Presented jointly by the Urban Communication Foundation and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
Policies and Procedures
The Gene Burd Award for Excellence in Urban Journalism is named after Gene Burd, Professor of Journalism at the University of Texas, who endowed the Urban Communication Foundation
The Gene Burd Award for Excellence in Urban Journalism
The purpose of the Urban Journalism Award is to reward and thereby improve the practice and study of journalism in the urban environment by recognizing high-quality urban media reporting, critical analysis, and research relevant to that content and its communication about city problems, programs, policies, and public priorities in urban life and culture.
AMOUNT OF AWARDS
The award of $5,000 for the Urban Journalism Award and is presented ate annual Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication convention held in August of each year. Awards are for individuals with a distinguished record of accomplished works in urban journalism.
PROCEDURES FOR SUBMISSION
Candidates must submit, or have submitted on their behalf, nomination materials, which includes the following:
I. A letter of nomination for the nominee.
II. An additional letter of support.
II. A copy of the nominee’s current vita/resume.
IV. Additional supporting materials (e.g., reprints of articles, other media productions and additional letters of endorsement, or other appropriate information.)
Submissions must be sent to the Executive Director of AEJMC. Nomination materials must be submitted by April 15 of the year in which the award will be made. The next award will be given in 2022. Submissions must be made electronically, in the form of e-mail and attachments.
Previous Winners of the Gene Burd Urban Journalism Award
Gabrielle Gurley is the Deputy Editor of The American Prospect and a longtime reporter on urban issues. In her 20-year career in journalism, Gurley has covered a wide variety of urban issues, often focusing on transportation, infrastructure, and economic development. Her work has been honored by the National Association of Black Journalists and Capitolbeat, the Association of Capitol Editors and Reporters.
Lolly Bowean, a 2017 Nieman Fellow and winner of the Studs Terkel Award, was a general assignment reporter for the Chicago Tribune focusing on urban affairs, youth culture, housing, minority communities, and minority relations. She is currently is a Program Officer at the Field Foundation.
Brian Lehrer was the 2018 Gene Burd Urban Journalism recipient. Lehrer was recognized for his two-hour daily call-in radio program at WNYC and for being an “insightful and enduring presence in broadcast journalism dedicated to the urban condition.”
Jeff McCarter is the Founder & Executive Director of Free Spirit Media, which he created in 2001 in order to share his experience as a media professional (Emmy Award-winning producer, cameraman, director, and editor) with young people from under-resourced communities. Jeff witnessed the lack of diversity in both representation and opportunity in mainstream media.
Now, Free Spirit Media transforms media and society by providing opportunities for emerging creators, primarily from communities of color, to produce and distribute original content and to pursue artistic, personal, and professional aspirations.
Robert Campbell is a writer and architect. In 1996 he received the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism for his writing on architecture in the Boston Globe. He has published more than 100 feature articles in national periodicals and for ten years wrote a regular column, “Critique,” for the magazine Architectural Record. He is the author of Cityscapes of Boston: An American City Through Time. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. He has received the AIA’s Medal for Criticism, the Commonwealth Award of the Boston Society of Architects, a Design Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts; and grants from the Graham Foundation and the J. M. Kaplan Fund.
Ben Katchor, cartoonist and graphic novelist, was awarded the 2015 award. The jury noted that it “was truly impressed with [his] creative and dynamic approach to the urban landscape and [the] bizarre variety of complex urban issues” he addresses. Ben’s series of books, collected from his many cartooning efforts, give readers an immersion in urban life that always calls attention to the people who build things, make things, and consume things.
Sommer Mathis was editor of The Atlantic Cities, The Atlantic‘s sister site devoted to the most groundbreaking ideas and pressing issues facing today’s global cities and neighborhoods. Before joining Atlantic Media in 2011, she spent five years reporting on the Washington, DC metro area, first as editor-in-chief of DCist.com and later as news editor at local news start-up, TBD.com. Her work has also appeared in The Washington Post, the Washingtonian magazine, Architect magazine, and The Guardian.
