Design Awards Competition

Designing Public Places for Community,
Democratic Dialogue,
Health & Equity

The 2017 IMCL Design Competition jury will consider all submissions that speak to Designing Public Places. Projects related to Public Places for Community, Democratic Dialogue, Health & Equity are actively sought, and will be given particular consideration.


Projects that showcase the general urban design principles and livability criteria espoused by IMCL, and in tune with the topics listed here will be considered. IMCL awards are an extraordinary honor, difficult to attain. Every selected project will represent a case study intended to be used in support of IMCL goals, and therefore must be of extremely high graphic quality, as well as packed with award-worthy content.  The results of the competition will be displayed to represent IMCL aspirations at future Conferences, in publications, or on the IMCL website.

Built Projects

All projects in this category must have been substantially completed and occupied within the last ten years. BUILT projects must clearly identify what was existing AND what has actually been built (as opposed to what exists only as sophisticated computer renderings!). If the project is in progress, the submission must clearly distinguish between those portions that have been completed and those that are not yet complete, and any supplementary computer generated images must be clearly labeled as “Proposed”.

Proposed Projects

All projects in this category must have been commissioned by a “real” client- a city or town, institution, agency, authority, business or individual. Full contact information for the client (name, organization, address, phone, email, website) must be included with the submission for verification.


Winning projects will respect the fundamental DNA of the city, including the cultural and physical history, and should be socially as well as ecologically sustainable. Projects may be public or private; neighborhoods, districts, streets, spaces, places, buildings or art; regional or local in scope ……. but every project must enhance the livability of the city by creating a more humane, multi-functional, stimulating, useful, beautiful, egalitarian public realm. They will contribute to creating a city integrated with its region and landscape, a city that is good for children and the poor, a city based on human scale and the pedestrian, a city that promotes health and healthy behavior, a city of short distances, an equitable city, a city that is a work of art, a city that future generations will enjoy …….  A Livable City.


Public Places for Community & Democratic Dialogue

  • Streets for people    
  • Child- and elder-friendly public places    
  • Reclaimed public space  
  • Squares and plazas to support social interaction   
  • Form based coding to generate social life
  • Neighborhood plazas for community life
  • Pairing market places and civic buildings to foster democratic dialogue   
  • Multi-functional schools as neighborhood centers    
  • Transforming malls into mixed-use community centers

Public Places for Health

  • Designing for active mobility   
  • Walkable 10-minute community/reshaping suburbia    
  • Lifetime community  
  • Pedestrian networks as commuter routes 
  • Bicycle planning, buffered bikeways    
  • Complete streets, green streets, shared space streets    
  • Transit-oriented development    
  • Accessible nature/Green and blue in the city    
  • Community gardens, farmers markets    
  • Neighborhood parks and trails    
  • Mitigating air pollution/Reducing urban heat islands
  • Reducing urban noise, light pollution    
  • Healthy urban design to fight climate change

Public places for increasing equity

  • Improving public places in poor neighborhoods   
  • Designing the public realm to heal social segregation   
  • Combatting food deserts/Urban agriculture    
  • Community participation/sweat equity in public space improvements    
  • Design of inclusive and equitable communities    
  • Mixed-income/shared equity/affordable family housing 
  • Housing the homeless/preventing homelessness    
  • Making barrios and favelas healthy
  • Social integration of immigrants and asylum seekers.   


  • January 31, 2017 – Deadline for application form, statement of project philosophy/design criteria, Electronic Exhibit Boards, photos, and application fee ($245) Deadline extended to February 28.
  • March 1, 2017 - Applicants notified of acceptance in the competition (or within one month for late submissions.)
  • June 1, 2017 - Deadline for registration of representative at the 54th IMCL Conference, Santa Fe. This is required to confirm applicants’ participation in the Design Competition.
  • October 4, 2017 - Awards will be announced and presented to representatives of winning projects on Wednesday, October 4 at the Discussion Dinner/Awards Ceremony.      


1. WHO CAN ENTER. Urban designers, landscape architects, architects, planners, developers, cities and other governmental agencies may enter one or more projects.

2. QUALIFYING PROJECTS. To qualify, projects may be already constructed, or in design, but must be real projects commissioned with the intention to build.  There are no restrictions as to where these projects may be located.

3. APPLICATION PROCEDURE. The review procedure will be conducted by blind peer review. Application form (basic information); two versions of high definition PDF Electronic Exhibit panels suitable for printing; five photos or illustrations to be used to present the project via PPT; one photo or illustration that best exemplifies the project; and application fee must be submitted online before January 31, 2017 (Maximum 6MB). 
The following information is required:

  • Application form
  • Two high definition PDF Exhibit Boards, vertical format (in 2 versions)
  • Five photos or illustrations
  • One photo or illustration

For information about the Selection Process, please click here.