APA Florida is pleased to announce the opening of its 2020 Project Awards Program application cycle. This program provides APA Florida the opportunity to recognize outstanding planning projects in the State of Florida at its annual conference. The program provides APA Florida members with the chance to see and learn about development, conservation, government, or environmental projects, where planning has had a positive impact on the outcome. The Project Awards Committee will be looking for innovativeness and quality, and the potential for use in other areas.

Apply today! Deadline is May 4

Get practice application, deadlines and more on the Florida Planning Conference page


Eligible planning projects are those completed within the last two years in Florida. An awards application should be on a flashdrive and include a copy of the planning document and a completed application form. The APA Florida Chapter Office must receive an award application by Monday, May 4, 2020. (Student Project Award applications are due by May 10.) Incomplete applications or those not received in the APA Florida Chapter office by the deadline will not be considered. Space permitting, award recipients may have the opportunity to display their projects at the Florida Planning Conference in Orlando, September 8-11, 2020. The award recipients will be notified by early July of their selection. Those selected for an Award of Excellence will be requested to provide a short video for the awards ceremony. The Awards of Excellence and Awards of Merit will be presented to the recipients at the opening morning session, Wednesday, September 9, 2020.

Nominations will be evaluated for the award category in which they are submitted. However, the Awards Committee may upon majority vote, move a nomination to a different category, if appropriate. Generally, only one Award of Excellence and one Award of Merit are granted per category each year. If the Awards Committee finds that none of the nominations in a particular category meets the desirable standards, they may opt not to grant an award in that category for that year. The jurors make the distinction between Awards of Excellence and Awards of Merit based on several factors including scoring, innovation, superior quality, transferability, and other factors.

Projects must fall under one of the following seven categories:

Planning Project Award for a specific physical planning project of unusually high merit that is in the process of being constructed or has been constructed within the last two years. The project should demonstrate “on-the-ground” results that are supported by documentable physical or social change. Examples include streetscape plans; public space plans; hospital, college or other campus plan.

Comprehensive Plan Award for a comprehensive plan, or individual element, of unusually high merit completed and adopted by the public agency within the last two years for, by, or within a jurisdiction with the most recent BEBR official population estimate of 50,000 or more (Large Jurisdiction) or of less than 50,000 (Small Jurisdiction)

Best Practices Award 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 ordinances, regulations, legislation, adopted policy and codes, tax policies or initiatives, growth management or design guidelines, transferable development rights program, land acquisition efforts, public/private partnerships, applications of technology, handbooks, or efforts to foster greater participation in community planning.

Examples include regulations and codes, tax policies or initiatives, growth management or design guidelines, transferable development rights programs, land acquisition efforts, public-private partnerships, applications of technology, handbooks, or efforts that foster greater participation in community planning

Grassroots Initiative Award for an initiative that illustrates how a community utilized the planning process to address a need that extends beyond the traditional scope of planning. Emphasis is placed on the success of planning in new or different settings. Nominated projects should expand public understanding of the planning process. This could include such efforts as community policing or drug prevention, neighborhood outreach initiatives, programs designed for special populations, public art or cultural efforts, community festivals, environmental or conservation initiatives, summer recreational initiatives for children, or focused tourism ventures.

Neighborhood Planning Award for a neighborhood plan, program, design, or related effort that demonstrates innovative planning principles and measures that creates sustainable neighborhoods that have lasting value.

Innovation in Planning for All Ages Award for a project, program or campaign that emphasizes innovative planning in meeting the needs of the 50+ population and demonstrates how communities can become more age-friendly. Nominations may include such things as pedestrian infrastructure, innovative transportation programs that increase senior mobility, placemaking and outdoor spaces projects fostering intergenerational and multi-cultural connection and socialization, project design that promote wellness and active aging. This award is sponsored by AARP Florida and winner will be showcased on AARP media properties. 

Outstanding Student Project Award to recognize outstanding class projects or papers by a student or group of students in accredited planning programs in Florida that contribute to advances in the field of planning. While it is appropriate to submit a project or paper on which a faculty member(s) has given guidance, the submission should be primarily the work of the students.