The World's Finest In Design And Development: The Urban Land Institute Announces Winners Of The 2009 Global Awards For Excellence Competition

November 12, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – November 6, 2009 – Five outstanding developments have been selected as winners of the 2009 Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Global Awards for Excellence competition, widely recognized as the land use industry’s most prestigious recognition program. The winners are: the American University in Cairo – New Campus, Cairo, Egypt; California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco; The Rise, Vancouver, British Columbia; West Chelsea/High Line Rezoning Plan, New York City; and Zhongshan Shipyard Park, Zhongshan, China.

The competition is part of the Institute’s Awards for Excellence program, established in 1979, which is based on ULI’s guiding principle that the achievement of excellence in land use practice should be recognized and rewarded. ULI’s Awards for Excellence recognize the full development process of a project, not just its architecture or design. The criteria for the awards include leadership, contribution to the community, innovations, public/private partnership, environmental protection and enhancement, response to societal needs, and financial success.

The winners were announced today during the ULI Fall Meeting in San Francisco.  While the 2009 winners are very different in development type, they all share a commitment to high quality that is reflected in exceptional design and craft, and in cultural relevance, said 2009 Global Awards for Excellence Jury Chairman Joseph E. Brown, Group Chief Executive of AECOM in San Francisco. It was very rewarding to see the cultural strength, authenticity and originality shown by all the winners.

According to ULI Chief Executive Officer Patrick L. Phillips, the award winners illustrate that well-designed, well-built projects can thrive even in the most challenging of economic times. These global winners showcase the best in creativity, innovation, and long-term thinking, Phillips said.

The ULI Awards for Excellence program is a timely reminder of the key difference responsible land use can make in terms of community longevity and sustainability.

The 2009 winners were selected from 21 worldwide finalists, all of whom were winners in their region: The Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific. The global awards jury evaluated these projects with additional criteria, including: innovative concepts that can be emulated around the world; strong urban design; response to the surrounding environment; and design that contributes to a livable, sustainable development that demonstrates relevance to the needs of the community.

The 2009 Global Awards for Excellence winners (developers in parentheses):

  • American University in Cairo – New Campus, Cairo, Egypt (AUC) The university’s new campus is located at the center of New Cairo City, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of the current campus in downtown Cairo. It is designed to be a tool and stimulus in itself for learning and to anchor community development around the university. The 105-hectare (260-acre) virgin desert site has been developed into 200,000 square meters (2.2 million sq ft) of energy-efficient housing and academic, administrative, and student life facilities.



  • California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California (The California Academy of Sciences) One of the world’s largest LEED-Platinum public buildings, the $488 million California Academy of Sciences houses an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum, and four-story rain forest.
    The 412,000 square-foot project, located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, was designed with the goal of preserving the natural habitats, species, and resources of the local environment.



  • The Rise, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (Grosvenor Americas) The Rise, a mid-rise building adjacent to a rapid transit station, successfully mixes large-format retail uses, locally-focused stores, and 92 rooftop live/work units that surround a 20,000 square foot green roof.  The building uses one-third less energy and two-thirds less potable water than required by Canadian energy code, while the design establishes a new model of mixed-use development in Vancouver.



  • West Chelsea/High Line Rezoning Plan, New York, New York (City of New York, Department of Planning) Using an innovative transfer of development rights (TDR) scheme, this plan has spurred the development of over 1,000 residential units and 2 million square feet of commercial space in West Chelsea. The defining feature of the special district is High Line Park—formerly an abandoned elevated rail line—which will become a 22-block-long linear park running through the district.



  • Zhongshan Shipyard Park, Zhongshan, China (Zhongshan City, Planning Bureau) Built on a dilapidated shipyard, the Zhongshan Shipyard Park is eleven hectares (27 ac) of reclaimed wetlands, restored shoreline, and landscaped park space that references its industrial past with salvaged docks and machinery.  The design gives much attention to restoring leftover structures, connecting with the existing urban context, and environmental responsibility.
    The 2009 Global Awards for Excellence winners were selected by a jury of renowned land use development and design experts. In addition to Jury Chairman Joseph E. Brown, other members were Richard Gollis, principal, The Concord Group LLC, Newport Beach; Ian Hawksworth, managing director, Capital & Counties, London; Raj Menda, managing director, RMZ Corp, Bangalore; and Marilee Utter, president, Citiventure Associates LLC, Denver.



Over the years, the Awards for Excellence program has evolved from recognition of one development in North America to an international competition with multiple winners. The ULI Awards for Excellence: Europe was added in 2004 and in 2005, the ULI Awards for Excellence: Asia Pacific was added. Throughout the program’s history all types of projects have been recognized for their excellence, including office, residential, recreational, urban/mixed-use, industrial/office park, commercial/retail, new community, rehabilitation, and public projects and programs.

More information about ULI’s Awards for Excellence program is at:

About the Urban Land Institute

The Urban Land Institute (<>) is a global nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has nearly 34,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.