Tom Condon has held numerous positions at the Hartford Courant, from reporter to editor to columnist. In all of those, his smart and values-driven work has largely focused on making urban life, especially life in and around Hartford, better. Hartford used to be a jewel of a city. It has been tarnished, as have many of the rust-belt cities. Condon has been relentless in looking for solutions and for keeping readers hopeful and engaged. Whether the problem is education, housing, commerce, drugs, tax policy, zoning, transportation, or what have you, Condon has tackled it and argued for sensible, pro-livable-city changes.
Blair Kamin, architecture critic of the Chicago Tribune, won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 1999 for a body of work highlighted by a series of articles that explored the “problems and promise of Chicago’s greatest public space, its lakefront.” He graduated from Amherst College in 1979 and from the Yale University School of Architecture in 1984 with a Master of Environmental Design. He was a reporter for the Des Moines Register from 1984 to 1987, then joined the Tribune in 1987, covering suburban and cultural news. Since becoming the Tribune’s architecture critic in 1992, he has written about “the full range of the built environment.”
Susan Szenasy is the former editor-in-chief of METROPOLIS, the award-winning New York City-based magazine, and an internationally recognized authority on sustainability and design, helping it to achieve worldwide recognition with its landmark design journalism. In 2007 she was a joint recipient of the Civitas August Heckscher Award for Community Service and Excellence. Ms. Szenasy holds an MA in Modern European History from Rutgers University and honorary doctorates from Kendall College of Art and Design, the Art Center College of Design, and the Pacific Northwest College of Art.
Inga Saffron, hired by the Inquirer in 1985 as a suburban reporter, is a three-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism. One of Ms. Saffron’s champions has said, “Ms. Saffron’s writing is based on a deep understanding of Philadelphia’s distinctive urban fabric, of which she is a passionate but critical advocate. Her great strength is her ability to explain to her readers how each piece of our city – a major new high rise, the demolition of an historic building, or a sidewalk utility box – improves or diminishes the city for its inhabitants. While many in this city still focus only on whether development takes place, Ms. Saffron has become our most vocal proponent for the good quality design and thoughtful planning needed to preserve the city’s rich character and help achieve a more vibrant future.”
Joel Kotkin is an internationally recognized authority on urban trends and their global, economic, political, and social ramifications. As a journalist, he has regularly explored urban landscapes, people, and policy for more than two decades. His writings on urban housing and urban planning have appeared in a range of magazines and journals that include The Wharton Real Estate Review, Inc, Newsweek, The American Interest, Commentary, and Metropolis. He also has contributed frequent pieces on urban landscapes and policies for more than two decades in newspapers that include The Washington Post, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The Los Angeles Times.
Paul Goldberger wrote The New Yorker’s “Sky Line” column . He holds the Joseph Urban Chair in Design and Architecture at The New School in New York City. His career started at the New York Times where he won the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Journalism in 1984. Paul Goldberger is the contemporary extension of Lewis Mumford, Jane Jacobs, and Ada Louise Huxtable. Kent Barwick, President of the Municipal Art Society of New York said “Paul’s greatest contribution is his writing about cities. How architecture hits the pavement, how projects relate to their surroundings, how physical change affects how we feel about places is his genius.”
Steward Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog was called a conceptual forerunner of the search engine by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. It was Brand’s desire to help people find any information they might find useful to themselves that inspired him to publish the massive catalog. Brand was a visiting scientist at the MIT Media Laboratory, out of which he produced his 1997 book: The Media Lab: Inventing the Future. His other books include How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built (1994) and The Clock of the Long Now: Time and Responsibility (1999).
Peter Applebome writes twice a week for the New York Times “Metropolitan Page” on the towns, the suburbs, and those locations outside the immediate places usually referred to as the metropolis. He is a journalist, a commentator, and a story-teller. His columns focus on the human dimensions of living in a geographic place, the shifting connection between individuals and their environment, and the changing values that accompany the fluid and global landscape.
Joel Garreau has written over a long period of time for the Washington Post, Wired Magazine, Whole Earth Review, and three books: Nine Nations of North America (1981), Edge City(1991), and Radical Evolution (2005).
