COVID-19: The Recovery will Happen in Public Space

Announcing EDRA’s 2017 Great Places Awards: Apply now!

Nov 17, 2016
Dec 14, 2017

As we always say, “When you focus on place, you do things differently.” The Environmental Design Research Association does just this, by seeking to professionally understand how the design of physical environments affects our lives, and how “place” design influences human experience and behavior. This might seem like an obvious step in the design and implementation of public spaces, but in fact, it is often overlooked and undervalued.

The Environmental Design Research Association, in partnership with Project for Public Spaces, is happy to announce that submissions are now being accepted for the 19th Annual Great Places Awards. The Great Places Awards seek to recognize the important work that combines expertise in design, research and practice, and contributes to the creation of dynamic, humane places that engage our attention and imagination— a unique honor among programs for professional and scholarly excellence in environmental design.


As partners, each year we assemble a jury with diverse backgrounds in design, research, and practice. The jury evaluates how each project, no matter what the discipline, addresses the human experience of well-designed places. Special attention is paid to the transferability of research on this topic into design and planning practice.

The jury will select exceptional submissions from four categories:

  • Place Design: Place design projects of various types and scales that have been completed within the last five years, but have been in existence for a sufficient period of time to enable assessment of how well the design responds to user needs.
  • Place Research: All types of research about the design and use of people-centered places completed within the past three years.
  • Place Planning: Any plan generated within the past three years that makes proposals for the future use, management, or design of a place.
  • Book Award: Any book published in the last three years advancing the critical understanding of place or design of exceptional environments can be entered.

All submissions should show how research and/ or public participation is linked to or part of an environmental design practice, and vice versa. Submissions should also demonstrate how an understanding of the experience of place may be used to generate insightful design. We welcome submissions from the full breadth of environmental design and related research fields, including architecture, landscape architecture, planning, urban design, interior design, lighting design, graphic design, place-based public art, environmental psychology, sociology, anthropology, geography, and the physical sciences.

Understandably, EDRA draws ideas and experiences from a range of professionals, such as individuals who have pioneered environment & behavior studies, evidence-based design, facility evaluation methods, sustainability, active living community planning, universal design, diversity in design, workplace design and informatics, and digital technologies.

EDRA started out with a shared belief that we should “create places that matter to people and where people matter.” If you feel that your work also shares this belief, we encourage you to apply! In the coming weeks, we will be featuring stories on previous Great Places Awards recipients, so stay tuned for some inspiration.

All submissions for the 2017 Great Places Awards must be electronically uploaded to the submission site at by 11:59pm ET on February 14th, 2017. Please click here for the full application brochure.

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COVID-19: The Recovery will Happen in Public Space