Omaha by Design Presents THE 2020 LAURELS AWARDS

Omaha by Design Presents THE 2020 LAURELS AWARDS

During a year that was anything but “normal,” the essential work of community-building has advanced with fresh urgency. At Omaha by Design, we are honored to work alongside and in service of those dedicated to building a more vibrant, livable city for all.

In the face of what could otherwise have been a lost year, we see immense progress.

We see you. The hard-working, awe-inspiring, never-stopping individuals and organizations who are pressing ahead, innovating to better serve others, and shaping our metro in inspiring ways.

For more than 15 years – and never more than now – THE LAURELS AWARDS have stood to recognize these exemplary contributions.

When the pandemic disrupted plans to celebrate this year’s honorees in a live, outdoor event, we did as we’ve all learned to do – we pivoted. And so, without further ado:

Omaha by Design proudly presents THE 2020 LAURELS AWARDS – Virtual Edition.

Special thanks to our Landmark Presenting Sponsor – Millwork Commons – for providing the dynamic backdrop for our winners to safely share a few words with you all.

So pull up a chair, grab a beverage, and enjoy this year’s program, brought to you in small video clips from the comfort of your home. We can’t wait to see you all again next year!

Nominations are submitted and winners selected by Omaha by Design’s Advisory Council. The Awards, their descriptions, and the 2020 honorees are as follows. Congratulations to all!


The Access & Mobility Award recognizes an individual, group, organization, or business that has worked to enhance the way we move around the city and how its neighborhoods connect to one another.

2020 Nominees:

  • 24th Street Complete Streets | City of Omaha Public Works & Creighton University
  • Heartland B-Cycle
  • North Omaha Trail | City of Omaha Planning Department & Papio-Missouri River NRD
  • Park Omaha

2020 Recipient, Access & Mobility Award:

Curt Simon | Former Executive Director, Metro Transit


The Environment & Open Space Award recognizes an individual, group, organization, or business that has worked to preserve or enhance the metro’s natural setting, park system, or open spaces.

2020 Nominees:

  • FIRST AVE Project | City of Council Bluffs Community Development Department
  • Floating Bridge at Standing Bear Lake | City of Omaha Parks & Recreation Department & Papio-Missouri River NRD
  • Pathways to Decarbonization | OPPD

2020 Recipient, Environment & Open Space Award:

Sacred Seed Pop-Up


The Neighborhood Revitalization Award recognizes an individual, organization or business that has worked to preserve or enhance a neighborhood within our region.

2020 Nominees:

  • Municipal Density & Missing Middle Housing Act | Nebraska State Senators Matt Hansen, Megan Hunt, Tony Vargas, & Justin Wayne
  • Park Avenue Neighborhood Plan | inCOMMON Community Development & RDG
  • Virtual Benson Block Talks | MAPA, Nebraska Dept of Transportation, City of Omaha & Benson Partners

2020 Recipient, Neighborhood Revitalization Award:

Little Bohemia | PJ Morgan Real Estate & Clarity Development


The Young Urbanist Award recognizes an individual, under the age of 45, who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to making our metro an even better place to live, work, and play.

2020 Nominees:

  • Maranda Adams | Vice President, Blair Freeman
  • Brandon Garrett | Director, Community Development, City of Council Bluffs
  • Will Grenne | Missing Middle Housing
  • Fiona Kennedy | Community Manager, Heartland B-Cycle
  • Ashley Kuhn | President, Blair Freeman
  • Jason Rose | Community Relations Manager, Metro Transit

2020 Recipient, Young Urbanist Award:

Meridith Dillon | The Sherwood Foundation


The Laurels Award, Omaha by Design’s highest honor, recognizes an individual, organization, or business for significant contributions in furthering people-centered urban design and policy.

2020 Nominees:

  • Millwork Commons | Black Dog Management
  • ORBT | Metro Transit
  • The Cottonwood Hotel | GreenSlate Development & Clarity Development

2020 Recipient, The Laurels Award:

Undesign the Redline | The Union for Contemporary Art

Nominations are submitted and winners selected by Omaha by Design’s Advisory Council. Congratulations to all!

Special thanks once again to our Landmark Presenting Sponsor, Millwork Commons. And to all our wonderful sponsors, without whom THE LAURELS AWARDS – and Omaha by Design’s work – would not be possible.

Stay safe, and we’ll see you again next year!