Tysons Corner plan, Miami 21 honored by APA

The American Planning Association announced its 2011 National Awards. A plan to redevelop sprawling Tysons Corner, Virginia, as a compact, transit-oriented community and a form-based development code for Miami head the list. APA summarized all of the awards:

The Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan honors a comprehensive plan that advances the science and art of planning. The award honors America’s most famous planner, Daniel Burnham, for his contributions to the planning profession and to a greater awareness of the benefits of good planning.

Comprehensive Plan for Tysons Corner, Fairfax County, Virginia

Projected growth, a desire to transform a successful suburban employment center into a series of livable urban districts, and four new pending transit stations drove the desire for a new comprehensive plan for Tysons Corner. More than 2,000 citizens participated in creating the plan through a series of community workshops and public outreach events. The plan includes a tiered approach to density that is focused around the new transit stations, a long-term goal of reducing the jobs-to-household ratio from 13:1 to a more balanced 4:1, and incentives to reserve 20 percent of new housing units for moderate-income households.

National Planning Excellence Award for Best Practice is given for a specific planning tool, practice, program, project, or process that advances elements of planning.

Miami 21 — Creating the blueprint for the Miami of the 21st century, Miami, Florida

In the past 10 years, Miami has experienced unprecedented growth. The new plan had to protect existing residential neighborhoods while accommodating downtown growth and growth along the city’s commercial corridors. Miami is the first major U.S. city to use a form-based zoning code — a method of regulating development to achieve a specific urban form that promotes sustainable and livable communities. Such codes address the relationship between building facades and the public realm, the form and mass of buildings in relation to one another, transitions between different types and sizes of buildings, and the scale and types of streets and blocks. The code pays particular attention to interaction between the public and private realms, especially to encourage walkable and vibrant streetscapes.

National Planning Excellence Award for Implementation recognizes a project that demonstrates a significant achievement for an area — a single community or a region — in accomplishing positive changes as a result of planning. The award emphasizes long-term, measurable results that have been in continuous effect for a minimum of five years.

Spring Creek Greenway Master Plan, Joliet, Illinois

The Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Spring Creek Greenway Master Plan is ambitious – covering more than 800 acres of wetlands, restoring 139 acres of uplands, planting 33,000 native trees and shrubs, and protecting a water supply. The eight-mile multiuse trail opens up more than 1,900 acres of open space for public enjoyment in one of the most rapidly developing portions of Will County. The Forest Preserve District planning department had to work with and leverage diverse partnerships to secure the funding necessary to implement the plan. Key to their success was the project’s ability to meet the objectives of other public bodies while still achieving the district’s restoration and recreation goals.

National Planning Excellence Award for Public Outreach recognizes an individual, project, or program that uses information and education about the value of planning and how planning improves a community’s quality of life.

SurveyLA Public Participation Program, Los Angeles, California

While Los Angeles has more than 900 local landmarks and 24 historic districts, only 15 percent of the city has been surveyed, leaving important resources at risk. SurveyLA is Los Angeles’s first-ever effort to identify, inventory, and document historic resources in the city. Extensive public engagement in the survey process is integral to the program’s success. Public participation will help to flag and protect hundreds of historic resources and historic neighborhoods that are largely unknown today. Multi-lingual components are designed to engage communities in historic preservation, reach traditionally underrepresented groups, and provide meaningful and varied opportunities for the public to become directly involved.

National Planning Excellence Award for Innovation for Sustaining Places recognizes specific examples of how sustainability practices are being used in how places are planned, designed, built, used, and maintained at all scales.

North Shore Plan: Pa’ala’a to Kapaeloa, Honolulu, Hawaii

Kamehameha Schools (KS) owns 26,000 acres of land on the north shore of the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Residents wanted a plan to sustain the North Shore’s rural lifestyle and values. The planning team’s commitment to community collaboration — from a Hawaiian perspective — began with meeting local küpuna (elders) to obtain their blessing on the open and collaborative process. The core theme of the North Shore Plan is sustainable land management. The plan’s vision statement, goals, and catalyst projects all integrate sustainability concepts. The plan places growth in the appropriate locations and has a strong agriculture emphasis that will help preserve the rural character of the North Shore while creating jobs for the community and revenue for KS.

