Great Places in Florida Award

2022 Great Places in Florida Award Nominations Open


APA Florida's 9th Annual Great Places in Florida award program is now accepting nominations. Beginning this year, we have restructured the award program to focus on community planning element themes.

Great Places in Florida is a unique awards program as communities submit nominations 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 representing 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 Healthy Places.

 A Great Healthy Place celebrates community amenities that encourage activity and exploration. Whether it’s a bicycle or greenway network, concerted efforts for social interaction and/or aging in place, access to locally sourced foods, a commitment to sustainable ecosystems and the environment, or the active involvement of children in the community – healthy living has no boundaries. Nominees must align with the Great Healthy Place theme and contribute to the greater community’s social, economic, and environmental well-being for the long term. Any Street, Public Space, Greenway/Trail, or Downtown in your community with these attributes is eligible for submission.

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.

Please review the rules, criteria and entry information below.  


Definitions for Rules:

  • Entrant(s) – The person(s) or entity that nominated the Place.

  • Place – the Place or Project nominated by Entrant that can be categorized. 

  • Theme – the annual award Theme. 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 on the Selection Committee. 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 and how the Place adheres to the annual Theme (Section 3). 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 or videos provided, to help determine the finalists that will be posted for the public vote. 


The Theme Criteria provided below must be addressed in the long description portion of the nomination packet:

The 2022 theme is Great Healthy Place:

  • A Great Healthy Place celebrates community amenities that encourage activity and exploration. Whether it's a bicycle or greenway network, concerted efforts for social interaction and/or aging in place, access to locally sourced foods, a commitment to sustainable ecosystems and the environment, or the active involvement of children in the community - healthy living has no boundaries. 
  • A Great Healthy Place is well maintained, welcoming, and accommodating for users of all abilities and backgrounds.
  • A Great Healthy Place provides access to health, wellness, and/or nutritional programs and services that promote a positive mental and physical well-being. 
  • A Great Healthy Place provides space for safe social interactions that foster community identity and empowerment.
  • A Great Healthy Place has design and/or architectural features that are visually interesting while incorporating environmentally sustainable practices and/or materials. 

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. 


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.


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.


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 resolution 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. The video must be less than two (2) minutes long. You may provide a URL to a video on YouTube, Vimeo, or similar platform in a .pdf, .doc, .docx file. If your video is more than 2 minutes long, it will not be included in your submission materials. 

  • Video file size limit: 500 MB
  • Please review the Rules explanation of image usage and licensing.


  • Finalists picked by the Selection Committee will be placed on a ballot for public voting dispersed by APA Florida via email and social platforms. 
  • Voting will only occur in the timeframe stipulated on Great Places in Florida web pages.
  • Finalists are encouraged to create campaigns to promote Place to their respective communities.
  • Creating bots or rigging any system to sway outcome of final vote tally could result in disqualification.
  • Finalists with most votes wins the Great Places in Florida People’s Choice Award.  

Follow the link below

Past Winners