APA Launches Pilot Program to Recognize Comprehensive Plans

CHICAGO — Communities that have integrated sustainability into their comprehensive plan may now apply for recognition from the American Planning Association (APA). The new Comprehensive Plan Standards for Sustaining Places Recognition Program Pilot seeks to recognize plans that advance the principles, processes and attributes of sustainability as defined in the Comprehensive Plan Standards.

The pilot program is designed to increase awareness about the importance and value of a comprehensive plan that also addresses a community’s overall sustainability. The program is run through APA’s National Centers for Planning.

“Developing a comprehensive plan takes a community-wide effort to ensure the plan meets the needs of its residents, today and tomorrow,” said David Rouse, FAICP, managing director of APA’s Research and Advisory Services. “This recognition program is an opportunity to endorse plans that are providing this guidance and moving communities toward a more sustainable future.”

Submitted plans are reviewed and scored based three factors: the principles, processes and attributes of comprehensive plan standards. The principles focus on a livable built environment; harmony with nature; resilient economy; interwoven equity; healthy community; and responsible regionalism. The processes look at the preparation and implementation of the plan. The final factor looks at the attributes that shape the content and characteristics of comprehensive plans.

A team of reviewers will review and score each submitted comprehensive plan. Three levels of acknowledgement are available to plans depending on their score: gold (90 – 100%), silver (80-89%) and recognized (70-79%). All plans receiving any level of recognition will be featured at APA’s 2017 National Planning Conference.

Comprehensive plans created in the last five years are eligible for recognition in the pilot program. All plans must be submitted by June 17, 2016, for consideration.

The Comprehensive Plan Standards for Sustaining Places Recognition Program Pilot is a direct outcome of APA’s Sustaining Places initiative that was launched in 2010. The initiative was designed to examine both how places can be sustained and places can sustain life and civilizations. It has helped define the role of planning in addressing all human settlement issues relating to sustainability. Further, the initiative has demonstrated that planning’s comprehensive focus is not limited to a building or a site, but encompasses all scales and all forms of organization of human settlements, from rural areas and small towns to cities and metropolitan regions.

Additional resources about sustainable comprehensive plans can be found at: https://planning.org/sustainingplaces/compplanstandards/recognitionprogram. Questions about the pilot program may be directed to Anna Read, APA Senior Program Development & Research Associate at aread@planning.org.

The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of good planning -- physical, economic, and social -- so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, with almost 38,000 members worldwide in nearly 100 countries. For more information, visit www.planning.org.


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May 19, 2016