North Texas 2050, Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Texas

The North Texas region, which encompasses Dallas and Fort Worth, is the fourth largest metropolitan region in the country. It covers more than 12,800 square miles and includes more than 200 individual communities. The plan creates a framework for innovative sustainable development and significant infrastructure investments. It uses a set of five geographic policy areas and eight investment areas to organize the recommendations so they relate to the unique characteristics and needs of each place within North Texas. The plan integrates recommendations for typical planning topics — land use, natural resources, transportation, housing, water and wastewater infrastructure, parks and open spaces — but at a 12,800-mile scale.

National Planning Achievement Award for a Hard-Won Victory recognizes a planning effort undertaken by a community, neighborhood, citizens group, or jurisdiction in the face of difficult, challenging, or adverse conditions.

Plan for the 21st Century: New Orleans 2030, New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans’s first citywide plan protects New Orleans but also builds a culture of citywide planning. The challenges to create a citywide plan were many — racial tensions, skepticism, competition for limited recovery resources, and the lack of existing citywide plans to build upon. The planning team implemented a grassroots process of educating the entire community about planning, creating a culture that equipped residents with the tools to work and make decisions together. More than 5,000 people directly participated in the master plan. A coalition of neighborhood organizations, business groups, preservationists, developers, and leaders of every race for the first time stood together to defend the plan before the city council last August—it was unanimously approved.

Advancing Diversity & Social Change in Honor of Paul Davidoff honors a project, group, individual, or organization that promotes diversity and demonstrates a sustained social commitment to advocacy within the planning field or through planning practice.

Alvaro Huerta, Los Angeles, California

Raised in East Lost Angeles by Mexican immigrant parents, Alvaro Huerta’s experiences in turbulent housing projects, overcrowded public schools, and gang pressures helped shape his life-long commitment to social justice, diversity, and service for the poor. Huerta is a positive role model for Latino communities and the planning profession. He mentors others interested in pursuing urban planning educations. He is a visiting scholar at UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center, a visiting lecturer at UCLA’s Department of Urban Planning, and contributes op-ed columns for numerous publications, political and literary blogs. He will receive his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley this spring.

Best Practices in Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Planning recognizes an effort that protects communities from natural and manmade hazards as well as minimizing losses from a disaster and quick recovery.

River Corridor Redevelopment Plan, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

In June 2008, the Cedar River crested 11.5 feet higher than any previous measure, and flooding forced thousands of evacuations and caused more than $6 billion in damage. Within days of the flood, city officials, business leaders, and citizens mobilized to develop and implement two phases of the River Corridor Redevelopment Plan. The collaborative planning process created partnerships between community members, multiple city departments, the city council, and agencies ranging from the federal to the local level. The city and its residents have completed two phases of reinvestment and revitalization planning including a flood-management strategy and plans for reinvestment in the flood-affected neighborhoods. A Neighborhood Reinvestment Action Plan was drafted to guide reinvestment over the next 10–15 years.

National Planning Excellence Award for a Planning Firm recognizes planning firms which have produced bodies of distinguished work influencing the professional practice of planning.

Wallace Roberts & Todd, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Founded in 1963, Wallace Roberts & Todd, LLC (WRT) is a multi-disciplinary nationwide practice. With a reputation as a planning leader, the firm is known for its environmental responsibility and professional excellence. WRT’s first three projects remain milestones today: The Plan for the Valleys (recipient of APA’s National Planning Landmark Award), the master plan for Baltimore’s Inner Harbor (winner of numerous awards), and the award-winning Lower Manhattan Plan. The development of the environmental planning method, the invention and application of the “susceptibility to change” analysis in urban planning, and the development of “values-based” planning are significant examples of the firm’s influence on the planning profession.

The Pierre L’Enfant International Planning Award recognizes planning practices and efforts undertaken outside of the United States to promote communities of lasting value.

Kigali Sub Area Plans, Kigali, Rwanda, Africa

As the most densely populated country in Africa, Rwanda is still healing from its tragic history of war and genocide and has undertaken an ambitious vision to become a model for sustainable development in Africa. The Kigali Sub Area Plans concentrate on green systems including wetlands and urban parkland; water reuse, drainage, and rainwater harvesting; and sanitary issues such as sewers, recycling, and environmental treatment zones. The plan protects wetlands and steep slopes and encourages higher density and mixed-use developments. Four high-priority projects of the Kigali Sub Area Plans represent opportunities to rebuild and economically grow as a nation.