National Urban Design Awards — Call for Submissions | Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

National Urban Design Awards — Call for Submissions


The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP), and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA) are pleased to announce the Call for Submissions for the 2022 National Urban Design Awards

Submission deadline: 11:59 p.m. EST, December 17, 2021

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

Two Submission Options

a. Local Urban Design Awards

Municipalities with a local Urban Design Awards program (tier 1) will invite their Award of Excellence winners in 2021 to submit to the National Urban Design Awards Program.

b. Submissions at Large

Any individual or organization in a Canadian urban municipality can submit a project that is in conformance with the submission requirements. The best submission in each category will be considered, together with the winning projects from the local Urban Design Awards programs, in the adjudication of the medals. 

Procedures for Entry

2022 Jury


Category Details

1. Urban Design Plans

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.

The plan or study must have been completed after January 1, 2015.

Criteria for Award: The primary criteria for assessing the merit of the plan are:

  • Comprehensiveness – addressing a wide a range of factors affecting development including energy efficiency and other environmental factors;
  • Innovative approach – proposals that highlight new ideas and approaches to interventions in the city;
  • Clarity of presentation – understandable, readable and well-illustrated graphically

2. Urban Architecture

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.

The new building, renovated building, or complex of buildings must have been completed after January 1, 2015.

Criteria for Award: The primary criteria for assessing the merit of the plan will be:

  • Compatibility with the urban initiative;
  • Positive contribution to the public realm;
  • Architectural excellence;
  • Demonstration of the value of urban design – how the urban design plan directed and influenced the building

3. Civic Design Projects

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.

The project must have been completed or installed after January 1, 2015.

Criteria for Award: The primary criteria for assessing the merit of the plan will be:

  • Compatibility with the urban plan;
  • Positive contribution to the public realm;
  • Design excellence;
  • Demonstration of the value of urban design – how the urban design plan or initiative directed and influenced the space or the objects.

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.

The project must have been installed after January 1, 2015.

Criteria for Award: The primary criteria for assessing the proposals will be:

  • Positive contribution to the public realm;
  • Design excellence;
  • Innovation and uniqueness of the element

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.

The project must have been completed after January 1, 2015.

Criteria for Award: The primary criteria for assessing the merit of the plan will be:

  • Broad community involvement – demonstration of how the community-at-large was involved and supported the improvements;
  • Positive contribution to the public realm;
  • Conceptual clarity and execution of the improvement;
  • Innovation and uniqueness of the built project

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.

Note: The entry fee does not apply to Students Projects.

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.

2022 Jury

Marc Boutin, AAA, FRAIC, RCA

Marc Boutin has studied architecture, architectural history and sculpture throughout Canada, and in Barcelona and Rome. In 1997 he joined the University of Calgary and was the Director of the Architecture Program from 2006-2010.

His critical practice has focused on the synthesis of art, architecture, and urban design. Marc was the recipient of the 2002 Prix de Rome and his firm The Marc Boutin Architectural Collaborative, was the 2020 Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Firm of the Year winner. Marc is a Fellow in the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Art.


Audrey is a Senior Planner, Urban Designer at the City of Markham with experience both in the private and public sectors including project management, planning and landscape architecture. She has extensive experience managing complex urban design projects both internationally and in Canada.

Audrey is a strong advocate for building sustainable communities and for design excellence. She has been a member of the OPPI’s Professional Standards and Registration Committee since 2017. She was a Jury member for the Plan Canada Awards from 2014 to 2018. Prior to joining the City of Markham, Audrey managed and led the City of Vaughan’s 2012 Urban Design Awards Program.


Emeka graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the Enugu State University of Technology in Nigeria and earned a master's degree in landscape architecture from the University of Manitoba. He founded the Nadi Group in 2010 after working as a landscape architect and development manager in Chicago and an urban designer at a prominent engineering and design consultancy in Winnipeg. In 2019, Emeka expanded the Nadi Group’s services further into the United States by acquiring a 50-year legacy land planning firm in Michigan. Emeka continues to deliver a diverse spectrum of innovative and meaningful human environments for clients across North America while always challenging his team to dig deeper and find innovations that make the world a better place.


