Book Submission Deadline: September 11, 2019
Award decision: January 30, 2020

Since 1999, the Urban Affairs Association (UAA) has sponsored an award for the best book in the field of urban affairs/urban studies. From 1999-2015, the award was given on a biennial basis and focused on North American urban contexts. However, in 2016, the award became an annual opportunity, and the guidelines were revised to welcome books on any urban context in the world. The purpose of the award is to encourage high-quality research on urban issues and reward cogent writing on urban affairs. An announcement with deadlines will be made on this website each summer.

Eligibility Guidelines

  • To be eligible for the award, the book must address a significant issue in urban affairs or contribute to our understanding of urban issues and processes, and it must approach its topic in a scholarly fashion.
  • The book may have one or more urban contexts, and can be comparative or cross-national.
  • The book can be a theoretical argument, or it can be based on empirical research.
  • Its argumentative style should be systematic, non-polemical, and situated within a relevant literature.
  • Edited volumes, textbooks, dissertations, research reports, and journal articles are not eligible.
  • The book must be written or translated/republished in English.
  • A book can be nominated by its author(s), publisher, or by a member of UAA.
  • Previously nominated books can be re-nominated if they fulfill all other eligibility guidelines.

And for the 2020 Best Book Award:

  • A book must have a copyright of 2018 or 2019.
  • Seven (7) copies of the book must be received in the UAA Office by September 11, 2019.

Award Benefits

Each award is presented during the Awards and Recognition Luncheon held during the annual spring conference. The recipient(s) will receive a plaque, $500 honorarium, complimentary conference registration (valued at $400+), $500 in travel support, and an invitation to the annual VIP Dinner.

The award selection committee may choose to recognize another book(s) by giving Honorable Mention award(s). Each Honorable Mention award recipient will receive a conference registration waiver and an invitation to the annual VIP Dinner.


Nomination instructions:
Formal nomination letters are not required and are not used by the award selection committee. To nominate a book, contact the author or publisher to have seven (7) copies of the nominated book mailed to the UAA Office by the Nominations Deadline. Only books meeting the stated eligibility guidelines, and that are received by the nomination deadline, will be given consideration.  Books will not be returned to the author(s) or publisher. The seven (7) copies of the book must be sent to the Urban Affairs Association office at the address below. We will begin accepting book shipments as early as June 1.

Award Decision

A committee of UAA members selected by the Governing Board Chair will make the award decision. The deadline for the committee’s decision is January 30, 2020. The UAA Executive Office will contact the author(s) of the selected book as soon as possible after the decision has been made.

Use this address for the United States Postal Service:
Urban Affairs Association (Best Book Award)
c/o Urban Studies Program, UW-Milwaukee
Box 413, 2200 E. Kenwood Blvd
Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413

Use this address for United Parcel Service (UPS) or FedEx:
Urban Affairs Association (Best Book Award)
c/o Urban Studies Program, UW-Milwaukee
Bolton Hall, Room 702
3210 N Maryland Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53211

Questions regarding the award may be sent to:, or by contacting the UAA Executive Office by phone: +1-414-229-3025.

Previous Winners


Jessica Trounstine
Segregation by Design: Local Politics and Inequality in American Cities
Cambridge University Press
Award Press Release


Mehrsa Baradaran
The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap
Belknap Press

The Color of Money Book


Nikhil Anand
Hydraulic city: Water and the infrastructures of citizenship in Mumbai
Duke University Press


2018 (Honorable Mention)
Gavin Shatkin
Cities for profit: The real estate turn in Asia’s urban politics


Rachel Weber
From Boom to Bubble: How Finance Built the New Chicago.
The University of Chicago Press, 2015

2017 (Honorable Mention)
Robert Chaskin & Mark M. Joseph
Integrating the Inner City: The Promise and Perils of Mixed-Income Public Housing Transformation
The University of Chicago Press, 2015

Lawrence J. Vale
Purging the Poorest: Public Housing and the Design Politics of Twice-Cleared Communities

University Of Chicago Press, 2013

2015 (Honorable Mention)
Sonia Hirt
Zoned in the USA: The Origins and Implications of American Land-Use Regulation

Cornell University Press, 2014

Rachel Woldoff
White Flight/Black Flight: The Dynamics of Racial Change in an American Neighborhood
Cornell University Press, 2011

Japonica Brown-Saracino
A Neighborhood That Never Changes: Gentrification, Social Preservation, and the Search for Authenticity
University of Chicago Press, 2010

2011 (Honorable Mention)
Karen Bakker
Privatizing Water: Governance Failure and the World’s Urban Water Crisis
Cornell University Press, 2010

David Freund
Colored Property: State Policy and White Racial Politics in Suburban America
University of Chicago Press, 2007

Lance Freeman
There Goes the ‘Hood: Views of Gentrification from the Ground Up
Temple University Press, 2006

Robert O. Self
American Babylon: Race and the Struggle for Post War Oakland
Princeton University Press, 2003

Eric Klinenberg
Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago
University of Chicago Press, 2002

Lawrence Vale
From the Puritans to the Projects: Public Housing and Public Neighbors
Harvard University Press, 2000

Paul Jargowsky
Poverty and Place: Ghettos, Barrios, and the American City
Russell Sage Foundation Publications, 1998