Our award recipients are nominated by a wide range of people including citizens, planners and other officials. Each year, we distribute the criteria under which a nominee should be considered for a specific award. These criteria are defined below.
Project of the Year
(corresponding APA Award Category: Outstanding Planning Award…for a Project/Program/Tool)
For a project, program or tool that is a significant advantage to the cause of planning. This category emphasizes results and demonstrates how a project, program, or tool implemented a plan. The submissions could be regulation, ordinances or codes, growth management guidelines or ordinances, transferable development rights programs; land acquisition efforts; tax abatement initiatives; projects that encourage participation by those who do not typically participate in setting community/public agendas; or similar projects, programs or tools which meet the following criteria.
Originality: To what extent are creative and innovative ideas used to address a demonstrated need or program? How have ideas expanded the envelope of accepted planning principles and led to a greater level of success?
Transferability: How does the submission provide example for others?
Quality: To what extent does the submission show excellence of thought, analysis, writing, graphics, and applying ethical planning principles? How were resources used in a well-conceived and appropriate format?
Comprehensiveness: How have planning principles been observed, especially in support of other public objectives? To what extent does the submission produce results for other programs important to the local community?
Public Participation: How has the submission encouraged participation to address the demonstrated need or problem? To what extent has the submission included those left out of similar efforts in the past?
Results: How has the submission addressed the need or problem that prompted its initiation? How have the results made a difference in the lives of the people affected?
Plan of the Year
(corresponding APA Award Category: Outstanding Planning Award …for a Plan)
To a written plan that is a significant advancement to the science and art of planning. This could include such plans as comprehensive/master plans, housing plans, capital improvement plans, environmental/resource conservation plans, park and recreation plans, transportation plans, redevelopment plans, economic development plans, or rails-to-trails plans.
Originality: How does the plan present a visionary approach or innovative concept within the context of the jurisdiction’s situation? How does it expand the envelope of accepted planning principles?
Transferability: How does the plan provide a potential application for others? Is the wider application of this plan’s components in the interest of the planning process?
Quality: How does the plan show excellence of thought, analysis, writing, graphics, and applying ethical planning principles? Were resources used in a well-conceived and appropriate format?
Comprehensiveness: How have planning principles been observed, especially in consideration of the plan’s effects on other public objectives? To what extent does the plan include elements important to the local community?
Public Participation: How far did the effort go to solicit input from those who have been historically left out of the process? How has the plan accomplished “buy in” from the public sector?
Implementation: Does the plan include a strong element detailing measurable implementation tasks and goals? How effective is the plan in short, medium, and long terms?
Citizen Planner and Citizen Board of the Year
(corresponding APA Award Categories: Distinguished Leadership Award for a Citizen Planner and Distinguished Leadership Award for an Elected Official)
These two awards go to an individual and citizen board, commission or committee who advanced or promoted the cause of planning in the public arena. This could include members of planning boards/commissions, zoning boards of adjustment/ appeals, economic development boards/commissions, or other elected or appointed officials. It could also include the more non-traditional roles of citizen activists or neighborhood leaders.
Support of Planning: To what extent has the nominee’s time and dedication increased the understanding of planning principles and the planning process as well as the goals of the organization of which he/she is a part? How has this advocacy role been pursued?
Effectiveness: How has the nominee promoted the cause and advanced the merits of planning? Within what sphere of influence has this effectiveness been realized?
In addition to the criteria above, nominations should include the information contained in the sample (2012) checklist below:
Professional Planner of the Year
(corresponding APA Award Category: The Distinguished Leadership Award…for a Professional Planner)
To an individual – for a sustained contribution to the field of planning through distinguished practice, teaching, or writing. This person must make his/her living in the practice of planning, either in the public or private sector.
Support of Planning: To what extent has the nominee’s work increased the understanding of planning principles and the planning process?
Effectiveness/Results: To what extent has the nominee been effective in formulating and implementing his/her plans and furthered the cause of planning? Within what sphere of influence has this effectiveness been realized?
In addition to the criteria above, nominations should include the information contained in the sample (2017) checklist below: