National Urban Design Awards 2020

In June 2019, after 10 years of the National Urban Design Awards we thought it was the prefect time to investigate the lessons to be learnt from the 88 winners and finalists of previous Practice Project and Public Sector Awards. How do we create, build, deliver good urban design?

And that investigation is well underway - we've been mining the wealth of experience and expertise of our past shortlists and in reviewing, find out what these projects can tell us about how to deliver best practice in urban design in the UK.

Covid 19 has presented us all with extraordinary challenges. We will at some point return to a relative normality, probably a little shell shocked, but hopefully collectively more prepared to make the difficult decisions required to make our urban environment healthier, fairer and more sustainable. And this will of course inform how in the future we identify exemplar urban design. We didn't realise just how important a review would be back in the summer of 2019.

We have made no change to the Student or Book Awards for 2020 and we have been delighted by the quality of entrants. We hope in the not too distant future to share the findings of our review and launch the new look Awards.

Student Project


A Sustainable Vision for Wandle Valley
Consuelo Morales (The Bartlett School of Planning, UCL)

The project is part of the response to the environmental concerns facing contemporary societies and the role urban designers can play in challenging the way cities function and city dwellers' lifestyles. The module in which this project has been developed seeks to tackle specific topics that defy mainstream approaches, focusing instead on transformative actions for a sustainable future.


Poplar Connect
Paco Pui Chong Chan, Cecilia Hiu Ying Lam, Man Pok Leung and Ka Hei Kristin Leung (The Bartlett School of Planning, UCL)

Minha Cassa, Nosso Bairro
Johannah Fening (Oxford Brookes University)

Transforming Together
Omri Ben Chetrit (The Bartlett School of Planning, UCL)

Book Award


Climax City
David Rudlin and Shruti Hemani  

RIBA Publishing


Building in Arcadia
Ruth Reed 
RIBA Publishing

Urban Lighting for People  
Navaz Davoudian 
RIBA Publishing

Walkable City Rules
Jeff Speck 

Island Press


Judging Panel

Graham Smith  Chair
Laura Alvarez  Nottingham City Council
Nidhi Bhargava  Practitioner
Yann Leclerq  DAR
Hannah Smart  Edge Urban Design
Louise Thomas  Co-Editor of URBAN DESIGN, TDRC Ltd
Alan Thompson  A P THOMPSON Built Environment Consulting

'It was fantastic to see the variety and volume of entries to this years awards which made the task of judging many great entries challenging and stimulating for the judging panel. We were delighted by the response to the call for entries and very encouraged to see not only the great work being produced by students in the UK but also to see the interest in the UDG Student Awards growing year by year.'

'This year’s awards demonstrated the amazing opportunities available to students to explore and respond to urban design’s changing context. The best projects were outstanding because they dealt well with uncertainty, ways of influencing others, and creating a vision which was both broad-brush, as well as detailed in its intentions. It is reassuring that newer urban designers are thinking in physical, environmental, economic and social terms.'

Book Award Judging Panel

Georgia Butina-Watson Chair
Marc Furnival
Juliet Bidgood
Jonathan Kendall
Louie Sieh

'The judges of the UDG book award represent practice and academic perspectives and are part of a global community being based in the UK, Europe and Asia. Over the last decade a conversation has evolved between us about what makes a good book about urban design. One that contributes to practice and academic discourse or preferably both. Each year the books we see span: practice manuals based on case studies, research compendia and collections of essays on urban design theory, practice and history. We are always keen to see in the winner a book whose design is exemplary, and that tells a compelling story advancing our knowledge in a significant way.

This year from a longer list of ten or so books we have selected four, which each distil learning from practice in different ways. Urban Lighting for People merges practical knowledge about lighting design with theory and research, Building in Arcadia documents the design challenges encountered in rurality, Walkable City Rules offers a guide for how to negotiate modal shift and Climax City offers an account of why and how cities are shaped and how we can intervene in them in an interactive way. This is my last year as a judge; it’s been a privilege and one I feel it’s time to hand on. Looking back, we have seen some era defining books that I know have shaped how I practice, research and teach.'

Find out more about National Urban Awards History and Past Winners.