John King, a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his emerging significance as a national urban critic, continues the long San Francisco Chronicle tradition of support for local critical commentators and analysts of urban life like that of the late Allan Temko and Herb Caen. King also follows in the footsteps of acclaimed national urban critics such as Lewis Mumford, Jane Jacobs, Ada Huxtable, and Grady Clay, who have also seen and written about cities through the architectural lens to interpret, critique, and mediate the interaction of city planners, urban policies and the public.
The Jane Jacobs Urban Communication Book Award is named in honor of the late social activist and author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities., Jane Jacobs.
The annual Jane Jacobs Urban Communication Book Award recognizes an outstanding book, published in English, which exhibits excellence in addressing issues of urban communication. The book award brings with it a $500 prize.
PROCEDURES OF SUBMISSION
All entries must be published between January 1, 2022 and June 30, 2022. To nominate a book, please send a short letter of nomination or self-nomination (in the form of an email attachment) to Curry Chandler, chair of the Jane Jacobs Book Award review committee, at email@example.com by July 15, 2022. The letter of nomination should describe the book and explain how it addresses issues central to the field of urban communication. For more information on the field of urban communication, and to determine if your nomination fits the award call, please review the Urban Communication Foundation’s mission statement (at https://urbancomm.org/about-ucf-1).
We will review all nomination letters after the July 15, 2022 deadline and choose a short-list of finalists. Only this short-list of finalists (or their publishers) will be asked to send four copies of the book to the award committee (in August).
Email nomination letters to: Curry Chandler at firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions? Contact: email@example.com
2021 Jane Jacobs Urban Communication Book Awardee
Susan A. Phillips is the 2021 Award Recipient for The City Beneath: A Century of Los Angeles Graffiti (2019, Yale University Press).
Susan A. Phillips is professor of environmental analysis at Pitzer College. She is the author of Wallbangin’: Graffiti and Gangs in L.A. (1999) and Operation Fly Trap: Gangs, Drugs, and Law (2012).
2020 Jane Jacobs Urban Communication Book Awardee
Benjamin Stokes is the 2020 Award Recipient for Locally Played: Real World Games for Stronger Places and Communities (2020, The MIT Press).
Benjamin Stokes, is a civic media scholar at American University in Washington, D.C. His research shows how local empowerment can depend on digital media strategy, from urban games to storytelling infrastructure. He teaches game design at the AU Game Lab and in the School of Communication; he is also a fellow at the AU Metropolitan Policy Center. Previously, Benjamin co-founded Games for Change, the movement hub advancing social change with games. At the MacArthur Foundation before joining academia, Benjamin was a program officer in Digital Media and Learning. His creative work has been featured in the Smithsonian Museum and the Guggenheim, from participatory mapping by bicycle to repurposed payphones for community-based storytelling.
THE FUTURE OF THE COMMUNICATIVE CITY IN A PANDEMIC AGE
Date: 11, 12, 17, 18 November 2020 (4 sessions)
This closed workshop was organized by the Communicative Cities™ Research Network (CCRN) and the Cultural Research Centre (National University of Singapore). It explored the concept of the communicative city and ultimately examine how to collaboratively research the future of the communicative city in a post pandemic world.
Globally, almost 60 percent of the world’s population lives in cities, just when a global health crisis is forcing much of that population stay at home as a sanctuary and means of maintaining the contagion. This has resulted in the reconsideration of the urban landscape as a place to live and work. In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak the Internet has become the means of both transmission and connection within often mandatory seclusion. The communicative city is being redefined. Data and connectivity accompany isolation. Densely populated cities are ground zero for the coronavirus’ spread, cases and highest fatalities. The global pandemic has hit urban areas particularly hard with population density an inherent part of the problem. Domestic space has taken on new functions as access to public spaces are restricted. Traditional sites of community and interpersonal interaction such as stadia, arenas, convention centers, theaters, clubs, performing arts centers, universities, schools and restaurants have been closed, depicted as dangerous environments. Data and connectivity are redefining the nature of work and place as the suburbs and rural locations again replace the city as a sanctuary, a more desired place to live and work.
