APA Arizona Chapter Awards

APA Arizona's Awards Program is the stage for showcasing great achievements and outstanding contributors to planning in Arizona

Recognizing our strengths as leaders of forward looking and lasting change enables us to meet future challenges and anticipate opportunities within our planning profession.  Each year, the American Planning Association, Arizona Chapter recognizes outstanding efforts in planning and planning leadership. This acknowledgment inspires quality and innovation in the planning profession and builds awareness of the field's importance to cultivating thriving communities. Nominating exemplary work or an outstanding individual is a revered opportunity to honor planning excellence and noteworthy contributions to the planning profession. State award recipients are eligible to enter national level competition.

2023 APA Arizona Planning Award Winners

2022 APA Arizona Planning Award Winners

2021 APA Arizona Planning Award Winners

2020 APA Arizona Planning Award Winners

2019 APA Arizona Planning Award Winners

2018 APA Arizona Planning Award Winners

Award categories include: 

Great Public Places Arizona : Planning is behind the places communities value most. This category serves to recognize streets and public spaces that make communities stronger and bring people together through good planning.  A Great Place demonstrates the Importance of planning, provides an opportunity for promotion and tourism, and illustrates how local policies strengthen our communities.  Entries should describe the planning story, and why it is worthy of a Great Places designation.

Revitalization / Infill Development / Reuse / Redevelopment Project : The award acknowledges successful project developments that help stability and renew older and established communities.  Eligible entries can include new development, building rehabilitations, streetscape improvements, Main Street programs and façade improvement projects.  Examples of submittals include neighborhood redevelopment / revitalization; brownfield/grayfield development; and infill development incentives. 

Transportation Planning : This award honors efforts to increase transportation choices for all populations, reducing dependence on private automobiles and helping to ease congestion and reducing climate change impacts.  Examples:  Transportation studies, complete streets plans or projects, plans for pedestrian, streets, highways, aviation, parking, maritime, transit or rail; development and expansion of transportation systems; development and expansion of trail systems.

Open : Any project, plan, study or program that does not qualify in one of the other eligible categories but demonstrates a significant and relevant planning-related change in a community or the planning profession in general. Nominees in this category may be more closely tied to community results, quick implementation and creating economic competitiveness. Examples may include: projects, plans, and studies in economic development; human service programs or social planning; culture and the arts; multi-disciplinary plans demonstrating community livability and sustainability; and site planning. A project in the “open” category may be initiated by a public agency, non-profit organization, individual or private business.

Regional or General or Comprehensive Plan : A REGIONAL PLAN is a collaborative plan, project, or study by two or more organizations creating a coordinated effort across jurisdictional boundaries to improve something such as air quality, travel, economic growth and land-use compatibility. Examples include: joint county/city planning, private/public and public/public partnerships, multi-agency processes.

Any Regional or General or Comprehensive Plan or plan update prepared with applicable Arizona statutes and adopted and ratified by the jurisdiction for which it was prepared.

Master Plan/Project/Study : A MASTER PLAN includes, as a critical component, a site plan or systems map accompanied by policies, regulations, or guidelines. This category includes Specific, Neighborhood, Downtown, Park, Fire, Pedestrian, Bicycle, Transportation, and Airport Plans.

A PROJECT typically includes an original solution to a local, regional, or national concern or unique problem and includes an implementation plan.

A STUDY forms the basis of a planning decision(s) and includes capital improvement plans, site studies (affordable housing, shelters, etc.), and trip reduction programs.

Ordinance/Regulation/Legislation/Adopted Policy : Any planning-related policy, ordinance, regulation, or legislation which has been adopted and provides specific guidelines, standards, or regulations for growth and development within a jurisdiction. Examples include: Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs); design, subdivision, or landscape guidelines; development agreements; zoning ordinances; legislation; individual elements of a planning or policy document.

Public Outreach : An individual, project, or program that provides public education, promotes participation, or information on planning-related issues or processes with particular emphasis on under-represented individuals and groups typically not participating in community planning. This could include education efforts showing how planning can make a difference to one’s quality of life, curriculum designed to teach children about planning, neighborhood empowerment programs, outreach programs to the media, or outstanding media coverage regarding planning. Due to the broad types of potential nominations under this category, the Committee may elect to provide multiple awards to distinctly different but highly-qualified nominations.

Distinguished Historic Plan/Program or Landmark : A Historic Preservation Plan as required of Certified Local Governments (CLG) communities, a General or Comprehensive Plan Historic Planning Element, a historic preservation study or historic preservation acquisition, restoration or special project or program. A pioneering document, plan, subdivision, historic preservation project, individual structure, or developed project with historic and unique qualities and used as a precedent for other work. The project or plan must be considered as making a significant contribution to the Arizona community and be at least 25 years old.

Student Planning Project : Any distinctive student plan, project, ordinance, regulation, or program showing exceptional quality may be submitted. Entries may be for any area of planning (i.e. general plan, transportation plan, specific area plan, master plan, historic plan, design guidelines, policy document, public outreach, etc.) and will be evaluated in accordance with the submission and eligibility requirements delineated in this application. Work submitted by a student, student group, or their educational institution must be entered in the Student Planning category. While there will be one overall student project winner, the Committee may select additional student projects submitted for a Certificate of Exceptional Work. 

Distinguished Citizen Planner : An individual advancing or promoting the cause of planning in the public arena. This includes commissioners, boards of zoning appeals members, economic development boards, or other appointed officials.

Distinguished Professional Planner : An individual making sustained contributions to the profession through distinguished practice, teaching, or writing. 

Distinguished Public Official : An individual elected or appointed to public office contributing significantly to planning. 

Distinguished Planning Pioneer : An individual making significant contributions to the planning profession for more than 25 years.