January 10, 2012

APA Announces 2012 National Planning Excellence Award Recipients

CHICAGO —The American Planning Association (APA) honors comprehensive planning efforts and inspiring individuals with its 2012 National Planning Excellence and Achievement Awards.

APA's national awards program, the profession's highest honor, is a proud tradition established more than 50 years ago to recognize outstanding community plans, planning programs and initiatives, public education efforts, and individuals for their leadership on planning issues. These efforts help create communities of lasting value throughout the country — and the world.

Fourteen award recipients consisting of planning firms, civic organizations, and individuals will be recognized during APA's National Planning Conference luncheon on Monday, April 16, 2012, in Los Angeles.

Read more about 2012 recipients and access images and supplemental materials, including plans.

The Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan honors a comprehensive plan that advances the science and art of planning. The award honors America's most famous planner, Daniel Burnham, for his contributions to the planning profession and to a greater awareness of the benefits of good planning.

Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, New York

The city has been making great strides in connecting New Yorkers with the water's edge over the past several decades. Vision 2020 expands upon previous efforts to provide site-specific strategies to improve the waterfront in all five boroughs. The plan is organized around eight goals: expand public access; enliven the waterfront; support the working waterfront; improve water quality; restore the natural waterfront; enhance the Blue Network (the waterways themselves); improve government oversight; and increase climate resilience.

The HUD Secretary's Opportunity and Empowerment Award is presented jointly by HUD and APA to a project or program that demonstrates improved quality of life for low and moderate-income community residents.

Robert R. Taylor Homes / NorthSide Revitalization, Wilmington, North Carolina

Once a vibrant neighborhood, the NorthSide was now plagued by crime and considered as a housing choice of last resort. The existing Taylor Homes were demolished and the Wilmington Housing Authority led the efforts to secure funding for rebuilding. In place of the older housing, three unique properties were built, reflecting the historic architecture of the surrounding community, offering housing choices to low-income residents, and serving as a community anchor for the NorthSide Plan. Now, 240 in-need individuals have moved into the Robert R. Taylor Homes.

National Planning Excellence Award for a Best Practice is given for a specific planning tool, practice, program, project, or process that advances elements of planning.

Cool Planning: A Handbook on Local Strategies to Slow Climate Change, Oregon

Cool Planning: A Handbook on Local Strategies to Slow Climate Change gives step-by-step guidelines to help communities reduce their carbon footprint through community development, land use, and transportation planning. Cool Planning was created by the State of Oregon's Transportation and Growth Management Program (TGM) and consulting firm Otak.

National Excellence Planning Award for a Grassroots Initiative honors an initiative that illustrates how a community utilized the planning process to address a need extending beyond the traditional scope of planning.

Yorktown 2015: A Blueprint for Survival and Sustainability, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Built in the 1960s, Yorktown serves as a model of urban redevelopment for shared public spaces and right-of-way elements. Concerns over aging infrastructure and perceived threats over changes within and around the neighborhood prompted the Yorktown CDC to create a strategic neighborhood plan. The community-driven planning process maintains the community's legacy and preserves the neighborhood through reinvestment.

National Planning Excellence Award for Implementation recognizes a project that demonstrates a significant achievement for an area — a single community or a region — in accomplishing positive changes as a result of planning. The award emphasizes long-term, measurable results that have been in continuous effect for a minimum of three years.

Contra Costa Centre Transit Village, California

Contra Costa Centre Transit Village is a 140-acre area that focused on merging work, social, and living environments. The County of Contra Costa and its Redevelopment Agency Planners, working with the private sector, have been implementing this smart growth model for 25 years. The project's goal was to connect residents, businesses and employees near the convergence of several regional transportation systems including rail systems, a major arterial, and a regional trail.

National Planning Excellence Award for Public Outreach recognizes an individual, project, or program that uses information and education about the value of planning and how planning improves a community's quality of life.

Fast Forward Mobile Outreach Bus, Tulsa, Oklahoma

The Indian Nations Council of Governments (INCOG), the regional planning agency for the Tulsa metro area, wanted to identify and prioritize corridors for long-term transit development. To gather citizen input, an ordinary city bus was transformed into a mobile transit lab featuring educational tools, LCD video screens, and interactive displays. The 40-foot Fast Forward Bus traveled to 117 locations over a four-month period, stopping at schools, libraries, shopping malls, and community events. More than 2,000 citizens were able to discuss transit face-to-face with planners.

National Planning Excellence Award for Innovation in Sustaining Places recognizes specific examples of how sustainability practices are being used in how places are planned, designed, built, used, and maintained at all scales.

Re-imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio

Re-Imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland is a collaborative effort to address the issues of persistent population decline and large-scale urban vacancy while positioning the city for sustainable future development. The initiative addresses vacancy issues by introducing non-traditional urban land uses to city neighborhoods.