Considering the following themes:
Inequality: How has the pandemic produced new forms of inequality in the communicative city? Who are the left behind or residual populations? How are these inequalities related to digital media as a means of communication, consumption and governance?
Surveillance: How has the need to track and trace the spread of COVID-19 mobilised old and new forms of urban surveillance? How can key concepts relating to surveillance – such as the right to privacy and the effect of social sorting – be applied to these new phenomena?
Place: The virus has lead to new spatial practices, politics and imaginaries. Lock down and then re-opening has produced a ‘tactical urbanism’ that circumscribes public spaces and limits the size of gatherings. How does this influence the nature of public space as an engine of serendipity and creativity. Can we again find pleasure in crowding? What new dialectics and dynamics are emerging between domestic and public, public and private, public and commercial, rural and urban, mobile and sedentary?
Polity and demos: Is the pandemic an opportunity to envisage a new mode of being together, a new pandemos from the pandemic? Does this emerge in public space, or through new modes of digital sociality? What role do the many street protests that have arisen during COVID-19 play in imagining a different urban society?
Economy: The urban economy is swiftly feeling the effect of the reterritorialization and deglobalisation caused by COVID-19. Will the nature of consumption in cities be curtailed by rarer goods and services? Will cities remain ‘global cities’ in Sassen’s sense, or ‘metropolitan regions’ in Castells’ sense, where specialised professional clusters require global flows of people and capital, a sophisticated logistical infrastructure and a concomitant division of labour that draws on regional migration?
Professor Audrey Yue, Department of Communications and New Media and Cultural Research Centre, National University of Singapore
Dr Alex Lambert, Department of Communications and New Media and Cultural Research Centre, National University of Singapore
WORKSHOP ORGANIZING COMMITTEE
Professor Gary Gumpert (Urban Communication Foundation)
Professor Susan Drucker (Hofstra University)
Professor Peter Haratonik (Urban Communication Foundation)
Professor Scott McQuire (University of Melbourne)
Professor Nikos Papastergiadis (University of Melbourne)
Professor Ji Pan (Fudan University)
Access to videos and transcriptions of the presentations will be made available by January 2021.
The Artist Communicating the City: A Reflective Symposium on Communicative Cities™
For several decades communication scholars have explored and researched the infinite variations of the communicative urban landscape, but seldom has the communicative power of the artist and the city been explored. Surely, with the advances in digital communicative technologies it is time to explore the interplay between art and the city.
Few contemplate the city without the influence of an artistic eye. Paris Street, Rainy Day (1877) by Gustave Caillebotte reveals the intersection in from of the Sainte Lazare train station with a couple walking down the sidewalk along a relatively new boulevard of Paris. Edward Hopper’s enigmatic Nighthawks (1942) depicts a variation on a theme of urban loneliness. Each reflects and projects a filtered view that confirm and projects the urban experience.
However, in the 21st century new forms of artistic practice and urbanism are extending and complicating the relation between art and the city. If this is partly the influence of artists adopting new media such as video, digital photography and creative data visualization, it is also shaped by a new conception of art. Contemporary art is no longer so tightly focused on finished products such as paintings or statues, but is increasingly concerned with processes, including modes of sociality and social encounter. It is also less dominated by national contexts and has become more engaged in debates around global society and cosmopolitan culture. Simultaneously, architects, designers and policy makers are increasingly reconfiguring the role of aesthetics in their practice. The feedback between aesthetics and the communicative urban landscape is producing some hybrid cultural formations and novel forms of conviviality. Even when it is designed for distribution over digital networks, art is made in particular places and is often conceived as a response to local conditions.
This context challenges our traditional understanding of the interplay between art and cities. No longer content with simply ‘representing’ the city, artists are increasingly asked to ‘activate’ it.
