ULI began the Awards for Excellence program in 1979 to recognize truly superior development efforts in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Winning projects represent the highest standards of achievement in the development industry—standards that ULI members deem worthy of attainment in their professional endeavors. Today the real estate and land use industry widely recognizes the ULI Global Awards for Excellence as one of its most prestigious awards programs.
The Awards for Excellence recognize the full development process of a project, not just its architecture or design—although these elements play an important role.
The Awards recognize both development projects and programs. Among projects, the Awards recognize a wide variety of product types, including office, residential, retail, industrial, hotel, mixed use, planned community, open space, and more. Programs are initiatives, processes, or policies that guide or enhance development.
A jury of ULI members chooses finalists and winners. Members of the jury are leaders who represent a broad geographic diversity and many areas of real estate and land use expertise, including finance, planning, development, public affairs, design, and professional services, among others.
From 2012 to 2019, the ULI Global Awards for Excellence honored development projects and programs from around the globe in a single competition. In 2021, projects and programs must first enter a regional award program. That means the ULI Awards for Excellence in the Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific regions serve as the first round for the 2021 ULI Global Awards for Excellence. Winners from the regional programs become finalists in the global awards.
“ULI Awards for Excellence winning projects serve as a great benchmark. When we were planning Dairy Block, we toured 28 ULI award winning projects in 30 days. It was a fantastic way to gather insight, understand the current state of those developments, become inspired, and generate placemaking ideas that informed our own process.”
Chad McWhinney, CEO and Co-Founder at McWhinney and former ULI Global Awards for Excellence winner and co-developer of Denver Union Station
Submissions Open – October 12, 2020
Early Bird Deadline – December 18, 2020
Deadline – January 8, 2021
Late Deadline – January 22, 2021
Finalists Announced – May 2021
Jury Finalist Interviews – May / June 2021
Winners Announced – June 2021
Winners become Finalists in the ULI Global Awards for Excellence.
Fill out the contact form below to receive updates on the ULI Americas Awards for Excellence.
Submissions are open to all, not just ULI members. We recommend you review these in the order listed.
- Read the submission instructions (last updated October 12, 2020);
- Download the PowerPoint presentation template (last updated October 12, 2020). Download an example of a PowerPoint based on 2020 ULI Urban Open Space Award-winning project Domino Park;
- Each image you upload to the submission form must have a caption and photographer credit. Review the example of a contact sheet from 2020 ULI Urban Open Space Award-winning project Domino Park; and
- Submit your entry online at uli.org/aae2021. You must have a ULI account to sign in. If you do not have an account, you can create a free account and then access the form. ULI accepts submissions through an online form only.
Review sample submission forms in PDF (last updated October 14, 2020)
- Program category sample submission form
- Open (all project types) project category sample submission form
- Equitable development project category sample submission form
- Resilient development project category sample submission form
- Small-scale development project category sample submission form
- Urban open space project category sample submission form
Eligibility – All submissions
- You do not need to be a ULI member to submit.
- The ULI Americas Awards are open to projects and programs in the ULI Americas region (North and South America).
- INELIGIBLE: Any project or program that has previously won the ULI Global, Europe, or APAC Awards for Excellence or the ULI Urban Open Space Awards. Finalists that did not win these awards are eligible to submit.
PROJECTS are eligible to apply if they:
- are financially viable; for public sector/nonprofit this means demonstrating a reasonable use of financial resources
- are substantially complete (however, they need not be newly constructed); and
- are in stabilized operation.
“Substantially complete” means a single-phase project must be finished, occupied, and in operation. Projects with multiple phases may submit complete phases of the project. For multiple-phase projects, at least the first phase must be finished, occupied, and in operation.
Small or less significant components of the project may be incomplete; we do not require a specific percentage, but we recommend that the project is 90% or more complete.
While you can submit projects as soon as they are complete, they are more likely to advance to the finals if they have been in operation at least a year or more. This is because more information is available to help the jury determine if the project has been successful.
In addition, Urban Open Spaces must be:
- predominantly outdoors; and
- open and inviting to the public.
PROGRAMS are eligible to apply if they:
- are financially viable, if applicable; and
- have been substantially implemented.
The Awards for Excellence have long recognized both development Projects and Programs.
PROGRAMS – Examples of programs include – but are not limited to – growth management strategies, publicly guided development programs and policies, and other built environment initiatives. If you are submitting a Program related to equity, resilience, or open space, please select the Program category.
PROJECTS – In 2021, the awards will recognize Projects in the following categories:
- Open – All Project Types
- A development project that is not pursuing the Equitable Development, Resilient Development, Small-Scale Development, or Urban Open Space sub-categories.
- Equitable Development
- The project demonstrates a more equitable approach to development. The submitter will need to respond to additional questions specific to this category.
- Resilient Development
- The project demonstrates a more resilient approach to development. The submitter will need to respond to additional questions specific to this category.
- Small-Scale Development
- A project that is under 100,000 square feet (9,290 square meters).
- Urban Open Space
- A project that is predominantly outdoors and is open and inviting to the public. Includes parks, plazas, squares, memorials, trails, and other non-traditional park and open space formats. The submitter will need to respond to additional questions specific to this category.
For this award, we do not try to define equitable development or resilient development. Instead, we have additional questions to which teams applying to these categories must respond. Those questions are below and also are in the example submission forms above.
