Comprehensive Plan Standards for Sustaining Places Recognition Program Pilot

APA’s work in developing comprehensive plan standards grew out of the larger Sustaining Places initiative. In May 2016, APA launched the Comprehensive Plan Standards for Sustaining Places Recognition Program Pilot. Communities that have integrated sustainability into comprehensive plans adopted or amended within the last five years submitted their plans for recognition.

The first phase of the pilot program is now complete and APA is proud to recognize the following eight plans as examples of excellence in comprehensive planning:

Silver Level

Envision Longmont
City of Longmont, Colorado

Imagine 2040: Tampa Comprehensive Plan
Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission and the City of Tampa, Florida

Bring It On Bloomington!
McLean County (Illinois) Regional Planning Commission

Plan DSM
City of Des Moines, Iowa

Plano Tomorrow
City of Plano, Texas

Bronze Level

Los Angeles County General Plan
Los Angeles County, California

City of Issaquah Comprehensive Plan
City of Issaquah, Washington

Monroe Comprehensive Plan
City of Monroe, Wisconsin

Review and Recognition Process

Two trained reviewers experienced in comprehensive planning and/or sustainability rating systems reviewed and scored each plan.

There are three recognition levels:

  • Bronze (score of 70-79%)
  • Silver (score of 80-89%)
  • Gold (score of 90-100%)

Comprehensive plans recognized at any level will be acknowledged within their communities, at chapter conferences, and at APA’s 2017 National Planning Conference in New York City.


Sustaining Places: Best Practices for Comprehensive Plans (PAS 578)

This report offers a framework with standards for creating livable, healthy communities in harmony with nature — communities that have resilient economies, social equity, and strong regional ties. Four steps show how to turn principles into a plan and score the results.

Sustaining Places Practices for Comprehensive Planning (PAS EIP-35)

This PAS Essential Info Packet complements Sustaining Places: Best Practices for Comprehensive Plans, with links to:

  • Comprehensive plans that incorporate many of the best practices identified through the Sustaining Places initiative;
  • Guidance on incorporating various aspects of sustainability into comprehensive plans; and
  • The Sustaining Places comprehensive plan scoring matrix and definitions for each of the best practices discussed in PAS 578.
On Demand: Sustaining Places through the Comprehensive Plan (recorded webinar)

Examines APA’s work with 13 communities to develop standards for integrating sustainability into comprehensive plans. Learn about the standards and the goals behind them, find out what goes into the plan, and get tips for successful public participation and plan implementation.

The Local Comprehensive Plan (PAS QuickNotes 52)

Summarizes the fundamental characteristics of the comprehensive plan and discusses the basic justifications for comprehensive planning as well as plan content, format, and implementation.