In Spatial Aesthetics: Art, Place and the Everyday (2006) Nikos Papastergiades grapples with the sometime subtle, sometime radical evaluation of art and the public place.Thinking about the place of art is not just a debate over the line that is drawn between local, national and global contexts. It also involves an examination of the structures that confer authority and value to art. In the transition from cathedral, to gallery and then to the streets of everyday life, it is not only the place but also the authority of art that has undergone radical transformation. The authority of art has moved from sacred to secular, and the production of art has blurred the boundary between the unique object and the mass commodity. Papastergiadis argues we need to develop new conceptual coordinates in order to better understand the symbiotic relationship between artist and city.
To this end, we propose a two-day interdisciplinary international symposium to be held at the Chicago Art Institute in the Fall of 2019. It will offer the systematic exploration of the relation between art and urban life from the perspective of communication. The invited gathering will be limited to approximately 30 expert participants, plus room for a participating audience.
The Artist Communicating the City will bring together scholars, artists, architects, designers and municipal officials to explore topics including:
- The artist and city in history
- The city as work of art
- The art of the oppressed
- How does a contemporary urban artist ‘communicate’ ?
- Art and underground urban communication
- Public art and the communicative city
- The artist as communicator
- Experiencing the city through art
This symposium will be the fourth in an ongoing series on Communicative Cities™. Previously symposia have been held in Amsterdam (2015) in conjunction with the communicative city award presented by the Urban Communication Foundation; Melbourne at the University of Melbourne in 2016, and Shanghai at Fudan University in 2017. Each symposium has focused on a specific dimension of the broad field of the communicative city identified by Gumpert and Drucker.
Projected Outcome: Publication of a volume of collected essays.
Previous Award Winners
Recipient: The City of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
For Immediate Release
The City of Chicago has been named as the recipient of the first Urban Communication Foundation Communicative Cities™ Award. The award recognizes a city whose policies facilitate interaction among its citizens through public and private initiatives that enhance the quality of life. A panel of international scholars advanced the recommendation for the Communicative Cities™ Award and the selection of Chicago as its first choice. The City of Chicago, previously named an “All American City,” will receive the award at a presentation early in 2013.
Gary Gumpert, President of the Urban Communication Foundation, said that Chicago is an outstanding selection based on the decisions that the city has made for its residents and visitors alike. In an ideal “Communicative City,” the infrastructure maximizes interaction and engagement and the climate for communication is characterized by civility, diversity and freedom. Chicago more than fulfills these criteria.
Media Guru Marshall McLuhan, known for his aphorism, “the medium is the message”, emphasized how media and communication channels influence social organization and development.
“Chicago is the message,’” said Gumpert, noting that “it’s tradition and image as a city of architectural wonders continues to evolve and the imaginative layout of downtown and lakeside amenities sends and invites it citizens to engage and participate in public life.”
Gene Burd, a professor of journalism as the University of Texas, Austin, the foundation’s benefactor and an early pioneer in recognizing the importance of urban communication, is particularly pleased with the choice of Chicago for the Foundation’s first Communicative Cities™ award. Burd, active at Hull House in Chicago as a young man, noted that Chicago recognized the importance of civic involvement in decision making The award recognizes several key component of urban life.
First, a Communicative City ought to provide sites and opportunities for social interaction, places to be with others, sites to be alone with others; spaces that are walkable; places that communicate culture and heritage, spaces in which to play, places with numerous nodes of activity, accessible public spaces, and places that welcome outsiders and visitors. Millennium Park is a wonderful example of rejuvenated public space. “Clearly Chicago’s decisions about its lakefront is a prime example of the recognition of social identity and function,” said Gumpert. “Chicago serves as a model for how to engage people through its treatment of such a valuable resource.”
There have been many initiatives in recent years in the creation and nurturing of public space in Chicago that allows for and encourages public engagement. For example, the Pop-Up Art Project has given artists access to dozens of empty storefronts to show their work. While providing venues for artistic expression, they also create an active street life and help to make what might be “dead zones” vital.
Second, a Communicative City has a strong “urban communication infrastructure.” This ideas encompassed a host of enduring features that support civic engagement, including both physical and non-physical aspects -- access to local media, access to communication technologies across the city, affordable network connection availability, policies protecting press freedom and free speech, multiple public spaces that are pedestrian friendly, sites for public art and culture, and opportunities for public interaction through organizations, events and festivals.