Best Practices in Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Planning recognizes an effort that protects communities from natural and man-made hazards as well as minimizing losses from a disaster and quick recovery.

Florida's Statewide Regional Evacuation Study Program, Florida

The hurricanes during 2004 and 2005 were the most deadly with nearly 3,000 deaths and causing $50 billion in damages. The Florida Legislature appropriated $29 million to conduct a statewide study to improve evacuation planning and emergency disaster response. The primary purpose of The Florida Statewide Regional Evacuation Study Program was to map future evacuation strategies while incorporating traffic, housing, and other community improvements. The study enabled projection estimates for evacuation times and shelter demands by region and county.

National Planning Excellence Award for a Planning Firm recognizes planning firms which have produced bodies of distinguished work influencing the professional practice of planning.

Sasaki Associates, Inc., Watertown, Massachusetts

Sasaki Associates, Inc., has a history of regenerating blighted communities with its unique collaboration of engineers, architects and planners. Founded in 1953 by Hideo Sasaki, his approach of uniting planning and design disciplines was pioneering at the time and has created a legacy of significant projects, including the revival of Sea Pines Plantation in 1953, construction of the Charlestown waterfront in the 1990s and the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.

National Planning Landmark Award honorsprojects that are historically significant, initiated a new direction in planning or impacted American planning, cities, or regions over a broad range of time or space.

The Bennett Plan of the City of Pasadena (1925), Pasadena, California

Pasadena's 1925 plan was created by Edward H. Bennett. Bennett's plan included architectural concepts and strategies to extend the landscapes of its east-west streets and boulevards and implementation of a zoning ordinance. Over eight decades, the city and its residents vowed to preserve its 10 historic landmarks while pursuing various community rehabilitation initiatives.

The Pierre L'Enfant International Planning Award recognizes planning practices and efforts undertaken outside of the United States to promote communities of lasting value.

Strategic Master Plan I Petra Region, Jordan

Petra is a 6th century archaeological site and a UNESCO World Heritage site, that is facing multiple challenges, including unplanned tourism growth, environmental degradation, population growth, and limited water availability, putting the region's world heritage site status was in jeopardy. The Strategic Master Plan for the Petra Region includes provisions for watershed management; sets aside 93.8 percent of the region as conversation zones and open space; addresses dependencies on unsustainable tourism practices; provides opportunities for economic diversification; and proposals for managing regional transportation impacts associated with mass tourism.

National Planning Achievement Award for a Hard-Won Victory recognizes a planning effort undertaken by a community, neighborhood, citizens group, or jurisdiction in the face of difficult, challenging, or adverse conditions.

Candlestick Point-Hunters Point Shipyard Phase II EIR, California

The Bayview Hunters Point community of San Francisco was challenged by unemployment, extreme poverty, and high crime rates. The Candlestick Point-Hunters Point Shipyard Phase II Project goal is to revitalize the community through multiple channels, including maximizing reuse of a naval shipyard (a Superfund site); increasing business and employment opportunities; providing housing options at a range of affordability levels; and integrating transportation. The result is a 10-volume environmental impact report that is now being used by the city as a "model environmental document." The report also took into account the history of the community, and the massive direct environmental impacts, and the prospect of creating a metropolitan neighborhood that must be assimilated into San Francisco.

Advancing Diversity & Social Change in Honor of Paul Davidoff honors a project, group, individual, or organization that promotes diversity and demonstrates a sustained social commitment to advocacy within the planning field or through planning practice.

Leonardo Vazquez, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Leonardo Vazquez has made a mark in urban planning by shifting the focus to alleviate issues that plague Latino communities. For 15 years as a leader, educator, and author, Vazquez has been a staunch advocate for social justice and ethnic diversity in the planning industry.

The National Planning Excellence Award for Planning Advocate recognizes an individual, appointed official, or elected official who has advanced or promoted the cause of planning in the public arena.

Gov. Martin O'Malley: Reinvigorating Smart Growth in Maryland

Concerned that homes were being built on state farmland and forest land far quicker than the rate of population growth, Gov. O'Malley developed a multi-pronged approach to promote smarter growth in Maryland. Among the many highlights achieved during his tenure, O'Malley has signed into law provisions that require a jurisdiction's zoning to be consistent with its comprehensive plan; championed two light rail Metro projects; helped establish a public-private partnership to redevelop a 50-year-old complex of state offices; and created Maryland's first ever statewide development plan, PlanMaryland, to help strengthen older communities, build sustainable new places inside growth areas, and preserve resource land.


Roberta Rewers, APA Public Affairs; 312-786-6395; rrewers@planning.org