Book Submission Deadline: October 1, 2021
Award decision: January 11, 2022

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.

General 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.

Guidelines Specific to the 2022 Best Book Award

  • A book must have a copyright of 2020 or 2021.
  • Due to postal handling risks and delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, UAA will only accept digital copies of nominated books.
  • The digital copy must be submitted no later than by October 1, 2021 via the online Best Book Award Nomination & Digital Book Submission Form.

Award Benefits

The award recipient receives a plaque, an honorarium of $500, complimentary conference registration (valued at $400+), and $500 in travel support. The plaque and honorarium will be presented at the annual Awards Luncheon held during the spring conference. Following the conference, a press release will be prepared announcing the winner.

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 (valued at $400+).

Nomination Instructions

To nominate a book, ask the author or publisher to submit a digital copy (i.e. PDF) of the book via the Best Book Award Nomination & Digital Book Submission Form, no later than October 1, 2021. Only books meeting the stated eligibility guidelines, and that are received by the nomination deadline, will be given consideration. We will begin accepting book nominations and digital copy submissions by July 1.

Award Selection Process

A committee of UAA members selected by the Governing Board Chair will make the award decision. The UAA Executive Office informs the recipient of the award decision.


Please contact the UAA Executive Office at

Previous Winners

Jennifer Clark
Uneven Innovation: The Work of Smart Cities
Columbia University Press
Award Press Release

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
Award Press Release

The Color of Money Book

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

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

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

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
Award Press Release

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

University Of Chicago Press, 2013
Award Press Release

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

Cornell University Press, 2014
Award Press Release

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