“Chicago’s communication infrastructure is a capital investment for its citizens,” said Gumpert. “A host of public decisions made across time by both private citizens, public officials and powerful economic interests produce this final product, so there are a lot of actors who could be recognized for this achievement. Hence we choose to recognize the city as whole”
“We can also point to support for walkable neighborhoods like historic Old Town or the newly redeveloped West Loop and new initiatives in creating public art along a revitalized State Street. The sponsorship of dozens of events that bring Chicagoans and visitors together such as Taste of Chicago and Lollapalooza are also important.” said Gumpert. The re-routing of Lake Shore Drive and the creation of the Museum Campus as a pedestrian friendly space is a notable example. In addition, there are also infrastructure initiatives that will change how the city is to be rebuilt. One such project is the Bloomingdale Trail, an undertaking to turn an abandoned railroad right-of-way into an urban park.
Third, a Communicative City encourages participation in planning and policymaking, providing opportunities for collaboration and public participation. “The recently announced Chicago Cultural Plan, which asked citizens to help make decisions about public space, is an example of collaborative and progressive planning”, said Gumpert. This city commissioned initiative, the first cultural plan in 25 years, has involved extensive collaboration among city agencies, non-profit facilities, the city’s cultural institutions and the general public.
Chicago has been in the forefront of utilizing new technology to engage the public. A quick review of the city’s website provides an example of how a municipal website can serve its residents. In 1999, Chicago became the first U.S. city to create a comprehensive 311 system giving the public immediate and direct action to a number of agencies and services. All city agencies have been encouraged to look into technology as a means of connecting with the public. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel has named a city Chief Technology Officer, John Tolva, to oversee all of the city’s innovative technological programs.
“We know that Chicago is not alone in facing major social and economic issues, but we believe that Chicago will continue to build on its achievements and strive to maintain a strong, open communication system when residents, public officials and influential economic interests decide what to build, what to tear down, what to support, and how to create a livable city with a high quality of life,” said Gumpert."
Recipent: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
For Immediate Release
The Urban Communication Foundation is pleased to announce that the 2104 recipient of the Communicative Cities™ Award is the City of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The award is based on examining a number of criteria that improve the quality and frequency of human communication in urban areas. These criteria include:
Places of Interaction: accessible public spaces and a climate of social interaction;
Infrastructure: access to broadband, the availability of government provided information and clear communication channels between a city’s government and its citizens; and
Politics/Civil Society: clear processes that encourage civic engagement and provide for municipal transparency.
The award committee unanimously recommended Amsterdam and ranked the city exceptionally high in all of the categories. The award stresses not only these criteria, but also the promotion of a special initiative that embodies the criteria. In the case of Amsterdam, there were several relevant programs to consider but one in particular stood out, Amsterdam World Jazz City 2014. As noted by UCF President Gary Gumpert in announcing the award, “Ultimately, the innovative World Jazz City initiative was an outstanding program that captured the principles at the heart of the communicative city.” On Oct 15 2015 UCF President Gumpert and Board Secretary Susan Drucker presented the award to Mayor E. E. van den Laan at a ceremony in the Amsterdam City Hall. As part of the award, the Urban Communication Foundation will sponsor future panel discussions with American and Dutch urban researchers, planners, and architects. One event will be in New York City in March 2015 and co-sponsored by The Netherlands Consulate General in New York. A related program will be held in April 2015 in Amsterdam. The Foundation will also provide research support for collaborative projects
The first Communicative Cities™ Award was given to the City of Chicago in 2012. In November 2015, a panel with artists, planners, and journalists was held at The Art Institute of Chicago as part of the Foundation’s ongoing relationship with its awards and grants recipients.
The award is given at the discretion of the UCF Board. For more information Contact us.
The Urban Communication Foundation periodically honors distinguished writers and their messages to both inspire and guide present and future urban journalists and scholars.
2013: Neil Peirce, Journalist
On August 9th, 2013, at the annual Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication conference in Washington DC, the Urban Communication Foundation presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to the chairman of the CitiStates Group Neil R. Peirce. Peirce is being honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award because of his “distinguished and extraordinary leadership as a journalist with an urban vision”.
