On Thursday, May 26th, The American Architectural Foundation (AAF) and the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) presented the 2016 Joseph P. Riley Jr. Award for Leadership in Urban Design  to the Honorable Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor of Baltimore at the 27th annual Accent on Architecture Gala  in Washington, D.C.
“Great leaders have a vision for their cities. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is one of those great leaders. Her vision for her city is one that is known, nationally and internationally, for its innovation and design. She embodies the goals of the Riley Award for Leadership in Urban Design,” said Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director, The United States Conference of Mayors.
AAF President and CEO Ron Bogle said on the announcement, “Working with city and state leaders, Mayor Rawlings-Blake has launched a multi-year, multi-hundred-million dollar initiative to address blight in Baltimore, declaring that a joint city-state partnership will bring significant resources to demolish thousands of vacant buildings and replace them with green space and a stronger foundation for redevelopment and reinvestment in the city. This is the bold and visionary leadership that will transform Baltimore and contribute to a brighter future for the city and all of its citizens.”
Mayor Rawlings-Blake was sworn in as Baltimore’s 49th mayor on February 4, 2010. In November 2011, she was elected to her first full term as Mayor, receiving 87% percent of the vote in the mayoral general election. Mayor Rawlings-Blake has focused her administration on growing Baltimore’s population by 10,000 families over the next decade by improving public safety and public education and by strengthening city neighborhoods.
In December 2015, Mayor Rawlings-Blake led a USCM delegation to the U.N. Climate Change Conference, COP 21, in Paris and called attention to how American mayors have been leading the fight against climate change in their cities.
Early in her administration Mayor Rawlings-Blake presented, Change to Grow: A Ten-Year Financial Plan for Baltimore, the City’s first long-range financial plan. The plan includes a bold set of major reforms that amount to the most significant changes to the way the City does business in generations. The plan would help achieve the Mayor’s goal to grow Baltimore by 10,000 families by eliminating a nine-year $750 Million structural budget deficit; allowing new investments in neighborhood infrastructure—including repairing roads and City facilities and rebuilding ten recreation centers; and providing a funding surge for the demolition of more than 4,000 vacant homes; all while reducing homeowner property taxes by more than 20% over the next ten years.
Mayor Rawlings-Blake has also worked to make Baltimore a welcoming city for immigrants. She signed a landmark executive order to protect new Americans from discrimination and increase access to public safety resources and City services for foreign-born city residents. In addition, Mayor Rawlings-Blake fought for a successful state-wide ballot initiative, known as the Dream Act, to provide in-state tuition rates and higher education opportunities for undocumented immigrant students that attended Maryland high schools.
The Honorable Joseph P. Riley Jr. accepted the award on Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s behalf.
About the Award 
The Honorable Joseph P. Riley Jr. served as Mayor of Charleston, SC, from 1975 – 2016. Under Mayor Riley’s leadership, Charleston developed nationally acclaimed affordable housing and experienced remarkable revitalization of its waterfront and historic downtown business district. Mayor Riley was a founding father of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design , a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the American Architectural Foundation and The United States Conference of Mayors.
Questions? Contact Vanessa Ofwono at VOfwono@archfoundation.org  or 202.787.1018.