National Planning Awards 2010

APA's National Planning Excellence, Leadership, and Achievement Awards recognize the best planning efforts and individuals.

Winners Slide Show

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National Planning Awards

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National Planning Excellence Awards

Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan

City of San Diego General Plan

San Diego, California

The City of San Diego General Plan (2008) sets out a long-range vision and policy framework for how the city should plan for growth, provide public services, and maintain the qualities that define San Diego. It was structured to work in concert with the city's 40-plus community plans and is part of a regional and statewide smart growth strategy.

The plan includes the City of Villages smart growth strategy to focus growth into mixed-use villages that are pedestrian-friendly districts, of different scales, and linked to the transit system. The plan addresses protections for industrial lands, provisions for urban parks, "toolboxes" to implement mobility strategies, and policies to further the preservation of San Diego's historical resources. It also reaffirms the city's long history of protecting open space lands.

View the City of San Diego General Plan

National Planning Excellence Award for a Best Practice

Indianapolis Regional Center Design Guidelines

Indianapolis, Indiana

The Regional Center encompasses 6.5 square miles and functions as the "downtown" for the City of Indianapolis. Hoping to maintain its reputation for well-designed urban spaces and achieve a more livable community, the Indianapolis Regional Design Guidelines provide a community standard for urban design. The guidelines support five design principles: mobility; health, safety and opportunity; adaptability and sustainability; the public realm; and character and vitality. The guidelines are directly related to the Regional Center Plan 2020 goals and priorities.

Designed to promote creativity, diversity, and local heritage, the guidelines are intended to protect stakeholder investments by maintaining downtown Indianapolis as an efficient, sustainable, and vital place to live, work, and spend free time. The written guidelines also provide a valuable resource on the goals of the city for developers, architects, other designers, and staff.

Learn more about the Indianapolis Regional Center

View the Regional Center Design Guidelines (pdf)

National Planning Excellence Award for Implementation

Campus Partners' University District Revitalization

Columbus, Ohio

Campus Partners is a university-led partnership that has succeeded in revitalizing the economically and racially diverse district around Ohio State University. OSU formed Campus Partners in 1995 with an independent mission and board responsible to stakeholders beyond its university to address physical, social, and environmental issues facing an entire urban district with a population of 40,000.

The "smart growth" agenda — aimed at reviving the district's neighborhoods as places of choice — has three core goals: pursuit of a fully inclusive planning process involving the city, residents, and community groups; introduction of new amenities and housing to attract the university community back to the district; and promotion of social equity by improving quality of life and economic opportunity for all residents. Campus Partners has leveraged more than $150 million in investment in district neighborhoods, including renovation and development of roughly 1,000 housing units of Section 8, affordable, and market-rate housing; redevelopment of a large brownfield site; a new police station; new public elementary school; and OSU's new early-childhood learning center.

View the Campus Partners Website

National Planning Excellence Award for Public Outreach

Wicker Park Bucktown Master Plan

Chicago, Illinois

Wicker Park and Bucktown (WPB), two Chicago neighborhoods facing rapid change, were at risk of losing their beloved "grittiness" and "edge." The neighborhoods have long been home to a mix of immigrants and a thriving underground culture fueled by local artists, musicians, writers, and other creators. The plan's challenge was to preserve and enhance the qualities that make the area distinctly WPB and to balance the needs and desires of residents, visitors, and businesses.

The plan's outreach was tailored to fit WPB's personality. Humorous attention-getting posters, videos, a photo suggestion box, and a do-it-yourself budgeting exercise engaged residents in the planning process. Residents could also record memories or future wishes for the community at a sound-proof booth. The result was honest public input that yielded a comprehensive, unique, and high-quality master plan that reinforces the community's collective values and goals — to drive less, bike more, buy local, go green, honor the past, welcome a progressive future, and do so as a unified community.

View a Flickr photo stream from the WPB Master Plan process

View a video about the WPB Open House

View the Wicker Park Bucktown Master Plan (pdf)

National Planning Excellence Award for Innovation in Best Practices for Sustainability

Hilltop Hanover, A Westchester County Farm and Environmental Center

Westchester County, New York

Hilltop Hanover was previously a 180-acre dairy farm that was turned into a farm and environmental center to educate the residents of Westchester County about sustainable agriculture and environmentally sensitive practices. Acquisition of the old dairy farm also preserved open space and protected a public drinking water supply watershed.

