Excellence Award for a Plan

For a comprehensive plan, or a separate plan that addresses a specific area such as a neighborhood, downtown, corridor, redevelopment area, or critical and sensitive area, or a specific topic such as transportation, housing, economic development, community facilities, parks and open space, or hazards mitigation; with an emphasis on plans that advance the science and art of planning.


Open to APA members and non-APA members. There are no limits on the size of jurisdiction.


Originality and Innovation

Document how your entry presents a visionary approach or innovative concept to address needs. Explain how it broadens accepted planning principles within the context of the situation.


Illustrate how the nominated plan, implementation strategy, or planning process has potential application for others and how wider use of the entry’s components and methodology would further the cause of good planning.


Indicate how your entry represents excellence of thought, analysis, writing, and graphics throughout the plan, implementation strategy, or planning process, regardless of budgetary limitations. Indicate how available resources were used in a thoughtful, well-
conceived, and ethical process.


Specify how your entry observed planning principles, especially in consideration of its effects on other public objectives.

Public Participation

Explain the extent to which your entry involved various public interests and fostered strong communication to help meet goals and objectives. Show how the nominated plan,
implementation strategy, or planning process demonstrates a strong effort to obtain or maintain public and private support, including: input from those who historically have not participated in or have been left out of the planning process; participation of the widest variety of residents and stakeholders; and engagement and commitment of community leaders and local officials. For the planning process award, elaborate on how strategic partnerships or alliances were developed in support of the planning effort.

Role of Planners

Describe the role, significance, and participation of planners. Demonstrate the connection between your entry’s success and increased awareness in the community of planners and planning.

Implementation Strategy and Funding

Address what steps your entry took or is taking to build or maintain momentum and public support for creating, following, and implementing the plan. Identify funding challenges or support for the planning effort. Report any political changes that might effect, for better or worse, long-term funding for updating or implementing the plan, including continued public participation.

Effectiveness, Results, and Sustained Improvement

State how your entry addressed the need or issue that prompted its initiation. Be explicit about how the results have made a difference in the lives of the people affected. For the plan implementation award, indicate the level of consistency of this effort since its start and the effectiveness it can have over time. Detail any changes, derailments, or improvements throughout plan implementation.