2012: Paul Gapp, Architecture Critic and Journalist
In August 2012, the Urban Communication Foundation granted a Lifetime Achievement Award to the late Chicago Tribune journalist Paul Gapp (1928-1992) for architectural criticism that won him and the Tribune the 1979 Pulitzer Prize.
Paul Gapp won his Pulitzer for columns he wrote in 1978 when he took readers on a critical paper “tour” of the city’s 46 official landmarks and historic sites. The Tribune praised Gapp’s work for its “Vision. Imagination. Taste. Experience” and “An abiding concern for the city’s environmental destiny” with his “even handed, reasoned judgments with a style that’s selectively scalding, often witty, always incisive and never excessively technical.” Gapp did “not hesitate to call the most prestigious architects and their clients to account before the bar of civic excellence,” according to Carl Condit, Northwestern University professor of art history, who said Gapp’s “writings place him in the highest tradition of American journalism.”
Gapp was born in Cleveland and graduated from Ohio University with a BS degree in journalism. He worked for the Columbus Dispatch (1950-1956) and later for the Chicago Daily News (1956-1966), where he was a reporter, feature editor, and editorial writer. He also directed the Urban Journalism Fellowship Program at the University of Chicago and was the executive director for the Chicago Chapter and the Illinois Council of the American Institute of Architects.
2011: George McCue, Urban Design Critic and Author
The Urban Communication Foundation honored the journalistic legacy of the late George McCue (1910-2003) at the 2011 Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication conference in St. Louis with the presentation of a posthumous lifetime achievement award.
An honorary member of the American Institute of Architects, George McCue was the urban design critic for the St. Louis Post Dispatch from 1966-1975. In 1967 Time Magazine named McCue as a prominent urban critic with a “civic conscience,” and credited him with bringing St. Louis architects, artists, and city planners together. He was recognized by the magazine Architecture in 1989 as one of the few newspaper journalists “who gave a large part of their time to consideration of architecture and urban design,” and credited as one of the “people behind the comeback of St Louis.”
2008: Grady Clay, Urban Analyst and Author
Grady Clay, 91, the first urban affairs editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal, and editor for 23 years of Landscape Architecture magazine, past president of the American Society of Planning Officials (now American Planning Association) and jury chairman for the Viet Nam War Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. Clay was selected for his work as a distinguished urban observer-critic and “extraordinary scholar/journalist who has written about the city for many years”.
Grady Clay is a unique journalist/scholar/critic sensitive to the changing nature of the urban landscape. He pioneered the recognition of the inherent connection of design, architecture, quality of life and communication technology. He is a voice to be returned to and heard at a time of the increasing globalization of urban/suburban space. Clay’s books include Close-Up: How to Read the American City (1973); Alleys: A Hidden Resource (1978); Right Before Your Eyes: Penetrating the Urban Environment (1987); and Real Places: An Unconventional Guide to America’s Generic Landscape (1994).
He also contributed to landmark urban anthologies: The Exploding Metropolis (1958) and The Changing Metropolis (1969), and has written for Fortune, The New York Times, Architectural Forum, Horizon, Southern Living, House and Home, House Beautiful, Ekistics, and many other publications. Clay also provided weekly public radio commentary in his “Crossing the American Grain” at WFPL-Louisville, and he originated and directed a TV documentary called “Unknown Places.”
2005: William Mitchell, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
William Mitchell (1944-2010) was given the first Urban Communication Foundation Special Achievement Award for his lifetime achievements in urban scholarship exemplified by his book City of Bits: Space, Place and Infobahn (1995).
Mitchell held the Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr. (1954) Professorship and directed the Media Lab’s Smart Cities research group. He was formerly Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning and Head of the Program in Media Arts and Sciences, both at MIT.
Among his other important works are Placing Words: Symbols, Space, and the City (MIT Press, 2005);Me++: The Cyborg Self and the Networked City (MIT Press, 2003); and e-topia: Urban Life, Jim—But Not As We Know It, (MIT Press, 1999).