2024 Student Planning and Design Competition

The Submission DeaDline Has Past

Co-sponsored by the American Planning Association (APA) Urban Design and Preservation Division, Divisions Council, and Student Representatives Council, APA presents the Annual Student Planning and Design Competition, which will culminate in a final competition event and winner selection at the 2024 National Planning Conference (NPC24) in Minneapolis, MN.

This opportunity for student planning and design in real-life spaces continues APA's ongoing effort to provide leadership in developing vital communities. Through excellence in planning, promoting education, and citizen empowerment, APA hopes to provide emerging professionals with the tools and support necessary to meet the challenges of growth and change.

All finalist team members are granted free registration to NPC24

  • $6,000 awarded to the first-place team
  • $4,500 awarded to the runner-up team
  • $1,500 awarded to the third-place finalist team

If you have any questions, please reach out to students@planning.org.


2024 Student Planning and Design Competition Prompt

2024 Student Planning and Design Competition Questions


Project Site Location

2024 Student Planning and Design Competition Site Location New Nicollet Redevelopment Site National Planning Conference NPC24

New Nicollet Redevelopment

The 2024 Student Planning and Design Competition project site location is the New Nicollet Redevelopment, the former Kmart site in South Minneapolis, MN. This project site covers 10 acres of land between the Midtown Greenway, Lake St, 1st Ave, and Blaisdell Ave. The site has served the daily needs of residents for decades.

2024 Student Planning and Design Competition: Cover Contest

cover contest winner

Thank you to the winner of the 2024 Student Planning and Design Competition: Cover Contest, Lillian Liu, an urban and regional planning student at Cornell University, for designing the front page of the prompt.


Important Dates

September 1, 2023 Project Site Location Announcement
Submissions for Student Planning and Design Competition: Cover Contest Opens
September 22, 2023 Submissions for Student Planning and Design Competition: Cover Contest Closes
October 2, 2023

Prompt Released
Registration Begins
Q&A Portal Opens

Student Planning and Design Competition: Cover Contest Winner Announced

November 17, 2023 Registration Ends
Q&A Portal Closed
November 20, 2023 Responses to Questions Posted Online
January 8, 2024 Submissions Begin
February 9, 2024 Deadline for Submissions
March 8, 2024 Initial Jury Deliberation
March 11, 2024 Finalists Notified
April 15, 2024 | 8:30am - 9:45am CT | Room 101 HIJ Final Presentations to NPC Jury in Minneapolis


Previous Winners


Arizona State University | Sun Devil Development Team

Arizona State University's, Sun Devil Development Team, ranked first-place winners of APA's 2023 Student Design Competition at the National Planning Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, bringing home a cash prize of $2,500.

Repairing Logan's Urban Fabric: The Stitch Project

Vision Statement
Sun Devil Development Team Student Design Competition Winner 2023

"The Logan Triangle will be mended back into the urban fabric of the Logan Neighborhood having become a healthy, safe, affordable, desirable, and sustainable community by 2033. This will be accomplished by The Stitch Project, a design that will transform the Triangle from a detached piece of Philadelphia's urban fabric, back into a vital part of the Logan community. The Project will accomplish this through four categories of complementary activities: connecting people with places, blending old and new, enhancing quality of life, and reviving to thrive."

2023 Student Design Competition Winner, Sun Devil Development Team, Arizona State University

>Bryan Leyba (MUEP & MSUS), Kelsey Ouellette (MSUS), Sara Pimentel (MUEP), Deema Abdul Rahman (MUEP), Leen Elharake (MUEP) (pictured left to right)


First Place

Reimagine, Macon Georgia

Team Reimagine — University of Georgia

Team Reimagine pursues to help regenerate a city that has struggled with many challenges regarding civic engagement, socioeconomic mixing/racial injustice, connectivity between communities, and environmental sustainability. The purpose of honing deep on site context and analysis was to find the true character of the spaces and the people of Macon. Our proposed ideas and designs strove to not only tackle the existing challenges but to also help create a healthy and safe environment for all residents in the community through public access, parks and recreation, and revitalizing the downtown.

Team Members: Adolfo Martinez, Karlie Roper, Margaret Apperson, Duncan Watts, Jeremy Smith, Anneka Pace

University of Georgia

Team Reimagine — University of Georgia


First Place

Team RES

Columbia University

Team RES -- Columbia University

"Team RES (resilient, responsive, restorative) seeks to promote healthy communities, support workforce development and community entrepreneurship, increase high-quality housing options, and incorporate strategies that optimize environmental assets and awareness. Through our proposal, we seek to address some of the community's concerns targeting flood mitigation, environmental remediation, gentrification, housing affordability, and the high crime rate. We explore the myriad of solutions around planning for communities that are equitable, resilient, and for residents who need ready access to housing that's affordable."



Second Place

University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign

2020 Student Design Competition University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign



Third Place

Harvard University

2020 Student Design Competition Harvard University




Team Fruitpad

Cornell University

2019 Student Design Competition winners, Team Fruitpad from Cornell University.

2019 Student Design Competition winners, Team Fruitpad from Cornell University.


NOLA Shares

Cornell University



Team Leader — Anna Callahan; Team Members — Thomas Pera, Hannah Plummer, Kari Spiegelhalter

NOLA Shares features a web and app-based platform that aims to increase and facilitate shared skills, resources and knowledge across the Iberville community in downtown New Orleans. In addition to cloud-based infrastructure, the team proposed physical kiosks installed throughout the neighborhood to guarantee access for all residents.


L.E.A.P. to a Smart Future

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign



Team Leader — Xiaochen Chen; Team Members — Yuanyi Xiao, Donggyu Lee

The 2017 Student Design Competition invited interdisciplinary student teams to apply place-based Smart City technologies to a specific New York City site. The winning team, L.E.A.P. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, creatively identified a four-part vision — L.E.A.P. to a Smart Future — detailing how Smart City technologies could be used to improve Livability, Empowerment, Accessibility, and Play on site.


Four additional teams were selected as finalists and presented their ideas at the National Planning Conference in New York City.

Smart CATS

Kansas State University



Adaptive Strategies

New York University




University of California, Los Angeles



The All-Nighters

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign