For more than 40 years, the ULI Awards for Excellence have been elevating the best of the best in real estate and land use in support of the Institute’s mission. The Awards for Excellence have recognized hundreds of building owners, developers, designers, and public partners over the years, highlighting their tenacity, creativity, and ability to innovate. ULI award programs not only recognize project sponsors; these programs also identify cutting-edge land use and development strategies and solutions to educate and inform ULI members and the public.
The Awards for Excellence are one of the primary reasons ULI serves as a global repository of examples of creative planning, financing, community engagement, placemaking, partnerships, and more. In the Awards for Excellence application, ULI elicits information critical to understanding why a project was successful. During interviews and on-site visits, ULI members on the juries verify the quality of the final product and project sponsors share their personal stories—of the inspirations for their vision, the obstacles they had to overcome, and the gratifying stories of collaboration across disciplines and with community stakeholders. This process helps ULI members answer their own land use and development questions: What strategies and tactics should I seek to replicate or improve upon in my own work? What will make our development outstanding? What would doing things differently look like, and who can I look to for inspiration?
ULI delivers this learning as case studies, research reports, virtual tours, and other content via ULI Learning, the ULI websites, Urban Land, the ULI Case Studies website, Knowledge Finder, and Fall and Spring Meetings.
This year was the first one in which all three ULI regions (Americas, Asia Pacific, and Europe) had their own regional Awards for Excellence, and the first year that those regional winners automatically became finalists in the ULI Global Awards for Excellence. Because ULI did not hold the Global Awards for Excellence in 2020, and because the Americas regional awards only launched in 2021, projects from Europe and the Asia Pacific region that won those regional awards programs in 2020 also became finalists in the 2021 global awards, for a total of 45 global finalists. ULI convened a nine-member global jury—comprising three jurors from each regional jury—to evaluate these 45 finalists.
In August, ULI announced nine developments as winners of the 2021 ULI Global Awards for Excellence. The jury also recognized five projects with a special mention, to highlight ways that certain projects achieved excellence in a particular subset of the global criteria:
- achieve market acceptance/financial success;
- demonstrate leadership through a high standard of excellence in all areas—architecture, design, planning, construction, amenities, economics, and management, and so on;
- demonstrate relevance to the contemporary and future needs of the community in which they are located;
- demonstrate innovation through techniques, processes, or partnerships;
- have a positive impact in their communities and/or immediate context (e.g., contributing to advancing equity and inclusion);
- exhibit environmental sustainability, stewardship, and resilience; and
- provide models, lessons, strategies, or techniques that other communities can replicate or
Of the 2020 regional winners, four became global winners—one in Europe and three in the Asia Pacific region: Circl, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Dasha River Ecological Corridor, Shenzhen, China; Funan, Singapore; and The HUB, Shanghai, China.
Of the 2021 regional winners, five became global winners—three in the Americas and two in the Asia Pacific region: Alexandra Park Revitalization, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; East Point, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States; Plant Riverside District, Savannah, Georgia, United States; and Punggol Town, in Singapore.
Of the special mentions, two were from Europe, three were from the Americas, and one from Asia Pacific: Gare Maritime, Brussels, Belgium; Harrow Square, London, United Kingdom; Governors Island, New York, New York, United States; New Hope Housing and Star of Hope’s Cornerstone Community, Houston, Texas, United States; and Riverfront Park, Spokane, Washington, United States; Kampung Admiralty, Singapore.
ULI picks multiple Global Awards for Excellence winners to demonstrate what the highest levels of achievement look like across product type, scale, and geography. Despite significant differences in regulatory context, members of the global jury concluded that ULI’s global audience could find relevant lessons among each of the nine global winners to inform their own work—from flexible and adaptable planning to creative financing and mixed-income residential arrangements, to outstanding design and more.
Applications for the regional Awards for Excellence programs close in spring 2022. Visit the 2021 ULI Global Awards for Excellence site, watch the global Winner Video, and learn more about the winning projects.