Larry Enersen Urban Design Award
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 2017 winner (awarded in 2018) of the Larry Enersen Urban Design Award was the "Renovation of Centennial Mall".
Centennial Mall as designed by Larry Enersen and built for Nebraska's statehood centennial in 1967 transformed the seven blocks of 15th Street between the Capitol and UNL's City Campus.
Efforts in the late 1990s to redesign and rebuild all seven blocks failed. The Environs Commission pursued improvements and member Tom Laging provided images of concepts for a dignified, simplified, accessible Mall. A design team led by The Clark Enersen Partners and a public-private fundraising effort coordinated by the Lincoln Parks Foundation worked successfully to create the current Mall.
Nebraska's Centennial Mall draws its decorative vocabulary from the Capitol and its grounds. Three water features in operation during the warm season become pedestrian plazas when the fountains are turned off. Plaques along the "Spirit of Nebraska Pathways" provide abundant opportunities to tell the stories of Nebraska's history.