Professional Advisor

Karen Russell, MEDes, RPP, FCIP

Karen Russell is a register professional planner with over 30 years of experience in the planning field. She began her work as a planner in Alberta after graduating from the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary. She also holds an undergraduate degree in Geography from Queen’s University.

Her career has focused on heritage conservation, community planning and development planning in both the public and private sectors. This has included heritage and community planning work for the Province of Alberta, City of Edmonton and City of North Vancouver.  For the last 12 years, Karen has been employed as Manager of Development Services at UBC Campus and Community Planning.

Over her career, Karen has also served on many volunteer Boards and Committees advancing initiatives related to the profession of planning at the national and regional levels as well as providing leadership in community heritage conservation organizations.

In 2015, Karen was inducted as a Fellow in the Canadian Institute of Planners.


Procedures for Entry

Submission Date

Submissions must be received before 11:59 p.m. EST, Friday, December 17, 2021. Entrants are solely responsible for timely submissions. This date and time are firm without exceptions.

Entry Fee

An entry fee must accompany each submission that is not from a municipally administered local urban design awards program or a school or university.

Base fee of $415.00 plus applicable taxes. 

Payment is processed through the online submission platform.


Submissions will be completed using the online submission platform.

The following items must be provided: 

1. Participant Identification Form;
2. Summary Sheet;
3. Project Descriptions;
4. Descriptive Data Sheet;
5. Project Proposal Report;
6. Key List of Images;
7. Publication Release Form;
8. Disclaimer and Declaration Form.

Entries can be submitted either in English or in French.

1.   Participation Identification Form

All credits on certificates, medals and publicity will be based on this information. Any errors or omissions will be the responsibility of the entrant. All information must be typed.
Full credit must be given. If more than one individual is credited for a single project, the order in which names are listed will be the official sequence.

2.   Summary Sheet

A one-page description of the project or program that includes a statement of the problem and its goals, size, and cost, if applicable.

3.   Project Descriptions

Two descriptions are required:
1)     A 500-word maximum statement on one page outlining the objectives and significance of the project and summarizing for the jury why the project or program is considered worthy of a medal. This text should be conceived to be accessible to the general public.
2)     A 100-word maximum media statement crafted for website postings and media campaigns.

4.   Descriptive Data Sheet

Including the Completion or adoption date, provide a brief (maximum two pages) statement outlining urban design issues and key urban design concepts that emphasize process and implementation with a description of the merits.

5.   Project Proposal Report

This is the opportunity for the team to provide a narrative and tell the "story" of the project. In other words, the genesis of the project, how did it come to be what it is in the submission. The team can combine text, sketches, drawings and photos in a report format of no more than 15 pages.

6.   Publication Release Form

7.   Disclaimer and Declaration Form

8.   Key List of Images

As per item 9. Images described below, the Key List of Images should include image file name, a brief description and photographer credits where applicable for each image provided.

9.   Images

All images used in a composite image (image composed of several images) must be provided as individual image files.

Note: Once you have started the online submission process, you may 'save' and come back at a later date to complete your submission (prior to the submission deadline).



Recipients will be notified privately immediately following adjudication. All submissions become the property of the RAIC/CIP/CSLA. Submission materials will not be returned.

The public announcement and an awards ceremony will be held later in 2022. Travel to the ceremony for the recipients is at their own expense. Entrants who are not selected will be notified by letter. Results will not be released over the telephone.

All recipients of winning submissions must produce two display panels. 

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the Canadian Institute of Planners, and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects must be included in all media/newspaper releases and announcements regarding the medal by winning candidates.


These terms and conditions may be amended from time to time by the RAIC/CIP/CSLA, in their sole discretion. Notification of any amendment to these terms and conditions shall be deemed to have been given to the Applicant, on the first business day after publication of the amended terms and conditions on the web site of the RAIC/CIP/CSLA, which is presently accessed through

For more information

Tel: (613) 241-3600 x 2015