APA Hands Out National Planning Excellence Awards

Midwest, National
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
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Philadelphia's Integrated Planning and Zoning Process won National Planning Excellence Award for a Best Practice, namely its "innovative approach to leveraging the synergy between citizen education, planning, and zoning reform." (Courtesy APA)

Philadelphia’s Integrated Planning and Zoning Process won National Planning Excellence Award for a Best Practice, namely its “innovative approach to leveraging the synergy between citizen education, planning, and zoning reform.” (Courtesy APA)

Northwest Indiana’s 2040 masterplan took home top honors for comprehensive planning last week, when the American Planning Association handed out its 2013 National Planning Excellence Awards. The association also saluted 12 projects with the first-ever National Planning Achievement Awards.

Tying into a major theme at this year’s conference, the APA award winners tended toward projects with an ambitious scope, such as Philadelphia’s sweeping planning and zoning rewrite and New York’s Zone Green initiative.

The Banks in Cincinnati. (Courtesy APA)

The Banks in Cincinnati. (Courtesy APA)

Cincinnati’s riverfront development, The Banks, won the implementation award, winning praise for its resurrection of an area cut off from downtown by an expressway since the 1950s. Since then the city’s population has dropped 41 percent. But after a low point in 2002 when the mayor abolished the planning department, Cincinnati is in the midst of a “rebirth,” according to city planners there.

“How do we modernize our city without suburbanizing it?” asked Katherine Keough-Jurs, a senior city planner with Cincinnati. She was speaking at a panel on the resurgence of urban planning in the city. “Maybe what makes our city great is what we strayed away from. Let’s look back to that.”

Bridging the expressway that once severed downtown from what is now, The Banks was one key example. The city is also developing a form-based code, targeted to areas where walkable communities still thrive. The goal is to keep planners from trying to start a new neighborhood center where it would compete with an existing one.

Michael Osur, Deputy Director of the Riverside County, California Department of Public Health was selected for the National Planning Excellence Award for a Planning Advocate and Ronald Shiffman was named National Planning Award for a Planning Pioneer. Goody Clancy, Interface Studio, and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning were also awarded in the Planning Firm, Emerging Planning & Design Firm, and Planning Agency, respectively.

More National Planning Excellence Awards winners, from coast to coast, below. View the twelve winners of the National Planning Achievement Awards here. (All images courtesy APA.)

Cathedral City's Environmental Conservation Division (ECD) Kids & Community Program

Cathedral City’s Environmental Conservation Division (ECD) Kids & Community Program

National Planning Excellence Award for a Grassroots Initiative
Cathedral City’s Environmental Conservation Division (ECD) Kids & Community Program
Cathedral City, California

From the APA: “The Environmental Conservation Division (ECD) Kids & Community Program is an environmental education and awareness project where young people conceptualize, design, plan and create hands-on environmental projects that help reduce landfill waste and beautify the landscape of Cathedral City. The program’s goals include making recycling and conservation fun, preserving the beauty of the local environment, and encouraging youth to play an active role in community efforts. It engages youth within the community and offers a way to learn about the environment while being part of the solution.”

Restoring the American City: Augusta's Laney Walker/Bethlehem

Restoring the American City: Augusta’s Laney Walker/Bethlehem

The HUD Secretary’s Opportunity & Empowerment Award 
Restoring the American City: Augusta’s Laney Walker/Bethlehem
Augusta, Georgia

From the APA: “The Laney Walker/Bethlehem Revitalization Initiative involves two historic African American neighborhoods and is a pioneering effort to reverse decades of blight and disinvestment and regenerate nearly 1,100 acres of Augusta’s urban center. This decision to catalyze regeneration of Augusta’s urban core was primarily driven by politics and the need to address a historically disenfranchised population. The project addresses a number of needs and community objectives outlined in the Augusta-Richmond County Comprehensive Plan, including affordable housing, access to jobs and services, open space, blight abatement, infill development, and preservation of local heritage.”

2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan: A Vision for Northwest Indiana

2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan: A Vision for Northwest Indiana

Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan 
2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan: A Vision for Northwest Indiana
Lake, Porter and LaPorte Counties, Indiana

From the APA: “The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission’s (NIRPC) 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan (CRP) represents the first broad planning initiative covering the counties of Lake, Porter and LaPorte. The CRP focuses on a variety of issues including transportation, land use, human and economic resources, and environmental policy objectives. The objective is to offer residents more transportation choices, and making the cities more sustainable and livable.”

The Valsequillo Initiative

The Valsequillo Initiative

The Pierre L’Enfant International Planning Award
The Valsequillo Initiative
Puebla, Mexico

From the APA: “The Valsequillo Initiative is a planning effort not only to improve the quality of urban areas growing around the Valsequillo Reservoir and increase opportunities for area residents and remediate decades of environmental degradation, but it also aimed to unify urban and environmental planning for the first time. Four years ago, the 58,000-acre Valsequillo region was set to become a new mega-development, a companion city to Puebla, Mexico’s fourth largest urban area. Development proposals would have reduced the value of the area’s ecological resources and displaced indigenous communities, small farmers, and communal landholders.”

