Each Rudy Bruner Award cycle involves considerable discussion about urban development and design which is summarized with a “Lessons Learned” essay. The essay synthesizes observations and insights gleaned from the selection process including review of the submissions, Selection Committee deliberations, site visits and research, and development of the case studies. 

The lessons learned from each award cycle reflect the perception of and responses to critical urban issues within the socioeconomic and political context of America each biennial. These essays are intended to provide critical reflection and insight into the complex process of creating excellent urban places, pique curiosity, and inspire further discussion and exploration. As a collection, they offer insight into the evolution of urban development in American cities.


CHANGING THE NARRATIVE–2019
Featuring medalists in Memphis TN, Houston, TX, Lynn MA, New Orleans LA, and Sulphur Springs TX changing the rules of standard practice, elevating and addressing long-term challenges faced by cities across America. 

INVESTING IN URBAN INFRASTRUCTURE–2017
Medalists in Bethlehem, PA, Boston, MA, Chicago, IL, New Orleans, LA, and Los Angeles, CA demonstrate how leadership and investment in urban infrastructure can strengthen communities, catalyze development, and inspire civic pride.

CHALLENGING CONVENTIONS–2015
Challenging the conventional and tackling big problems in novel ways in Baltimore, MD, Olympia, WA, Grand Rapids, MI, Greenville, SC and Cleveland, OH.

INSPIRING CHANGE–2013
Featuring medalists in Chicago, IL, Dallas, TX, Louisville, KY, Providence, RI and New York City, NY achieving urban excellence at all scales with all types of projects, budgets, and schedules.

PARTNERING STRATEGIES FOR THE URBAN EDGE–2011
Successful partnerships that overcame resistance to development and incorporated disparate points of view in Dallas, TX, Brooklyn, NY, Chicago, IL, Phoenix, AZ and Santa Fe, NM.

URBAN TRANSFORMATION–2009
Medalists in Los Angeles, CA, Charlottesville, VA, New York City, NY, Chicago, IL and New Orleans, LA champion new ideas and models that amplify beauty, vitality and address the needs of underserved communities.

BUILDING SUSTAINABLE NEIGHBORHOODS–2007
Reconnecting and strengthening communities through sustainable design and environmental awareness in Pittsburgh, PA, Boston, MA, New York City, NY, Milwaukee, WI, Seattle, WA and Los Angeles, CA. Six medalists attract people back to downtown, reinforce public infrastructure, and stimulate investment.

REINVENTING DOWNTOWN–2005
Urban excellence emerges through processes that include the rethinking of neighborhood identities in Portland, OR, Silver Spring, MD, Oakland, CA, Paducah, KY and Detroit, MI.

CREATIVE COMMUNITY BUILDING–2003
Medalists in Los Angeles, CA, New York City, NY, Santa Monica, CA and Providence, RI innovate ways of intervening in at-risk communities and new models for stabilization and revitalization.

PLACEMAKING FOR CHANGE–2001
Art, natural environments and preservation in urban development bring meaning and value to Philadelphia PA, New York City, NY, Newark, NJ, Denver, CO and Oakland, CA.

COMMITMENT TO PLACE: Urban Excellence & Community–1999
Medalists in communities across San Francisco, CA, Portland, ME, Los Angeles and Philadelphia PA are strengthened and empowered by working together to create and care for urban places.

VISIONS OF URBAN EXCELLENCE–1997
Featuring medalists in New York City, NY, Houston, TX, Oakland, CA, Roanoke, VA and Cleveland, OH demonstrate that excellent urban places require a vision, a dream and the invention of new concepts.

BUILDING COALITIONS FOR URBAN EXCELLENCE–1995
Creating urban excellence requires the participation of many entities and actors across Portland, OR, Milwaukee, WI, Boston, MA, New York City, NY and Saint Paul, MN.

REBUILDING COMMUNITIES: Re-creating Urban Excellence–1993
Medalists in Boston, MA, Newark, NJ, San Francisco, CA and Cincinnati, Ohio cary out a multifaceted approach to rebuilding community.

CONNECTIONS: Creating Urban Excellence—1991
Fostering connections through a commitment to empowerment, social justice, and meeting the needs of people in communities across New York City, NY, Miami, FL, Boston, MA and Portland OR.

BREAKTHROUGHS: Recreating the American City—1989
The roles that people and communities, policies, and government play in shaping urban development in New York City, NY, Portland, OR, Boston, MA, Lincoln, NE, Saticoy, CA and Stowe, VT.

URBAN EXCELLENCE—1987
Featuring medalists in Seattle, WA, San Francisco, CA, Kanas City, MO, New York City, NY and Philadelphia, PA promote principles and values that contribute to urban excellence.