2022 Award Recipients

Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan

City of East Jordan Master Plan

City of East Jordan and Beckett and Raeder, Inc. 

This master planning process placed a special emphasis on developing realizable visions for three priority redevelopment sites: the former East Jordan Foundry, the city-owned Community Center downtown, and a former boat launch site. Evocative renderings throughout the plan illustrate the city's vision. Relying on descriptions of land uses, setbacks, and photographic architectural styles do not have the same impact or generate the same level of enthusiasm as a visual representation.  Jurors said, "Unique discussions on natural resources, broadband access, tree cover, and impervious surfaces were well detailed and supported with data and case studies."  Congratulations to the City of East Jordan and Beckett and Raeder! Click here to watch the award presentation. 

East Jordan Master Plan Rendering 

Outstanding Planning Project: Best Practice

Holland Unified Development Ordinance

City of Holland and McKenna

The Unified Development Ordinance includes a number of innovative features that advance, best practices in zoning and other development regulations: a user guide, to make navigating the document easier for everyone; no commercial districts; instead mixed use districts allow for much-needed housing; unique situations, such as historic neighborhoods, the airport, and the waterfront, are taken into account; and both policies and regulations regarding street design are included in order to more clearly tie the public realm to the private realm.  Jurors said, "The UDO is dense, but easily navigable and written to be accessible by residents or developers; the "how to" guide was great - more codes need this. The regulations are directly linked to policies adopted by the community."  MAP congratulates the City of Holland and McKenna!  Click here to watch the award presentation. 

Holland UDO Facade Rendering

Outstanding Planning Project: Implementation

Macomb Township Master Plan - MTC

Macomb Township and Carlisle | Wortman Associates, Inc.

The Macomb Town Center (MTC) is an emerging mixed-use development that aims to serve as a "downtown". This plan started as a vision in the late 1990s. In 2001, to spur development, Macomb Township built its township hall, recreation center here. In 2020, the MTC became the focal point of a much larger land use vision. Through virtual work sessions, the township's planning department convinced elected officials, developers, property owners and residents of the importance to continue the original MTC vision. Conversely, public comments and questions regarding preferences gave the staff insight, which required some rethinking. As staff presented facts and information, attitudes improved, and interest reenergized.  Support was received from elected officials, residents and developers alike. Due to collaboration and renewed vigor, the MTC now has roughly 1,000 residential units either built or being built and thousands more that are in the planning and engineering process.  Jurors said, "It seems that forward-minded thinking in the 1990s set the foundation for future efforts in the Cultivate Macomb! Master Plan and Town Center vision."  Congratulations to the Macomb Township and Carlisle | Wortman Associates, Inc.!  Click here to watch the award presentation. 

MTC Aerial Graphic

Outstanding Planning Project: Resiliency and Sustainability

The City of Sterling Heights Sustainability Plan

City of Sterling Heights

The City of Sterling Heights Sustainability Plan aims to implement over fifty local initiatives, to ensure that the city regularly operates in a manner that does not deplete resources for future generations. The plan’s foundation is the 17 United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and each section highlights the pertinent SDG’s applicable to that portion of the plan.  Jurors said, "We found the topic areas to be highly specific to Sterling Heights including a deep dive into opportunities and challenges within the context of the community; further we appreciated the focus on avoid flooding issues by being proactive and purchasing flood prone parcels prior to these properties being developed."  MAP congratulates the City of Sterling Heights!  Click here to watch the award presentation. 

New Plantings in Sterling Heights

Outstanding Planning Project: Urban Design

Lake Center District Corridor and Placemaking Study 

City of Portage 

The Lake Center District’s unique characteristics, environmental resources, and diversity of stakeholders make it a special place in the City of Portage. The plan tackles Portage Road’s challenges, opportunities, and illustrates the trade-offs that occur with the public right-of-way and puts forth recommendations to rebalance the right-of-way to support more diverse multimodal uses. Extensive community engagement over the 18-month project, conducted before the pandemic, and during the pandemic by utilizing digital tools and outdoor workshops to provide safe participation.  A phased implementation plan for achieving goals provides a practical blueprint and the City has already completed the majority of the Year 1 Action Plan.  Jurors said, "We were impressed to see significant capital funds allocated in first year for projects."  Congratulations to the City of Portage!  Click here to watch the award presentation. 

Implementation Matrix

Outstanding Graduate Student Awards

Read about the awards below.  Watch the award program video here. 
After the Deluge Capstone Project
University of Michigan 
Urban and Regional Planning Program

Through a collaboration with the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center (NDPTC), the students proposed, tested, and validated emerging approaches to analyzing digital data, including satellite imagery, social media, and crowdsourced sources, to aid in recovery prioritization. The project used the contemporaneous recovery planning efforts of government, non-profits, and community groups after Hurricane Ida as a case study to test and evaluate these technologies. Through interviews with residents, professionals, government officials, and advocates in St. Charles, Jefferson, and Lafourche Parishes, Louisiana, the students adopted a “Whole of Society” perspective on recovery planning and technology development.  MAP congratulates students (Hannah Boettcher, Jane Dixon, Kiley Fitzgerald, Elise Grongstad, Jon Haadsma, Laura Melendez, Jeffrey Pritchard, Danielle Stewart, Robert Svoboda ) and faculty (Anthony Vanky and Meixin Yuan)! 

