2019 Award Recipients


Outstanding Planning Project:  Advancing Diversity and Social Change 

Viva La Avenida Area Specific Plan

Roosevelt Park is a neighborhood located just south of Downtown Grand Rapids and the Heartside District . Viva la Avenida is an Area Specific Plan for Grandville Avenue, the primary corridor through the Roosevelt Park community.  The Plan is the culmination of a broad base of community input, feedback, and intentional participation. The inclusive community involvement process involved a week-long bilingual charette, walking tours, visioning meetings, neighborhood surveying, and tactical traffic calming to simulate preliminary recommendations in the Plan. Translators and a bilingual and bicultural consultant team were included in every step of the process, bridging language and cultural barriers between participants and facilitators. Congratulations to Aligned Planning, Williams & Works, Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association, Nederveld, and Habitat for Humanity, Kent County!

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Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan

Kalamazoo County Master Plan

The goal of this Plan was to engage each municipality; identify and confirm the Kalamazoo Metropolitan County Planning Commission (KMCPC), County Administration’s, and County Commissioners’ understanding of local issues; educate the municipalities about countywide and significant trends; and provide a compelling document with data, resources, and useful information. It was also an opportunity to inform municipalities that an updated plan made them eligible for grant funding that could be used for projects across the county. During those face-to-face meetings with all 24 municipalities, the County reinforced its redefined role to its constituents: instead of serving as an overarching governmental body with authority to supersede localities’ planning efforts, the KMCPC campaigned as an entity that more appropriately serves as a resource provider and facilitator.The KMCPC continued to deliver on its goal as provider and facilitator with an action plan dedicated solely to those tasks, and a go-to guide for assistance of all kinds. The succinct action plan focuses specifically on Education, Convention, and Coordination. Congratulations to Kalamazoo Metropolitan County Planning Commission and Beckett & Raeder, Inc.!

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2018 Livingston County Master Plan
This master plan was created by a staff of 3 in the Livingston County Planning Department.  The plan is a fully web-based, interactive plan, containing hundreds of links to trends and best practices intended to influence both the master plans and zoning ordinances of each of the 20 local municipalities in Livingston County.  It focuses on features that connect each municipality such as natural features and transportation networks.  An alternative to the future land use map is a county wide map that identifies border issues or conflicts, community strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.  A photo contest provided great visuals to make the plan more compelling.   An entire year of public engagement included use of the regular County planning "Brown Bag Lunches" and visits to all municipal planning commissions.  Many municipalities in Livingston County do not have the time or personnel to research new planning techniques.  The county's extensive research and innovative approach provides a communal toolkit to help local government make educated decisions.  The plan also received recognition for Best Practice.   Congratulations to the Livingston County Planning Department! 

Outstanding Planning Project:  Environmental Planning

GO! Green Oshtemo Parks and Recreation, Conservation and Nonmotorized Plan

The GO! Green Oshtemo Parks and Recreation, Conservation and Nonmotorized Plan is the first of its kind for Oshtemo Township where parks, recreation, nonmotorized facilities, and conservation of open space and greenways is planned in a comprehensive and coordinated way.  The Conceptual Framework Map examines all of these assets and features in a way that links Oshtemo in its entirety. The long-term goal is to allow those who live in the rural area access to the urban amenities of the Township and those who live in the developed area an opportunity to connect to nature. The public input has provided Township leaders and staff a better understanding of its residents’ needs and desires. The GO! Green Oshtemo Plan captures these needs and provides goals and action strategies to accomplish the desired improvements. Congratulations Charter Township of Oshtemo!  

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Peninsula Township’s
Purchase of Development Rights Program

Peninsula Township has some of the most impressive scenery in all of Michigan with rolling hills, 42 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, along with orchards and vineyards with wineries.  The same geographical attributes that form an ideal place for agriculture also create a highly desirable place to live. This results in environmental protection challenges, which have been met with careful planning and zoning practices. Peninsula Township has demonstrated leadership by creating one of the first publicly-funded Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) Program in the United States (first in the Midwest). In 1994, voters agreed to tax themselves and raise $6 million to fund a program to purchase development rights. Today, more than 3,347 acres are subject to PDR restrictions. MAP congratulates Peninsula Township!

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Outstanding Planning Project: Grass Roots Initiative

Wickes Park Plan

Wickes Park is the only park within walking distance of Saginaw’s low income, predominantly African-American and Hispanic Southeast Neighborhood. With the decline of the city’s population, and a commensurate decline in city revenues, Wickes Park was functionally abandoned by the city. Get Outside for a Healthy Inside (GOHI) and the Southeast Neighborhood Association recognized the importance of the park to community health and the neighborhood. These organizations, with financial support from the Saginaw Community Foundation applied for and received an American Planning Association CPAT grant.

While the CPAT produced a revitalization plan for the park, the planning process resulted in a neighborhood association (Southeast Neighborhood Association) and community organization (GOHI) that have sustained community and government interest in the park; convincing government, private and foundation interests to partner with them in order to revitalize the park.  The plan has been a catalyst allowing them to broaden their reach to improve opportunities for community betterment, employment, and community health throughout the City.  MAP congratulates GOHI and the Southeast Neighborhood Association for their efforts. 

