited program in architecture, landscape architecture, or urban planning, in the past two years. Each school or individual student may forward submissions in the following categories:
- A submission from a studio with an emphasis on urban design;
- A submission as a result of a final project or an individual thesis.
Special Jury Awards
In addition, there will be two special jury awards selected from the submissions received in the following categories.
- Sustainable Development Award: A project, from within any of the categories that the jury deems best demonstrates the principles of sustainable urban development, while also exemplifying sensitive urban design.
- Small or Medium Community Urban Design Award: A project, from within any of the categories, situated in an urban centre of fewer than 500,000 inhabitants, that demonstrates the value of urban design in a mid-sized community.
Past recipients photos, from left to right: Mechanized River Valley Access, 18 Shades of Gay, The Warming Huts, Casey House, Intervention plan for the comfort and safety of pedestrians and cyclists in Old Québec City (Vieux-Québec), Corridor de biodiversité, Arrondissement de Saint-Laurent, Montréal