Motherwell's "bland housing estates" were criticised by the judges
Motherwell could become the fourth town in Lanarkshire to be named the most dismal in Scotland in this year's Carbuncle Awards.
The town joins Glenrothes and New Cumnock as nominees for the infamous "Plook on the Plinth" award.
Coatbridge took the 2008 title, with Cumbernauld and Airdrie - the other Lanarkshire towns - named past winners.
The decision to grant permission for Donald Trump's Aberdeenshire golf resort is up for another Carbuncle.
It is one of four being considered in the worst planning decision category.
The other contenders are the decision to build 16,000 homes at Leith Docks, the Glasgow Harbour waterfront housing decision and Aberdeen's Union Square retail and travel hub.
The Carbuncles competition was set up by the architecture magazine Prospect in 2000 to provoke debate about the quality of development in many of Scotland's towns and cities.
Organisers said New Cumnock seemed to have been abandoned by its council
Gordon Young, the editor of Prospect, said: "We are not interested in simply criticising deprived areas which are dismal through no fault of their own.
"We believe the truly depressing places are the ones which could be great, but are stifled by a lack of imagination, creativity and passion.
"A primary criteria of the Carbuncles is that the towns shortlisted must have real potential, which local leaders for one reason or another are failing to exploit."
The shortlisted towns have all been visited by a panel of experts, with the public also urged to help pick the winner.
Motherwell suffered from "bland housing estates going up near the town centre", Mr Young said, arguing that these could "interfere with the natural rhythm of the place and perhaps threaten the town's future development".
He added: "It feels like somebody has simply dropped Motherwell.
Glenrothes' shopping centre was compared to a 1980s timewarp
"It has some nice fragments, but lacks logic in terms of how the whole thing fits together. The residents are being badly let down."
Mr Young said despite New Cumnock benefiting from excellent rail links and a heritage that links it to Robert Burns, the town's population had halved in recent years.
He said: "One senses that only the valiant efforts of a few members of the local community are preventing this town's total collapse."
Judges felt Glenrothes, unlike other New Towns, had failed to move with the times and said the town's Kingdom Centre felt like a 1980s timewarp.
Mr Young said this was "an example of how poor shopping centres used to be".
He added: "The real failing with this town centre is the lack of civic space."
The winners of the Carbuncle Awards will be announced on Thursday, and members of the public can have their say by voting online at www.architecturescotland.co.uk.