Programs offered at Hilltop Hanover are designed to expand awareness of the environmental impacts of human activity, offer alternatives to existing practices and demonstrate practical methods for implementing new strategies. Demonstration projects such as green roofs, rain barrels, and composting toilets are used to educate the public on how to create a more sustainable community and decrease carbon footprints. Seventy percent of the produce (7,000 pounds) harvested at Hilltop Hanover is distributed to local food pantries, and the education center employs developmentally disabled adults from a nearby adult day care program.

Hilltop Hanover is managed and operated by the Westchester County Department of Planning, which envisioned using it as a tool to physically demonstrate many of the county's sustainability goals.

View a map of Hilltop Hanover (pdf)

Visit Hilltop Hanover's website

National Planning Landmark Award

Plan for the Valleys

Baltimore County, Maryland

In the early 1960s, the Green Spring and Worthington Valleys, a rural region of Baltimore County, Maryland, was facing intense urbanization pressure. The community had the foresight to realize that if uncontrolled, the growth would surely wipe out the historic character and natural amenity of the area. The Plan for the Valleys, prepared by WMRT (now WRT), is the first long-range development plan based on the application of principles of ecological determinism.

Ian McHarg developed a philosophic approach to the planning problem based on two assumptions. First, there exists an essential landscape quality which must be recognized and understood as a guide to the form and location of future growth. Second, planning is a process of posing alternatives, weighing them against each other and against a basic value system shared by the community.

The approach to ecological design and growth management represents a pioneering effort to direct growth away from sensitive ecological features such as the valley floors, steep slopes, woodlands, and fertile soils through a combination of growth boundaries, restricted sewer and water expansion, conservation design, and restrictive zoning that remains progressive to this day.

National Planning Achievement Awards

Advancing Diversity & Social Change (Paul Davidoff Award)

Dr. Jane Clough-Riquelme, SANDAG Tribal Liaison

San Diego, California

Dr. Jane Clough-RiquelmeThe Reservation Transportation Authority (RTA), a nonprofit intertribal government agency serving its member tribes in southern California, started working with the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) to strengthen liaison activities and tribal involvement in regional planning, especially transportation planning. As the tribal liaison, Jane Clough-Riquelme has been instrumental in facilitating the involvement of the 17 federally recognized tribal nations in the San Diego area in the regional planning process. Her work has resulted in the increased mobility of tribal communities through the creation of key institutional mechanisms for coordination in SANDAG, the development of a collaborative planning agenda, supporting RTA's pursuit of funding sources, and technical assistance in the implementation of tribal transportation projects involving multiple agencies for the benefit of all tribal nations in the region.

Through Clough-Riquelme's efforts, the intertribal council, the Southern California Tribal Chairmen's Association, signed a historic agreement to join the SANDAG Board and Policy Advisory Committees as advisory members — marking the first tribal membership in the regional planning agency.

Map of the tribal areas in San Diego (pdf)

View the SANDAG and Tribal Governments Working Together Fact Sheet (pdf)

Read the RTA Tribal Transportation Demand Management Project Report (pdf)

National Planning Achievement Award for a Hard-Won Victory

New Orleans City Park — From Devastation to Recovery

New Orleans, Louisiana

The 1,300-acre City Park, located in the heart of New Orleans, welcomed more than 11 million visitors annually because of its fine art and natural splendor. Hurricane Katrina left behind $43 million in damage — flooding the park with eight feet of water, destroying more than 2,000 trees, and damaging or destroying more than 120 buildings. The park had operating funds for only six months.

The park's recently adopted master plan, Vision for the 21st Century, became the organizing feature for recovery efforts. The recovery plan focused on cleaning up debris, reopening revenue generating facilities, pursuing an ambitious public and private fund-raising effort, and using the new master plan to organize the recovery. More than 25,000 volunteers invested over 125,000 hours in the recovery efforts. The City Park has repaired, renovated, or rebuilt the majority of its athletic and cultural facilities. More than 1,500 new trees have been planted. Two miles of bicycle paths have been built and roadways repaired and resurfaced. City Park officials also lobbied for an increase in public operating support. The park's recovery is one of the success stories of the City of New Orleans.

New Orleans City Park Master Plan: Vision for the 21st Century — City Park 2018 (pdf)

View the New Orleans City Park Master Plan presentation (ppt)

HUD Secretary's Opportunity and Empowerment Award

Enterprise Green Communities
Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.

Columbia, Maryland

The Enterprise Green Communities initiative was launched in September 2004 and is a national green building program focused entirely on affordable housing.  The initiative provides financing, funding, and expertise to enable developers to build or rehabilitate homes that are environmentally sustainable without compromising affordability.

