APA-MA Awards

2019 Annual Awards

2019 Annual Awards Categories and Criteria


 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. Depending on the number of nominations, multiple awards may be given to recognize statewide, small- (pop: less than 20k), mid- (pop: less than 100k), or large-sized municipalities.

Planning Project Award: For a specific project, bylaw, ordinance, document, program, guidelines, or planning tool of unusually high merit. Depending on the number of nominations, multiple awards may be given to recognize statewide, small- (pop: less than 20k), mid- (pop: less than 100k), or large-sized municipalities.

Transportation & Mobility Planning Award: For transportation planning, corridor studies, transit planning, non-motorized plans, pedestrian plans, transportation demand management, and or transportation capital planning.

Sustainability & Resiliency Award: For a plan, project, or initiative related to sustainability, resiliency, and/or climate change.

Social Advocacy Award: For a program, project, group, or individual that advanced social justice, inclusion, and fairness for marginalized populations.

Student Project Award: For an individual or group of students for an outstanding project. Multiple awards may be given with recognition of specific topics or issues.

Journalism & Communications Award: For excellence in journalistic/media coverage of a planning or development issue, or the use of social media or other efforts to advance public engagement.

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 examples 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?


Professional Planner Award: For long-term or a significant contribution to the planning profession through distinguished practice, teaching, or writing. Recipients must be members of APA-MA.

Faye Siegfriedt Award: For a planner who has contributed significantly to the advancement of women in the field of planning.

Elected Official of the Year: For a federal, state, or local 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.

Emerging/Rising Planner Award: For an entry- to mid-level career (less than 12 years) practicing planner who has excelled in leadership, increased the impact of planning in public and/or private decision making, or enhanced the APA-MA Chapter.

Community of the Year: Given to a municipality for providing an outstanding contribution to planning.

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?


  • 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 or the Massachusetts Chapter is not required.
  • The work must represent an ongoing program or project, or have been completed within two calendar years.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • For Outstanding Planning Awards, work with the APA-MA Regional Representative for the community in which the Outstanding Planning Award project is located to host an event, 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 or as part of a session for SNEAPA or MAPD’s Annual Conference.


NOTE: Nominations for the Elected Official of the Year Award are due by Sunday, September 29th; nominations for all other awards are due by Sunday, October 27th

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.
  • 1-3 photos (.jpg format) representative of the project or plan, with an individual file size of no more than 1 Megabytes.
  • 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.)


Specific questions about the nomination process and requirements may be directed to your APA-MA Regional Representative or to communications@apa-ma.org

Additional Awards

In addition to the awards noted above and recognized by the Awards Committee, the following awards are also given:

MAPD Chapter Award: For a special project or contribution identified by MAPD.

President’s Award: Awarded by the President of APA-MA.

The Charles E. Downe Memorial Award: Awarded by the Trustees of the Charles Downe Memorial Fund in memory of Charles E. Downe, a pioneer in the planning field who exhibited the best attributes of a professional and citizen planner, as well as a teacher and mentor of planners. This award recognizes planners who best exemplifies public outreach, mentoring of young planners, demonstrated patience and the utmost integrity.

2018 Awards

2018 APA-MA Annual Planning Award Recipients

On December 14, 2018, the American Planning Association, Massachusetts Chapter (APA-MA) and the Massachusetts Association of Planning Directors (MAPD) celebrated the holiday season and honored innovative planning projects and professionals across Massachusetts during the Annual Awards and Holiday Luncheon at Breed Memorial Hall, Tufts University. To learn more about the 2018 recipients go to : 2018 APA-MA MAPD Awards Recipients.