10th Annual Great Places in Florida Coming Soon

Get ready for the 10th Annual Great Places in Florida Award nomination window. This year we are focusing on Great Resilient Places. 

Great Places in Florida is a unique awards program as all nominations are submitted by communities and the public determines the winner. Each year the nominees focus on unique, memorable places that work for the good of their community and attract people to visit them. The award is an annual selection of places that represent the gold standard of having a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for tomorrow. A newly restructured program includes an annual theme that includes planning elements that contribute to the “greatness” of a space or place. This year’s theme is Great Resilient Places.

A Great Resilient Place embodies the ability to thrive amidst changing conditions and to conserve resources for present and future generations. Any Street, Public Space, Greenway/Trail, or Downtown in your community is eligible for submission. Please review the award criteria and guidelines BELOW.

Finalists will be chosen by a panel of multidisciplinary experts, and the Great Places in Florida winner will be chosen by the public in the People’s Choice voting round.

Contest timeline:

  • Nomination period opens: June 26, 2023.
  • Nominations are due by: 5 pm ET on July 31, 2023.
  • Selection committee will deliberate and announce finalists: Aug. 25, 2023.
  • People’s Choice Award voting runs: Aug. 28 – Sept. 29, 2023.
  • Winner will be announced: Monday, Oct. 2, 2023 to kick off National Community Planning Month activities. 


Definitions for Rules:

  • Entrant(s) – The person(s) or entity that nominated the Place
  • Place – the Place or Project nominated by Entrant which can be categorized as
  • Theme – the annual award Theme. Finalists will move on to public voting (People’s Choice). See Theme Criteria for description of the selected theme

All Entrants grant APA Florida the right to use any and all information related to the competition, including information on nominations obtained through the competition, for marketing purposes or any other purpose, unless prohibited by law. Entrants must hold all copyrights to images and videos being submitted or obtain a written permission from the image owner to submit with nomination.  If an Entrant submits images and does not have the correct license for use, any fines levied upon APA Florida will be passed onto the Entrant.  By entering the contest, Entrant agrees to pay these fines, if levied.

Officers, employees, consultants, and agents of municipalities in which nominations are located are not eligible to serve as judges. All judges will be made public on the APA Florida chapter website.

APA Florida reserves the right to limit the number of Great Place finalists based on the quality of the nominations received. Each Place can only be identified as  falling under one (1) category (For instance, City Riverwalk  is either Public Space or Greenway/Trail). If multiple entries for the same Place are nominated by different Entrants, APA Florida will contact all Entrants to determine the most applicable category.

The Entrant for the Great Place designated, by acceptance of the designation, agrees to release APA Florida, its officers, employees, and agents from all liability, claims, or actions of any kind whatsoever for injuries, damages, or losses to persons and property which may be sustained in connection with the receipt, ownership, or use of the Great Place designation.

Each application should include contact information for an official representative of the Place. This should be an individual with authority to coordinate receipt of the award with APA Florida. A press conference or award ceremony for the winner will not be the responsibility of APA Florida, however we will make every effort to coordinate such an event with the official representative and ensure that a representative of the organization is present to deliver the award if requested. Any images taken at the ceremony will be used for APA Florida marketing purposes. APA Florida is not responsible for acquiring consent of persons appearing in photos during the ceremony, especially if the ceremony is held in a public space. 



Each Entrant must submit a short description of the Place not to exceed 150 words. It must describe the Place and what makes it great. If selected as a finalist, this description will be used in the People’s Choice Award voting ballot.


Each Entrant must submit a Place long description, not more than 1,000 words, that will be reviewed by the Judges to base their final selection. Be sure to identify:

  • The responsible jurisdiction (city, county, etc.)
  • Physical size or dimensions
  • Clearly state the category (Street, Public Space, Greenway/Trail, or Downtown)
  • Describe how the Place fits this year’s Theme (See Theme Criteria)
  • Include additional details about the Place (special significance to the community, other recognitions received, etc)
Remember these descriptions will be used by the Selection committee in conjunction with the photos that you provide to help determine the finalists that will be posted for the public vote.