Aerial Image Damage Assessment

Outstanding Graduate Student Award

Evaluating Funding for Public Transit to Advance Michigan’s Climate Goals

University of Michigan 
Urban and Regional Planning Program

Transportation Riders United (TRU), a nonprofit organization that advocates for public transit in the Detroit region, requested this project from the U-M to help them shape how Michigan addresses climate change by leveraging funding to improve public transit so that Michiganders have a viable option to shift away from single-occupancy driving. TRU wanted this question answered:  What are the impediments that hold back state funding for public transit and undermine Michigan's climate action plan?  The project included reviewing legislative and administrative documents, analyzing financial and performance data, interviewing 16 stakeholders and experts, and conducting in-depth comparative case studies of four peer states. MAP congratulates students (Shanea Condon, Andrew Darvin, Paul Jones III, Catherine Kemp, Camilla Lizundia, Christopher Moon-Miklaucic, Simon Rivers, Sydney Weisman, Arin Yu), faculty Joe Grengs, and teaching assistant Eric Bettis! 

Smart Fast Bus in Detroit


Watch the award program video here.  Read more about the recipients below. 

Helen S. Willis Award for Outstanding Commissioner 

Betsy Dayrell-Hart

Planning Commission Chair, City of St. Ignace

Betsy Dayrell-Hart's passion for tackling issues is infectious and heartfelt. From fighting to expand housing options in the city for long term and seasonal employees, to attempting to broker a compromise on food trucks in the downtown and helping rewrite the city’s master plan, Betsy is inquisitive, persistent, humble, and collaborative.  When times get tough in these initiatives – which always happens – she manages to keep the long-term picture in mind.  Rebecca Bolen, formerly a planner with Eastern Upper Peninsula Regional Development Commission, said, "Betsy's leadership and collaboration with others led to the completion of other key projects, including the completion of a public participation plan [and] developing the City’s first capital improvement plan. Betsy truly values St. Ignace’s heritage, and champions the role that its residents have in building the City’s future through the planning process."  MAP congratulates Chairperson Dayrell-Hart and thanks her for her planning leadership in Michigan.  

Betsy Dayrell Hart

Helen S. Willis Award for Outstanding Commissioner 

Matt Payne

Planning Commission Chair, Pittsfield Charter Township

A champion for planning, Mr. Payne has provided a pro-planning and extensive planning understanding to the Township and has shown a commitment to support the planning of his community through chairing over 400 Planning Commission and other related meetings in his 13 years as Planning Commission Chair. Mr. Payne has shown enthusiasm, understanding of smart land use principles, and constant advocacy of planning in Pittsfield Township.  Township Supervisor, Mandy Grewal, writes, "Matt has not just been a steadfast and logical voice of reason on the Planning Commission but he has Chaired and led the Commission through one of the most transformative periods in Pittsfield Township’s history. I would add that his humility and humor (even and especially during periods of conflict) round him off as the perfect Planning Commissioner. He never loses sight of the big picture (promoting equity and sustainability) while, simultaneously, detailing the minute details essential to healthy planning outcomes." Congratulation to Chairperson Payne!  MAP thanks him for his planning leadership in Michigan.  

Matt Payne at PC Meeting


Planning Champion Award 

Dennis Stachewicz

Community Development Director, City of Marquette

Dennis saw the City of Marquette's potential and worked with the planning commission to coordinate Marquette’s 2002 landmark master plan that envisioned Marquette as A premier livable, walkable, winter city. Few would disagree that 20 years later this vision has been achieved.  Throughout his tenure with the city, Dennis can see and understand various community issues and perspectives and can frame ideas in ways that bring people together with effective results. In short, Dennis uses his interpersonal skills to build social capital and mobilize human and financial resources. He has done this effectively time and time again across a diverse set of contributors within local government, state government departments, and private development sectors. Under his leadership, the city planning department has doubled in size, hiring another professional planner and separate dedicated zoning official. Jim Tischler, FAICP of Michigan's Land Bank Authority, wrote, "Dennis’ work has garnered statewide attention and been useful as tangible demonstration, not only for Marquette, but as example for the present-day project work across the entire Upper Peninsula." Congratulations to Community Development Director Stachewicz!  MAP thanks him for his planning leadership in Michigan.  

Dennis Stachewicz at meeting

Helen Foss Outstanding Volunteer Award 

Christopher Germain, AICP

Chief Executive Officer, Lake Superior Community Partnership

This prestigious award was established in 2004 to recognize individuals whose contributions to MAP go above and beyond the call of duty.  Honorees are selected by MAP staff to acknowledge that the work of MAP is conducted through the contributions of our elite members. 

As an early leader of MAPs Emerging Planning Professional Committee, Christopher Germain served as vice-chair and chair, piloted its mentoring program and member survey, and recruited speakers for EPP professional development talks.  And as one of the first AICP planners on the MEDC RRC staff, Christopher was a strong advocate for MAP and for the principles of best planning practices to both your colleagues and municipalities across the state.   His contagious optimism is an asset to the planning profession, and to communities throughout Michigan large and small.  The State of Michigan and the MAP organization are better because Christopher is involved.  

 Germain portrait