Choosing a Category / Multiple Categories
If you think your project might fall under more than one category, please select the category that you think is MOST relevant. You may then respond to the specific criteria questions for the other category and send the answers to us by email at email@example.com. In your email, please reference the project name and eight-digit code (2021-####) associated with your submission. The jury will consider both sets of questions and make a determination on how to recognize the project.
Additional Questions per Category
- Equitable Development. Please respond to all relevant criteria:
- Pre-Assessment – Please describe how you assessed local conditions / conducted a social, economic, environmental, or health impact assessment.
- Community Engagement – Please describe how your project was achieved in partnership with civic and community groups.
- Goals – Please describe how you outlined specific health, social, and racial equity goals for the project, based on deep engagement with all relevant stakeholders.
- Open Space Access – Please describe how you responded to issues of disparate park and open space access by Black and African American people, other people of color, and people of different ages, abilities, and languages, etc., with specific strategies of inclusion.
- Leveraged Opportunities – Please describe how you leveraged an event (e.g., major infrastructure investment), public policy or program, or a civic campaign to create more equitable development.
- Data and Measurement – Please describe how you used a data-driven approach to engagement, development, and measuring impact.
- Long Term Planning – Please describe how you planned for social, equitable, and economic sustainability and long-term financial viability.
- Unintended Outcomes – Please describe how you tried to anticipate and/or mitigate unintended outcomes, including displacement of existing community members.
- Diverse Team – Please describe how your own development team is diverse and how that diversity reflects the diversity of the community in which you are developing.
- Post-Assessment – Please describe how you reassessed local conditions / updated a social, economic, environmental, or health impact assessment following implementation of the project.
- Business Enterprise Sponsorship – Please indicate if this project was sponsored by a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, such as a:
- Minority Business Enterprise (MBE)
- Women Business Enterprise (WBE)
- Business Enterprise Requirements – Please describe how you met or exceeded local disadvantaged business enterprise requirements. If you can, please include the percentage and/or number of DBEs that worked on the project.
- Responsive Outcomes – Please describe how actual outcomes are context-sensitive and responsive to community needs, history, and/or culture.
- Transportation – Please describe how the project is highly accessible by a variety of modes of transportation, indicate the specific modes of transportation, and indicate any mode share changes that resulted.
- Resilient Development. Please respond to all relevant criteria:
- Pre-Assessment Resilient – Please describe how you assessed climate vulnerabilities, using data projections reflective of a changing climate and future physical climate risk (flooding, heat, wildfire, etc.).
- Physical Resilience – Please describe how the project addressed physical climate vulnerabilities through design or infrastructure strategies (e.g. stormwater management, elevation, back-up power, etc.).
- Community Resilience – Please describe how the project enhanced community resilience and social and racial equity. In what ways did the project benefit the broader community beyond the site, whether through creation of affordable housing, community engagement in the development process, resilience hubs, or other methods.
- Value and Viability – Please describe how the project created value through investment in resilience, and how the investments in resilience are financially viable, replicable, and/or go beyond risk reduction.
- Adaptability – Please describe how the project exhibited adaptability broadly, considering preparedness for future climate events, as well as other future community needs and opportunities.
- Local Alignment – Please describe how the project aligned with or exceeded city-wide resilience goals and/or infrastructure plans.
- Urban Open Space. Please respond to as many questions as possible:
- Accessibility – Is it fully accessible to people of all abilities? Please describe.
- Amenities – Does it provide thoughtful, high quality amenities and attractions that offer different ways for visitors to enjoy the space? Please describe.
- Community Engagement – Did its planning include substantive public engagement of all relevant stakeholders? Please describe.
- Equity – Does it represent an investment in disadvantaged or underserved neighborhoods? Does it address gentrification and/or displacement? Does it promote land use patterns that reduce environmental vulnerabilities? Please describe.
- Health – Does it promote the physical and/or mental health of its surrounding communities? Please describe.
- Mobility – Does it connect to or enhance local and regional pedestrian, cycling, transit, and sharing networks and/or services? Does it provide multiple, new, and/or better-quality transportation options to residents and visitors? Please describe.
- Programming – Does it provide thoughtful, high quality programming that engages diverse groups of people? Please describe.
- Use – Do people use it intensively on a regular basis? Does it act as a destination for a broad spectrum of users throughout the year? Please describe the users and how they use the space.
The ULI Americas Awards for Excellence have limited philanthropic sponsorship and submission fees help ULI cover the cost of delivering the awards, including creation of case studies and content for ULI members that is based on the award winning submissions. If you are interested in sponsorship of the awards or related events in 2021 or beyond, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Submission fees for the 2021 ULI Americas Awards for Excellence are:
- Early Bird Deadline – December 18, 2020 – 11:59pm EST
- Public Sector/Non-Profit $200 ($100 discount)
- Private Sector $500 ($200 discount)
- Deadline – January 8, 2021 – 11:59pm EST
- Public Sector/Non-Profit $300
- Private Sector $700
- Late Deadline – January 22, 2021 – 11:59pm EST
- Public Sector/Non-Profit $400 ($100 fee)
- Private Sector $900 ($200 fee)
- The above fees apply to the type of company or organization submitting the application, not to the type of project.
- We have a limited number of full or partial fee waivers for Public Sector/Non-Profit organizations, where the fee is a barrier to entry. Please contact email@example.com to request a waiver and we will determine eligibility on a case-by-case basis. We are particularly interested in granting waivers to encourage submissions to the Equitable Development, Resilient Development, and Small-Scale Development sub-categories.
For additional information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let us know if have questions or if we can add you to the contact list for the awards!