Congo Street Initiative

Dallas, TX - February 11, 2013 - The Dallas-based community design non-profit buildingcommunityWORKSHOP has been named one of five finalists for the 2013 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (RBA), by the Bruner Foundation Inc. This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of this pioneering, biennial accolade, which seeks to identify exemplary urban places nationwide and celebrate their impact on the economic, social, and physical fabric of our cities. Established in 1987, the award was created by architect and developer Simeon Bruner, founding principal of Bruner/Cott Architects and Planners (Cambridge, MA), in honor of his late father.

The buildingcommunityWORKSHOP led the Congo Street Initiative in the transformation of a small forgotten street in the Jubilee Park neighborhood of Dallas, and in doing so presented a highly replicable model for community revitalization.  Built on close collaboration with residents and the successful coordination of partners, funders, and volunteers, the Initiative included the sustainable rehabilitation of five family homes, construction of a new home to serve as transitional housing for families, and the creation of Dallas’ first Green Street. 

RBA staff members will conduct site visits to each finalist project in preparation for the committee’s selection of the medal winners in May. The medalists will receive cash awards to support their projects: the Gold Medal recipient receives $50,000, and the Silver Medal recipients, $10,000 each. A book chronicling the winning project case studies will be published next year and disseminated to academicians, city planners, and others to benefit urban planning nationwide.

The other 2013 RBA finalists are:

Inspiration Kitchens – Chicago, IL – submitted by Inspiration Corporation
An 80-seat restaurant providing free meals to working poor families and market-rate meals to the public as well as workforce training and placement

Louisville Waterfront Park – Louisville, KY – submitted by Louisville Waterfront Development Corporation
An 82-acre urban park developed over more than two decades that reconnects the city with the Ohio River

The Steel Yard - Providence, RI – submitted by Klopfer Martin Design Group
The redevelopment of an abandoned, historic steel fabrication facility into a campus for arts education, workforce training, and small-scale manufacturing

Via Verde - Bronx, NY – submitted by Jonathan Rose Companies and Phipps Houses
A 222-unit, LEED Gold certified, affordable housing development in the Bronx designed as a model for healthy and sustainable urban living

Entries, which comprise completed projects in urban environments in the forty-eight contiguous states, are evaluated by a selection committee of urban experts based on general criteria focused on people, place, and process. The 2013 selection committee members are:

Mick Cornett - Mayor, Oklahoma City, OK
Ann Coulter - Owner, A. Coulter Consulting, Chattanooga, TN
Walter Hood - Principal, Hood Design, Oakland, CA
Cathy Simon - Design Principal, Perkins+Will, San Francisco, CA
Susan Szenasy - Editor-in-Chief, Metropolis, New York, NY
Jane Werner - Executive Director, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh (2007 RBA Gold Medal), Pittsburgh, PA

The number of entries for this year’s program swelled 80 percent from the last entry period. “Investment in American cities is growing,” says Simeon Bruner, Founder, Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence. “Collaborative, innovative approaches are essential to addressing the increasingly complex challenges of urban development and ensuring the long-term economic, environmental and social health of our cities. We are proud to highlight these efforts and honor the best of urban placemaking in the country with the Rudy Bruner Award as we have over the past twenty-five years.”

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