News Release: October 25, 2016

Eight Communities Receive National Recognition for Comprehensive Plans from APA

APA’s pilot program recognizes comprehensive plans that integrate sustainability elements.

CHICAGO — The American Planning Association (APA) has recognized eight comprehensive plans through the organization’s Comprehensive Plan Standards for Sustaining Places Recognition Program Pilot. A comprehensive plan guides a community’s physical, social and economic development, which provides guidance on local land use decisions.

APA’s pilot program recognizes plans that advance the principles, processes and attributes of sustainability as detailed in the Comprehensive Plan Standards. The program aims to increase awareness about the importance and value of a comprehensive plan that also addresses a community’s overall sustainability.

Submitted plans produced within the last five years were eligible for review and recognition. A team of professional planners scored the plans based upon the principles of a livable built environment, harmony with nature, resilient economy, interwoven equity, healthy community, and responsible regionalism. The reviewers also looked at the community engagement and implementation efforts, and the attributes that shape the content and characteristics of a comprehensive plan.

“The comprehensive plans recognized in the first round of the pilot program exemplify how communities today are working to create a sustainable future,” said David Rouse, FAICP, ASLA, the managing director of Research and Advisory Services at APA. “From innovative community engagement to implementation, these plans represent excellence in comprehensive planning and serve as a model for other communities — large and small — across the country.”

Comprehensive plans from 30 communities were submitted for review. The eight comprehensive plans receiving recognition in the first round of the pilot program received either silver or bronze recognition. Silver is a score of 80-89 percent and bronze is a score of 70–79 percent. The communities receiving recognition for their comprehensive plans include:

Silver Level

Bronze Level

This is the first round of recognition through the pilot program. A second round of plans will be recognized in Spring 2017. All plans will be honored at APA’s National Planning Conference in New York City, May 6–9, 2017.

The Comprehensive Plan Standards for Sustaining Places Recognition Program Pilot is a result of APA’s Sustaining Places initiative that examined how places can be sustained and how places can sustain life and civilizations. 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. The program is run through APA’s National Centers for Planning.

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. Members of APA help create communities of lasting value and encourage civic leaders, business interests and citizens to play a meaningful role in creating communities that enrich people's lives. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago. For more information, visit

# # #


Roberta Rewers, APA, 312-786-6395;