Urban Design Committee

The Urban Design Committee provides advisory services to city government on the design of city-owned buildings and other public projects, major public/private developments, and any private projects constructed on city right of way or other city property. The Committee's intent is to make sure that new public facilities are exemplary -- that they provide functional and aesthetically pleasing facilities for the public, and model good design for the private sector.


The Urban Design Committee meets on the first Tuesday of the month at 3:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers of the County/City Building, except when noted.


The Urban Design Committee will hold a meeting on Tuesday, July 9, 2024, at 3:00 p.m. in the County-City Building, 555 S. 10th Street, Lincoln, Nebraska in City Council Chambers on the 1st floor. For more information, contact the Planning Department at 402-441-7491.


JULY 9, 2024

View or download the full Agenda.(PDF, 8MB)


1.  Approval of UDC meeting record of  June 4 , 2024(PDF, 91KB).


2. Addition of Constellation Studios at S 21st and E O St.(PDF, 8MB)UDR24093Final Action

3. Downtown Corridors Phase 1 Design – Final Action

4. Bison Witches – Proposal for a new enclosure. – Discussion


ACCOMMODATION NOTICE: The City of Lincoln complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 guidelines. Ensuring the public’s access to and participating in public meetings is a priority for the City of Lincoln. In the event you are in need of a reasonable accommodation in order to attend or participate in a public meeting conducted by the City of Lincoln, please contact the Lincoln Commission on Human Rights at 402-441-7624, or the City Ombudsman at 402-441-7511, as soon as possible before the scheduled meeting date in order to make your request.


The Urban Design Committee is comprised of seven voting members.

Member Term Expires
Mark Canney 02/01/2027
Emily Deeker 02/01/2025
Jill Grasso 02/01/2026
Tom Huston 02/01/2027
Frank Ordia 02/01/2025
Gill Peace 02/01/2026
Michelle Penn 02/01/2026


The Urban Design Committee is governed by LMC Chapter 4.36: Urban Design Committee

Chapter 4.36 of the Lincoln Municipal Code provides for Aspects and Limitations of Review and Submission Guidelines. Applicants should refer to this document regarding project submittals: UDC Aspects and Limitations.(PDF, 124KB)

Special Design Districts

Urban Design is a focus within the larger realm of planning that emphasizes the physical form of the city and its visual and other sensory qualities. Excellence in urban design maintains and enhances the special "place-making" qualities of a city that provide its sense of identity. Urban Design emphasizes attractiveness as well as function, the appearance of buildings and how they are arranged as well as setbacks and parking requirements, and special care for the design and furnishing of public streets and other public spaces.

districts_250w.jpg(PDF, 602KB)

The Planning Department works to strengthen Lincoln's urban design quality in cooperation with three volunteer citizen design review boards. The Urban Design Committee has the broadest scope, advising city departments and the Mayor on a wide range of city and city-assisted projects. These include designs proposed for city buildings and other types of city-funded projects, and for private buildings and projects that are constructed with the city's financial assistance. The Historic Preservation Commission works with neighborhood groups, preservation advocates, property owners, and the State Historic Preservation Office to discover, protect, and share the community's heritage. In addition, the state and city together have recognized the special importance of the State Capitol building by establishing the Nebraska Capitol Environs Commission which is responsible for reviewing the design of buildings and public spaces in a defined area radiating out from the Capitol building.

Downtown Design Standards

The City has recognized certain other defined areas that deserve and receive special attention. The Downtown Design Standards express the community's expectations for new buildings and building alterations in the traditional central business district and nearby areas to the east (through the Telegraph District PUD) and west (through the South Haymarket Design Standards).

Neighborhood Design Standards

The Neighborhood Design Standards apply to new construction in the city's older (pre-1950) residential areas, and are intended to ensure that infill and redevelopment projects are generally compatible with the established character of these neighborhoods. The Neighborhood-Design-Standards-Sketchbook.pdf(PDF, 2MB) was developed to provide clarification and guidance when reviewing projects under these standards.

Archived Agendas and Minutes

The Larry Enersen Urban Design Award was instituted in 1984 by the Urban Design Committee. Named in memory of the Committee's inaugural chairman, a prominent Lincoln landscape architect and urban planner, the awards are intended to "promote public education and appreciation of urban design: by recognizing outstanding public and private projects".


The Urban Design Committee's Enersen Awards program has operated under three general guidelines:

  • One or two awards are given annually; if two, they generally recognizing contrasting projects - one public, one private; or one small-scale, one large-scale, etc.
  • Projects are located within the Lincoln city limits.
  • Projects should be completed in the year preceding the recognition, although some projects, such as those involving landscape design or other long-term efforts may require a few years to mature and be recognized as "completed".

In 2013, a jury including several alumni of the Committee was implemented to assist with the Enersen Award process. The jury screens and recommends projects to the Committee.

The Enersen Awards are presented as part of the Mayor's Arts Awards celebration, produced by the Lincoln Arts Council. Further information on the Mayor's Arts Awards can be found on the Lincoln Arts Council website.

The 2022 winner (awarded in 2023) of the Larry Enersen Urban Design Award was The Telegraph District.


The name honors the history of the Lincoln Telephone & Telegraph Company – a visionary communications business LTT.png venture that was launched in 1903. Designed as a multifunctional hub for living, working and exploration, the Telegraph District continues to introduce fresh developments. The area is now thriving and plans to integrate art elements to foster community growth and cohesion.  

Past Winners

Honor Roll of Winners(PDF, 139KB)