Lancaster Central Market

Lancaster Central Market

National Planning Excellence Award for Urban Design
Lancaster Central Market: Assessments, Guidelines, and Recommendations for Preservation and Development
Lancaster, Pennsylvania

From the APA: “The Lancaster Central Market: Assessments, Guidelines, and Recommendations for Preservation and Development guidelines was created after a comprehensive study of the Lancaster Central Market that connected the importance of architectural preservation, urban development history, and cultural heritage, to present planning and development decisions. The Central Market is on the National Register of Historic Places and was named by APA as one of the Great Public Spaces in America. The study of the Central Market that resulted in the planning guidelines was a regional first, producing a historical-architectural report to guide building renovations, before decisions were made for a capital improvement project.”

apa_awards_05

National Planning Excellence Award for Environmental Planning
NYC Department of City Planning, Zone Green
New York, New York

From the APA: “Zone Green is an initiative to modernize regulations for greener buildings. It is a coordinated package of zoning amendments, city legislation, and state legislation that promotes the construction and retrofitting of greener buildings. The regulatory changes adopted through Zone Green affect all categories of buildings throughout New York City, from single-family detached homes to high-density office buildings. It also gives owners and builders more choices for investments to save energy, save money, and improve environmental performance.”

StarMetro's Route Decentralization

StarMetro’s Route Decentralization

National Planning Excellence Award for Transportation
StarMetro’s Route Decentralization
Tallahassee, Florida

From the APA: “For years, StarMetro operated a hub-and-spoke transit system that brought all passengers to one central transfer location downtown. Riders were forced to unnecessarily travel through the central business district to get to work, resulting in extended commutes and overcrowding. A survey revealed that 93 percent of passengers were traveling somewhere other than downtown. StarMetro was tasked with decentralizing all routes at the same time, within its normal operating budget.”

apa_awards_13

The HUD Secretary’s Opportunity and Empowerment Award
Owe’neh Bupingeh Preservation Plan
Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico

From the APA: “Ohkay Owingeh is the first Pueblo tribe to develop a comprehensive preservation plan that guides practical housing improvements according to cultural values. The Owe’neh Bupingeh Rehabilitation Project is a multi-year, affordable housing, rehabilitation project within the historic core of the tribe’s village center. Only 60 homes remain of the nearly several hundred that once existed. Most had been abandoned by 2005 due to deterioration.”

apa_awards_11

National Planning Excellence Award for a Best Practice
Philadelphia’s Integrated Planning and Zoning Process
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

From the APA: “The Philadelphia City Planning Commission’s (PCPC) integrated Planning and Zoning Process is an innovative approach to leveraging the synergy between citizen education, planning, and zoning reform. The PCPC coordinated three distinct planning activities — the Citizens Planning Institute (CPI), Philadelphia2035 (the city’s comprehensive plan) and a new zoning code and map revision. Individually, these activities educated hundreds of citizens and professionals, and engaged thousands in envisioning the future of Philadelphia and improving the way development is regulated. Collectively, they created an environment that hadn’t existed for 50 years. The city not only adopted a new comprehensive plan and zoning code, but did so in the same year and has moved forward with implementation.”

apa_awards_07

National Planning Excellence Award for a Communications Initiative
We Love Lake Oswego Video
City of Lake Oswego, Oregon

From the APA: “The City of Lake Oswego created the “We Love Lake Oswego” video as part of its public outreach effort to educate and engage the community in the comprehensive planning process. The video objectives were to convey a compelling story about why to plan for the future, provide a clear, concise concept of what the comprehensive plan update is about, and offer inspiration for the community to participate in the planning process.”

Newberg 6th Grade Design Star Program

Newberg 6th Grade Design Star Program

National Planning Excellence Award for Public Outreach
Newberg 6th Grade Design Star Program
Newberg, Oregon

From the APA: “The Design Star Program is a learning collaboration between the City of Newberg and local 6th grade students that has engaged students in city planning. The program started as part of the city’s outreach efforts during National Community Planning Month and is now an annual collaboration between Newberg city staff and middle school teachers and has been integrated into the curriculum. The program teaches students about why things are organized a certain way in their city, and it allows them to think critically about both the positive and negative impacts of development, the need for jobs in the community, how to differentiate between city wants and city needs, as well as environmental impacts of commuting for jobs and recreation. It also teaches students mapping, writing, presentation, and teamwork skills.”

apa_awards_02

Advancing Diversity & Social Change in Honor of Paul Davidoff
YWCA Central Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama

From the APA: “The YWCA Central Alabama undertook a multimillion-dollar urban neighborhood revitalization effort called YWoodlawn. The YWoodlawn Plan was a collaborative empowerment initiative intended to reduce poverty and hopelessness within an underserved area of Birmingham through reinvesting in the neighborhood; providing innovative housing for families experiencing homelessness; introducing affordable transition housing for families; bringing health, education, and employment-based services to the community’s doorstep; and reintroducing homeownership opportunities in a stable, growing community.”

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