The Enterprise Green Community Criteria offer: an integrated design process; smart site location and consideration of the neighborhood fabric; site improvements; water conservation; energy efficiency; use of materials beneficial to the environment; creating a healthy living environment; and operations and maintenance cost savings. Since 2004, Enterprise has invested $700 million to create 15,800 green affordable homes in 350 developments in 30 states.

Enterprise Green Communities

Incremental Cost, Measurable Savings: Enterprise Green Communities Criteria

National Planning Leadership Awards

National Planning Leadership Award for a Planning Advocate

Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Constance M. Kepert

Farmingville, New York

Constance M. KepertA tireless supporter of planning, Brookhaven Town Councilwoman (District 4) Constance M. Kepert is a firm believer in the benefits planning can bring to all communities. She has supported and worked towards making high-quality planning a community and town priority as both an executive officer of civic organizations and as an elected official.

Kepert was instrumental in the creation and passage of the Middle Country Road Land Use Plan that provided for revitalization of the Coram, Middle Island, and Ridge area of District 4 through the use of concentrated commercial development and transition zoning. She also was able to convince the New York State Department of Transportation not to widen the main thoroughfare through the district, but instead transform it into a pedestrian-friendly street according to the plan.

Her efforts have illustrated that community-driven planning is the best way to provide vision for the future betterment of communities. She has empowered community members to trust in their ability to affect change and demand good planning.

Middle Country Road Land Use Plan for Coram, Middle Island & Ridge

National Planning Leadership Award for a Student Planner

Taryn Hanano

San Jose State University
San Jose, California

Taryn HananoTaryn Hanano has exemplified exceptional scholarship and ongoing commitment to advancing the visibility and recognition of the urban planning profession through her education and professional endeavors. As a full-time graduate student at San Jose State University's Urban and Regional Planning Department, Hanano has maintained an impressive GPA of 3.93, while working full time.

As a graduate student, Hanano was instrumental in supporting the university and its students. She served as president of the APA Planning Student Organization and the Urban Planning Coalition, and was on the board of the APA California Chapter Northern Section, representing the interests of fellow San Jose State University students. She helped establish a program that provided partial airfare reimbursement for 10 students to attend the 2008 APA National Planning Conference.

As a Planner I for the City of Fremont, Hanano's hometown, she has worked on updating the city's Housing Element, acting as the lead project planner and producing the final element for adoption by the City's Planning Commission and City Council. Hanano felt that resident involvement in the general plan was crucial to its success.

National Planning Leadership Award for a Distinguished Contribution

William E. Borah

New Orleans, Louisiana

William E. BorahLand use planning in New Orleans has traditionally been described as "planning by surprise." Citizens and neighborhood organizations have attempted to change the city's planning processes for years, but have had limited success. Inspiration for change came from one of the country's most significant natural disasters, Hurricane Katrina. The damage from the hurricane and its aftermath was the necessary catalyst to motivate the city's citizens. On November 4, 2008, voters approved the Home Rule Charter Amendments, which require the city to prepare a master plan with the force of law.

One of the major forces advocating for this change was William E. Borah, a New Orleans-based land use attorney and member of Smart Growth for Louisiana. Borah drafted the initial proposed charter amendment, sought comment from planning experts around the country, and organized a support campaign. Colleagues from around the country attribute the passage of the amendment to Borah's unwavering persistence.

View the Home Rule Charter Amendments (pdf)

Legislators of the Year

U.S. Sen. Thomas Carper


Sen. Thomas Carper's work within the U.S. Senate illustrates his commitment to good planning, environmental protection, and transportation choices. As Chairman of the Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security Subcommittee, Sen. Carper has been the leading champion in Congress for the Census Bureau. Maintaining access to such essential data is critical to good planning. His unyielding work on climate change and on CLEAN-TEA has built a much-needed foundation for future comprehensive climate legislation.

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter


Congressman Ed Perlmutter's outstanding leadership in the House of Representatives exemplifies his strong commitment to good planning and green energy. Rep. Perlmutter's hard work and determination helped ensure passage of the GREEN Act that highlighted the importance of green communities, including green jobs and green industry. As a sponsor of the Livable Communities Act, Rep. Perlmutter has worked hard to keep this legislation moving forward. The legislation underscores the importance of not only planning but also the important role of comprehensive plans.

AICP Student Project Awards

The 2010 AICP Student Project Awards jury was chaired by Robert E. Blanchard, AICP.

