IDA Awards Top Industry Honour to Argyle and Grafton Shared Streetscape

October 25/18
IDA Awards Top Industry Honour to Argyle and Grafton Shared Streetscape


The International Downtown Association recognized 65 urban innovators as winners of the Downtown Achievement Awards which identify outstanding improvements to urban centres by dedicated organizations around the globe. The winning organizations represent nearly 50 cities in the U.S., Canada, U.K., New Zealand and South Africa. The top eight projects received Pinnacle Awards, the industry’s highest honour, representing the most creative and inspiring innovations in urban place management.

IDA received a record-breaking 80+ submissions in 2018 as urban areas around the world are experiencing a remarkable renaissance. These organizations are on the front lines of solving challenges related to placemaking, economic development, urban planning, and branding. The winning projects are selected from six categories, including downtown leadership and management; economic and business development; events and programming; marketing and communications; planning; and public space.

Halifax’s Argyle & Grafton Shared Streetscape project was the first of its kind in Atlantic Canada and revitalizes the entertainment district of Downtown Halifax. The goal was to create a flexible plaza-like environment that prioritizes pedestrians over cars on three city blocks. The curbless design promoted a pedestrian-oriented streetscape by slowing traffic, removing on-street parking in favour of pedestrian space, supporting local businesses with year-round patios and the economic benefit to the broader region. The streetscape fosters social interactions through public amenities and art to reinforce Argyle and Grafton Streets as a destination.

“This international award validates the vision, hard work, and perseverance of so many people who recognized the opportunity to redesign and reimagine Halifax’s entertainment district,” said Mayor Mike Savage. “Congratulations to everyone who shared the work of making it happen.”

“This was a community-based project from start to finish,” said Paul MacKinnon, Executive Director with Downtown Halifax Business Commission. “The initial design was community-led. The prioritization of this project was a result of the input of a strategic urban partnership. The pilot project with the painting of the Argyle Street in 2015 was led by Downtown Halifax Business Commission. The overall streetscape project was led by and funded by the Halifax Regional Municipality. The final design was done by Ekistics, a local design firm, and the ongoing construction mitigation was a partnership between the municipality and DHBC.”

“These innovative projects set an outstanding example for cities around the world,” said David Downey, IDA President and CEO. “IDA members continue to champion livable, vital and thriving urban centers. Each of these projects has made its particular city a better place for the people who live and work there.”

Winners of this year’s Pinnacle Awards are:

  • Downtown Halifax Business Commission; Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada – Argyle & Grafton Shared Streetscape Project
  • Downtown Norfolk Council; Norfolk, Virginia – Selden Market
  • Downtown Tucson Partnership; Tucson, AZ – DTP Connects
  • Glebe Business Improvement Association; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada – Glebe Spree 150
  • Golden Triangle Business Improvement District; Washington, DC – Artwork from Burning Man in collaboration with Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery
  • Hartford Business Improvement District; Hartford, CT – Getting' Diggy With It: The Power of Non-Traditional Construction Signage
  • Louisville Downtown Partnership; Louisville, KY – Alley Gallery
  • Ville de Montréal; Montréal, Quebec, Canada – Bonaventure Projet: From Expressway to Promenade

IDA’s members have a proven track record of creating collaborative public-private partnerships to tackle weighty issues. More than 2,500 downtown management districts exist in cities throughout the U.S. and Canada. Place management organizations affect significant change in every major metropolitan area in North America in an industry that is growing rapidly around the globe. Place management work touches every discipline of city building, including economic development, branding, event activation, urban planning, beautification and public safety.

The 2018 Downtown Achievement Awards are sponsored by ABM, Inc. A complete list of award winners is available online.

About IDA:

IDA is the premier organization for urban place professionals who are shaping and activating dynamic city center districts. Our members are city builders and downtown champions who bring urban centers to life, bridging the gap between the public and private sectors. We represent an industry of more than 2,500 place management organizations, employing 100,000 people throughout North America and growing rapidly around the world. Founded in 1954, IDA is a resource center for ideas and innovative best practices in urban place management. For more information, visit Learn more about the 64th Annual Conference & Tradeshow at