The Theme criteria below are provided below and must be addressed in the long description portion of the nomination packet. This year’s theme is a Great Resilient Place. A Great Resilient Place embodies the ability to thrive amidst changing conditions and to conserve resources for present and future generations.
  • A Great Resilient Place is characterized by solutions that address problems across multiple sectors thus creating maximum benefits. It should incorporate coordination across multiple sectors, geographical scales, and units of government.
  • A Great Resilient Place reduces risks to human well-being, physical infrastructure, and natural systems.
  • A Great Resilient Place provides solutions that are inclusive with consideration to populations that are most vulnerable to external stresses. These populations include but not limited to, underrepresented groups, low-income communities, communities of color, limited English proficient communities, and individuals with disabilities.
  • A Great Resilient Place utilizes new approaches and techniques that encourages continual improvement and advancement of best practices that can serve as models for other entities.
  • A Great Resilient Place uses the best available scientific understanding of climate change risks, impacts, and vulnerabilities.
  • A Great Resilient Place protects biodiversity and ecosystem services through adaptation strategies that increase resilience of human and natural systems to climate change and other risks, providing benefits to society and the environment.

The guidelines are provided below to help guide your description and we encourage you to use them if they apply. Please note that while descriptions are provided for four different categories of Places there is no set number of finalists per category, all categories will receive equal weight when looked on by the selection committee.

  • Street - A street comprises the entire three-dimensional visual corridor, including the public realm and how it relates to adjacent land uses. Street types range from pedestrian-only and local streets to collector and arterial thoroughfares. Since there is a separate category for downtowns, the street should not be located within a downtown area.
  • Public Space - A Public Space may be a formal or informal gathering space within a neighborhood, district, waterfront or other area of a community that is within the public realm. Public spaces may be indoors or outdoors, man-made or natural, and provide opportunities for passive or active social interactions. Some examples of public spaces include plazas, parks, public commons, public libraries, marketplaces, convention centers, monuments, and special areas within public or private buildings. Since there is a separate category for downtowns, the public space should not be located within a downtown area.
  • Greenway/Trail - A Greenway/Trail is a linear parcel of land or right-of-way set aside to preserve/protect open space, scenic landscapes, historical resources, natural resources and plant/animal habitats. It can be found in urban, suburban and rural settings and is frequently created out of a disused railway, canal towpath, utility, or similar corridor. Locations in areas unsuitable for development, such as floodplain areas, stream corridors, and woodlands, are also common. A greenway/trail provides linkages to connect people to services, places of employment or entertainment, natural and/or recreation areas or features. It can be limited to foot traffic or accommodate multiple users (pedestrians, bicyclists, horseback riders). Since there is a separate category for downtowns, the greenway/trail should not be located within a downtown area.
  • Downtown - A Downtown is “the main business district or central part of a city or town.” A downtown is composed of things such as great dining, shopping, arts and culture, and recreation that attract local residents as well as visitors which creates a thriving and exciting community. If an Entrant is nominating a Place within a downtown boundary it should be categorized as such. The Place does not have to be the whole downtown/central business district.  

Remember, the criteria above have been provided to help guide submittals; they are by no means the only items that can be mentioned in the description of the Place. The guidelines and criteria set the minimum expectations for Entrants and the Selection Committee.


All Entrants must submit between four (4) to eight (8) high quality images that demonstrate the qualities or characteristics that you are trying to highlight in your Long Description narrative. Photos with people in them are preferred but not mandatory.
  • Image file types accepted: .JPG, .JPEG, .PNG,
  • Image file size limit: 10 MB

Each Entrant may, but is not required to, submit one (1) video that highlights the Theme Criteria for the Place which you are nominating. You can upload the video into the Award entry system or provide a URL to a video on YouTube, Vimeo, or similar platform. Please review the Rules explanation of image usage and licensing.