Applied Research

Risk and Vulnerability Assessment in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Submitted by: Graduate Program in Community and Regional Planning, School of Architecture, University of Texas at Austin

Team Members: David Baumann, Monica Bosquez, Meredith Bossin, Erin E. Daley, Rosa E. Donoso, Maritza Kelley, Solange Muñoz, Dana Stovall, Shawn M. Strange, Martin Thomen

This project was part of a long-term service-learning program focusing on risk and vulnerability mitigation in slum settlements in the Dominican Republic. Students found that flooding in Los Platanitos, a dense settlement located in a narrow canyon in Santo Domingo Norte (SDN), is exacerbated by lack of a sewage system, unreliable municipal waste collection, and expansion of impermeable surfaces in surrounding neighborhoods. Their attention to comprehensive planning principles allowed them to develop planning strategies that take into account broader, social and political-economic factors.

Final project report: El Rincón de los Olvidados (pdf) (8MB)

Application of the Planning Process

St. Claude in Common

Submitted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies and Planning

Team Members: Andrew Amey, John Arroyo, Leila Bozorg, Liz Chimienti, Gayle Christiansen, Laura Delgado, Tamika Gauvin, Sarah Hammitt, Gerald Hunter, Uyen Le, Marianna Leavy-Sperounis, Sandra Padilla, Lakshmi Sridaran, Julie Stein

The St. Claude Avenue Main Street District in New Orleans is a commercial corridor along St. Claude Avenue between Elysian Fields Avenue and Press Street once vibrant and known for its furniture stores, historic seafood market and social clubs. It has struggled to come back since Hurricane Katrina and many shops and houses now sit vacant. Students and faculty worked with the St. Claude Avenue Main Street organization to draft a revitalization plan based on economic development, community engagement and urban design. Community engagement from all four surrounding neighborhoods was a crucial part of the visioning and planning process. The final plan, St. Claude in Common, integrates opportunities for economic development, community engagement and urban design with the goal of revitalizing the district, attracting new businesses and better serving residents and visitors.

St. Claude in Common Final Plan (pdf) (23MB)

Contribution of Planning to a Contemporary Issue

No Vacancy! Exploring Temporary Use of Empty Space in the Central Eastside Industrial District

Submitted by: Portland State University, Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning

Team Members: Becky Dann, Beth Somerfield, Briana Meier, Emily Rice

This project investigated the potential to enliven Portland's Central Eastside Industrial District (CEID) by activating vacant spaces with temporary uses, an emerging concept in planning that has particular relevance to today's economic climate. Students worked in partnership with the Central Eastside Industrial Council (CEIC) and explored the applicability of this concept by developing a precedent study, performing a regulatory and land use analysis of the CEID, and conducting interviews and focus groups with property owners, potential space users, and technical advisors. The students also organized two events which brought together CEID property owners and potential users of vacant spaces and found that that temporary projects emerge from relationships and networks. The strength of organizations that support temporary projects and the relevance of regulations can be critical to the feasibility of many projects.

Final project report: No Vacancy! (pdf) (2MB)

Guide to Creating Temporary Projects in the Central Eastside Industrial District (pdf) (3MB)

Project website

Journal of American Planning Association Award

In recognition of the best contribution during the year to the scholarly journal of APA. David Sawicki, FAICP, chaired the committee that selected the article.

"Aging Baby Boomers and the Generational Housing Bubble: Foresight and Mitigation of an Epic Transition"

v. 74,1, Winter 2008.
Dowell Myers and Sungho Ryu

The article explores what will happen to housing when 77 million baby boomers retire. The authors demonstrated how much the ratio of seniors to working age residents will shift in every state between 2010 and 2030. This article successfully links outstanding analysis to meaningful policy implications for planners.


The 2010 National Planning Awards Jury was chaired by Marie L. York, FAICP, president of York Solutions, LLC, and associate director of the Center for Building Better Communities at the University of Florida. York also is a member of the APA Board of Directors.

The jurors included: Terry J. Blakeman, AICP, planner for the City of Champaign, Illinois; S. Gail Goldberg, AICP, planning director of Los Angeles, California; Leslie S. Pollock, FAICP, principal consultant and co-founder of Camiros Ltd.; Joel P. Schnieder, AICP, Environmental Planning Group, Salt Lake City, Utah; Robert E. Sullivan, AICP, planning director of the Village of Orland Park, Illinois; and Ronald Thomas, AICP, planning consultant for Ron Thomas & Co.

2010 Awards Jury Biographies