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Outstanding Planning Project: Public Outreach

Impacting Your City – Youth Initiative

Impacting Your City is a semester long high school course designed to enable meaningful youth influence over city planning and to encourage lifelong participation in the democratic process.  As part of this approach to learning, students at Community High School are allowed to take a Community Resource (CR) credit, which is meant to utilize local experts for learning in the classroom as well as in the community. The course uses the “community as a classroom,” with classes taking place at a number of locations in the community, including City Hall, other city facilities, local businesses, and in the downtown. Specific topics for the pilot class include local government basics, solid waste services, water resources, urban form and planning, and leadership. As students are educated on these topics they are also asked to provide their perspective to city staff and policy makers on what would best serve both youth and the community as whole.  Congratulations to the City of Ann Arbor and Community High School!

Rochester Hills 2019 Master Plan Update

At the outset of the Rochester Hills Master Plan Update, the city expressed the importance of gathering public input to ensure that the Master Plan reflected the vision of the community as whole. To engage the public, the planning process included a range of online and in-person opportunities, including but not limited to Open House Story Maps, fourth grade surveys, art contest, and promotional videos.  Combining technology, good planning practices, and city leadership led to a transparent process supported by public trust.  Residents expressed satisfaction at the amount of information available.  This validation gives the city, its residents and businesses the confidence to move the city forward.  MAP congratulates Rochester Hills and Giffels Webster!

Outstanding Planning Project:  Transportation Planning

The Treeline -- Allen Creek Urban Trail Master Plan

The Treeline Master Plan proposes an urban trail, lined by green space and infrastructure, which will provide safe, non-motorized travel through the core of the city while addressing flooding issues associated with Allen Creek.  As a separated/protected non-motorized facility, the Treeline trail will truly meet the needs of children, seniors, people with disabilities, and those who are simply not comfortable commuting by bike alongside cars. The trail offers increased access to natural areas and green spaces and serves as an extension for a network of trails that includes the statewide Iron Bell Trail and the countywide Border-to-Border Trail.  MAP congratulates the planning efforts of the City of Ann Arbor, Treeline Conservancy, and Smithgroup!

Outstanding Planning Project:  Urban Design

Downtown Grand Rapids Streetspace Guidelines 

The largest collection of public space in Downtown Grand Rapids is represented by the city’s streets. Beyond their use for moving people and goods, streets comprise an extensive network of public space that facilities economic, social, cultural, and civic activities.  The guide, geared to inform public and private investment decisions, ultimately aims to accelerate Downtown Grand Rapids’ emergence as a beautiful urban neighborhood that is safe and welcoming for everyone. The plan had few boundaries of what areas could be reimagined and better used through the proposed designs.  Congratulations to Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc, Aligned Planning, Nederveld, and Williams & Works!

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Outstanding Graduate Student Award

Bridging the Border:  Collaborative Strategies to Enhance Kelly Road Retail 
University of Michigan 
Urban and Regional Planning Program

Bridging the Border offers suggestions to increase safety, enjoyment and investment along the 1.2 mile section of Kelly road that separates the City of Detroit from the City of Harper Woods. Through rigorous analysis of various conditions including community feedback, traffic, public space and housing conditions, students explored how these conditions, could all be improved to enhance the corridor and supporting the residents of both cities. The students drafted 22 short term, 13 medium term and 7 long term strategies. Leaders from LifeBUILDERS and the City of Harper Woods continue to implement the recommendations proposed in this plan.  MAP congratulates the students for their exceptional work!

Outstanding Graduate Student Award -- Honorable Mention

Northwest Detroit: Open for Business
A Commercial Revitalization Handbook
Wayne State University
Urban Studies and Planning Program

The Northwest Detroit Commercial Revitalization Guidebook proposes a strategy to revitalize the commercial corridors of the McNichols Road and Schaefer Highway surrounding the Sinai-Grace Hospital Campus within the City of Detroit. This project expanded on the Northwest Detroit Neighborhood Revitalization Vision and Strategic Framework that set the stage for the priorities of the neighborhood through collaboration with various stakeholders from local institutions, faith-based organizations, small businesses, and residents.  Objectives for the Guidebook included practical information on how to build out a business incubator space in the former Federal Department Store; create a community land trust by explaining the different types and functions, and providing goals; and implement the Northwest Detroit Business Improvement District (BID). This section of the guidebook begins by defining a BID, and then provides the steps necessary to create a BID in Northwest Detroit. MAP congratulates the students of Wayne State University for their exemplary work!

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 Leadership Award for Planning Advocate

Latesha Lipscomb

As part of the City of Grand Rapids' Heartside Quality of Life project, city planners wanted to explore ways to engage residents at a deep, grassroots level. Planners knew that they needed someone rooted in the community to serve as a leader to make that happen. One name repeatedly rose to the top, and the city knew it needed Latesha on board for the project. Much of the success of Heartside Quality of Life effort is directly attributed to her drive and commitment to the community. In many ways, she was increasing her understanding of planning along with the participants. This shared journey helped to break down barriers of mistrust and apathy in the neighborhood and built tremendous capacity for leadership among neighborhood residents. Because of her work, MAP is presenting this award to her.

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Leadership Award for Professional Planner 

Peter Eldridge, AICP
Zoning Administrator, City of Kalamazoo

Mr. Eldridge serves as the Zoning Administrator for the City of Kalamazoo.   In his over 15 years at the City, he has spearheaded several zoning initiatives. Recently, Pete was instrumental in creating a Zoning Ordinance for Potential Land Area for Safety Compliance Facilities for Medical Marihuana and updating the City’s Abandoned Residential Structure Ordinance.   Now as the City of Kalamazoo systematically updates its zoning code and completes neighborhood plans, he provides information, create feedback exercises, and adds a critical eye to new zoning districts as they develop. Congratulations!

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