National group honors Norton Commons for excellent design

Norton Commons in Louisville. (Courtesy of Norton Commons)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The 600-acre community of Norton Commons has won a Charter Award from the Congress for the New Urbanism, which announced the winners of its 19th annual Charter Awards recently. Regarded as the preeminent award for excellence in urban design, the CNU Charter Awards honor a select number of winners and honorable mentions that embody and advance the principles of the Charter of the New Urbanism.

The 2019 awards recognize architecture, planning, development and landscape design that offers choices for affordable housing, a lively mix of uses and public space in a wide variety of settings. The winners — located in 11 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico; as well in Hong Kong, China, England, and Mexico — will be announced June 14 at a ceremony at the Ali Center in Louisville.

The ceremony occurs during CNU’s annual Congress, a 4-day event where 1,500-plus people discuss, debate, engage and advance innovations and strategies in city- and town-building.

Norton Commons was first conceived in 1997 when sprawl was poised to overtake the Norton family farm in Louisville Metro. Master planning was led by Andrés Duany of DPZ CoDESIGN, with design development and Town Architect review under the direction of Michael Watkins Architect, LLC.

The developer, Traditional Town, LLC, began construction of the 600-acre farm in 2003 and is now in the later phases of building. From its inception, Norton Commons was immensely popular, capturing 15 to 30 percent of annual new home sales in the metro area, with more than 40 percent during the mortgage crisis of 2008. Norton Commons also fulfilled its promise as a regional destination for retail, culture and events, not only for people who live in the community.

“More than a study, more than an idea, Norton Commons is an example of the Great American Small Town, modeling a better place to live for the citizens of Louisville,” said Charles Cash, former director of the Louisville Metro Planning and Design Services.

Norton Commons is among eight Charter Awards this year. The jury also awarded five Merit Awards and four student awards. In addition, the jury gave a special award to recognize the long-term, transformative influence of Seaside, Fla., on the New Urbanism movement, as expressed through the completion of the Phases Two and Three of the Lyceum complex, a central public space, cultural and educational center at the heart of the community.

“How a place is designed fundamentally shapes people’s lives,” said Lynn Richards, president and CEO of CNU. “That’s a profound responsibility, and Charter Award-winning designers like the Norton Commons team take it seriously.”

Members of The Congress for the New Urbanism help create vibrant and walkable cities, towns and neighborhoods where people have diverse choices for how they live, work and get around. People want to live in well-designed places that are unique and authentic. CNU’s mission is to help people build those places.

Our 2,600 members are diverse global thought-leaders on design, development, policy, implementation and activism. They work in communities across the world — from major urban centers to historic small towns. From our annual Congress to our strategic policy initiatives, CNU connects and empowers the professionals, leaders, advocates and citizens building places where people and businesses can thrive and prosper.

For a full list of winners, please see this link: https://www.cnu.org/news/announcing-2019-charter-awards.

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