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ULI began the Awards for Excellence program in 1979 to recognize truly superior development efforts in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Winning projects represent the highest standards of achievement in the development industry—standards that ULI members deem worthy of attainment in their professional endeavors. Today the real estate and land use industry widely recognizes the ULI Global Awards for Excellence as one of its most prestigious awards programs.

The Awards for Excellence recognize the full development process of a project, not just its architecture or design—although these elements play an important role.

The Awards recognize both development projects and programs. Among projects, the Awards recognize a wide variety of product types, including office, residential, retail, industrial, hotel, mixed use, planned community, open space, and more. Programs are initiatives, processes, or policies that guide or enhance development.

A jury of ULI members chooses finalists and winners. Members of the jury are leaders who represent a broad geographic diversity and many areas of real estate and land use expertise, including finance, planning, development, public affairs, design, and professional services, among others.

From 2012 to 2019, the ULI Global Awards for Excellence honored development projects and programs from around the globe in a single competition. In 2021, projects and programs must first enter a regional award program. That means the ULI Awards for Excellence in the Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific regions serve as the first round for the 2021 ULI Global Awards for Excellence. Winners from the regional programs become finalists in the global awards.

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