2016 Annual APA-MA Awards

APA-MA 2016 Planning Awards

It is time to celebrate recent planning success stories and those who make a difference in the planning profession. The American Planning Association – Massachusetts Chapter (APA-MA) is pleased to announce its 2016 APA-MA Awards Program. The APA-MA awards program is co‑sponsored by the Massachusetts Association of Planning Directors (MAPD). Each year APA-MA and MAPD acknowledge planners and their work through its awards program. The program is designed to recognize an outstanding planning project, special person, or organization for a significant contribution to the field of planning. The APA-MA awards program is open to any individual or planning project in MA.  Membership in APA is not required.  The nomination period is Friday, September 2, 2016 through Friday, October 7, 2016. Information is available on the APA-MA website. Awards will be presented at the APA-MA/MAPD Holiday Luncheon Friday, December 9, 2016 at Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge – save the date!

Award categories are listed below.

Outstanding Planning Awards

  • Comprehensive Planning Award: For a plan, program or process of unusually high merit such 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.
  • Planning Project Award: For a specific project, bylaw, ordinance, document, program, guidelines or planning tool of unusually high merit.
  • Social Advocacy Award: For a program, project, group or individual indicating a high level of advocacy planning on behalf of those in need.
  • Student Project Award: For an individual or group of students for an outstanding project.
  • Media Award: For excellence and comprehensive coverage of a planning or development issue.

Distinguished Leadership/Service Awards

  • Professional Planner Award: For sustaining contribution to the planning profession through distinguished practice, teaching or writing.
  • Faye Seigfriedt Award: For a planner who has contributed significantly to the advancement of women in the field of planning.
  • Legislator of the Year: For an elected official who has made a significant contribution to planning.
  • Citizen Planner Award: For a non-professional, citizen who has made a distinguished contribution to planning such as members of planning boards, zoning boards, economic development boards or other elected or appointed officials. It could also include roles of citizen activists or neighborhood leaders.
  • Distinguished Service Award: For an APA Member who has made a significant contribution to the development of the Chapter.
  • MAPD Chapter Award: For a special project or contribution identified by MAPD.
  • Young Planner Award: For a junior or mid-level young practicing planner who has excelled in leadership, increased the impact of planning in public and private decision making, or enhanced the APA-MA Chapter.


  • Nominations must represent projects, issues or people in Massachusetts.
  • The APA-MA awards program is open to any individual or planning project in MA.  Membership in APA is not required.
  • The work must represent an ongoing program or project, or have been completed within two calendar years preceding January 2016
  • Members of the APA-MA Awards Committee are not eligible to submit or receive awards.
  • The APA-MA Awards Committee may select a winner from each category, or only chosen categories, depending upon the submissions made.
  • Self nominated projects are always welcome.
  • Award recipients agree to the following:
    • Work with the Awards Committee to provide images and summary information to present at the Awards presentation at the APA/MAPD Holiday Luncheon.
    • Attempt to have at least one representative attend the APA/MAPD Holiday Luncheon on December 9, 2016 at Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge to receive the award (if possible, not required).
    • Work with the Awards Committee to develop a press release. This press release will be used by APA-MA and may be used by the Award recipient to promote the project in local publications.
    • Work with the APA-MA Regional Representative in which the Outstanding Planning Project Award project is located to host an event to tour, or otherwise highlight the project as a means to educate other APA-MA planners, during the next 12 months.
    • Consider submitting the project for a national APA award.


Evaluation Criteria for Outstanding Planning Awards

Demonstrate how the nominated project meets the following:

  • To what extent does the plan or project incorporate creative and innovative ideas? To what extent is the plan or project an original concept or refinement of an existing technique or procedure?
  • To what extent does the plan or project show excellence of thought, analysis, writing, graphics, etc.?
  • How does the plan or project provide example for other areas, projects or planners?
  • How have planning principles been observed and to what extent does the plan or project include elements important to the local community? How has the plan or project encouraged participation and included those left out of similar efforts in the past?
  • Does the plan or project incorporate measurable implementation tasks and goals and has the plan been supported by those responsible for implementation tasks? How has the plan or project made a difference in the lives of the people affected?

Evaluation Criteria for Distinguished Leadership/Service Awards

These awards submissions will be evaluated upon the specific purpose of each award category. Consideration will be given to the following:

  • Support of Planning. To what extent has the nominee’s time and dedication increased the understanding of planning principles and the planning process?
  • Representation: To what extent has the nominee’s work supported the goals of the organization or community of which he/she is a part?
  • How has the nominee promoted the cause and advanced the merits of planning? To what extent has the nominee been effective in formulating and implementing his/her plans and furthered the cause of planning?


The nomination period is Friday, September 2, 2016 through Friday, October 7, 2016

  • Nominations and all submission materials must be submitted by Friday, October 7, 2016, 4:00 p.m.
  • Applicants will be notified about selection in mid-November
  • Awards presented at the APA-MA/MAPD Holiday Luncheon Friday, December 9, 2016 at Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge.


Instructions and Submission Materials

If you wish to nominate a project or plan, complete the award nomination form and submit the following additional materials by email to awards@apa-ma.org:

  • Summary of the project’s or planner’s qualification (one-page maximum)
  • Explanation demonstrating how the project or planner meets the awards criteria as detailed above (three-page maximum)
  • Document support of the project, plan or planner through materials related to public outreach or letter(s) of recommendation
  • Any other supporting documentation that would help the awards committee in reviewing the application (i.e., copies of documents, maps, plans, photographs, press clippings, etc.)

More Information

More information about the awards process and lists of past recipients is available here

Specific questions about the nomination process and requirements may be directed to your APA-MA Regional Representative (contact information here) or submitted to awards@apa-ma.org


Make your project known on a national level!

APA National Planning Excellence Awards: Projects and plans must have been completed within the past 3 years. Submissions are due September 9, 2016 and will be announced at the APA National Conference in New York City. APA-MA Award winners should consider submitting a national application for 2017!

APA Great Places:  Know a great neighborhood, street, or public space? APA accepts suggestions year-round. Suggestions received after April 29, 2016, will be considered for a Great Places in America designation in 2017.