GPA recognizes outstanding work in the planning profession in the State of Georgia with the annual GPA Awards Program.

How it Works

The Georgia Planning Association is looking for outstanding planning projects and leaders from across the state for its 2019 Awards Program. Think big! We are looking for projects that range from transportation to land use, environment to public health, and beyond. The list below represents some of the most common types of projects, but we encourage you to submit any outstanding projects that advance the state of the practice. We are looking for distinguished planners and elected officials as well.

  • Transportation/mobility
  • Land use/zoning
  • Comprehensive plan/master plan
  • Neighborhood/community revitalization plan
  • Public health (e.g. Community health needs assessment)
  • Environmental
  • Parks/recreation/open space
  • Housing
  • Hazard mitigation/community resiliency
  • Economic development
  • Historic preservation
  • Student projects

The awards will be judged based on the following criteria:

  • Innovation of concept
  • Transferability to other areas or projects
  • Quality of thought, analysis, and character
  • Effectiveness of, or promise for, Implementation
  • Comprehensiveness of principles observed
  • Strong effort to solicit Public Participation
  • Use of Technology in planning processes
  • Demonstration of Equity in planning processes and implemented projects
  • Integration of Sustainable practices to mitigate adverse impacts from development and everyday living
  • Demonstration of collaboration and partnerships with state and local governments, other public entities, private entities, nonprofit entities, or other non-traditional partners

NOTE: All awards will need to meet the criteria above. Each award category may have a particular emphasis on one or more of the above criteria or additional criteria not included, which will be noted below.

Award Categories

  1. Outstanding Planning Process: Recognizing the quality and completeness of the overall planning process
    This award category is the most comprehensive and holistic of all award categories with a focus on the overall planning process. This includes comprehensiveness of technical and data analysis, stakeholder and community outreach, documentation and deliverables, and positioning for implementation.

    Focus Criteria: Emphasis on public involvement and transferability, equity, sustainability, and technology

  2. Outstanding Planning Document: Focusing on a specific planning deliverable that goes above and beyond the traditional planning document in terms of communication, graphics, storytelling, and overall quality of thought and delivery

    The focus of this category is on the quality of a document that is created in the planning process. This document should be a culminating document or report of significance as opposed to a singular exhibit used part way through the process.

    Focus Criteria: Emphasis on connection to the plan; quality of narrative and graphic communications, technology

  3. Outstanding Plan Implementation: Recognizing an effort that demonstrates a significant achievement for an area (a single community or a region) in accomplishing positive changes as a result of planning

    This award emphasizes long-term, measurable results.  Nominated efforts should have been in continuous effect for a minimum of three (3) years, not including the time for plan preparation and approval.  Examples: Plans for smart growth, signage, farmland preservation, urban design, wetland mitigation, resource conservation, capital improvements, citizen participation, neighborhood improvement, transportation management, complete streets, or sustained economic development.

    Focus Criteria: Emphasis on connection to the original plan; effectiveness of implementation, equity, and sustainability

  4. Outstanding Initiative: For a specific planning tool, practice, program, project, or process that is a significant advancement to specific elements of planning

    This category emphasizes results and demonstrates how innovative and state-of-the-art planning methods and practices helped to implement a plan. Nominations may include such things as regulations and codes, tax policies or initiatives, policies or plans that foster lifelong or livable communities, growth management or design guidelines, transferable development rights program, land acquisition efforts, public / private partnerships, applications of technology, handbooks, or efforts that foster greater participation in community planning. This category is intended to recognize specific initiatives that may not fall into the category of a planning process.

    Focus Criteria: Collaboration among stakeholders, innovation, promise for implementation, equity, and sustainability

  5. Outstanding Public Outreach and Journalism: For an initiative illustrating how a region or community involves the general public in a planning activity, above and beyond the minimum state or local requirements

    This category emphasizes successful efforts to engage the public, as well as programs to raise the overall level of understanding of planning, economic development, environmental, or integrated issues. Nominations should demonstrate the role of outreach and public education in improving planning results, and may include initiatives such as media programs, newsletters, consensus building, interactive systems, electronic participation, audio and video programs, and similar efforts. This category also recognizes journalism that demonstrates excellence in the analysis and description of planning issues in a community or throughout the State of Georgia. Journalism nominations must have appeared in publications of general circulation or in specialized circulation statewide. 

    Focus Criteria: Strong effort to solicit public participation, demonstration of equity, use of technology, and demonstration of collaboration and partnerships

  6. Outstanding Student Project: For a student-led or completed project associated with one of Georgia’s undergraduate or graduate planning, policy, or related programs

    This award recognizes a student project that exemplifies state of the practice across an array of planning fields. Professional planners and academics may be involved, but the core of the work must be completed by a group of students.

    Focus Criteria: Demonstrates the contribution to contemporary planning and best application of planning processes

  7. Distinguished Leadership Awards: Given to individuals for sustained, significant contributions to the planning profession.
    1. Distinguished Planning Leadership Award – To a member of the Georgia Chapter for sustained contribution to the profession through distinguished practice, teaching, or writing.
    2. Distinguished Elected Leadership Award – To an individual elected to local, state, or national office who has advanced or promoted the cause of planning.

Online application  Contact us with questions