Award Banner

Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan

City of Albion Comprehensive Plan

City of Albion and Beckett and Raeder, Inc. 

Over several years, Albion has made a concerted effort to be more transparent, predictable, and efficient by engaging in future-oriented endeavors, such as becoming certified with Redevelopment Ready Communities© program, updating its zoning ordinance, and adopting a new comprehensive plan. As part of a robust engagement, Albion College students were asked to “design” a city which captured two different land use scenarios: 1) designing their “dream” city where they would like to live, and 2) redesigning their “dream” city based on a list of constraints.  The relationship between denser neighborhoods and more open/public space was a clear preference and an important takeaway in developing the Future Land Use Map. Jurors said, "The plan was easy to read and contained communicative graphics."  Congratulations to the City of Albion and Beckett and Raeder!

Youth Engagement Event in City of Albion


Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan

Plan Ferndale 

City of Ferndale and SmithGroup

Plan Ferndale rethought the traditional process of Master Plan development by incorporating a Climate Action Plan with a Parks and Recreation Plan.  The City set out to update their master plan with a renewed focus on comprehensive community equity, resiliency, and inclusivity. The plan process included a robust set of conversations with a variety of stakeholders. These discussions focused on topics around recent redevelopment and the future of growth, scale, character, and density to create clear and implementable strategies within the context of a changing climate. Plan Ferndale focused on fostering trust in local government, creating a sense of shared authorship and ownership in the future of the city. Jurors said, "There were a number of terrific graphics that communicated better than words!"  MAP congratulates the City of Ferndale and SmithGroup!


Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan

City of Rockford Master Plan

City of Rockford and Williams & Works

The Master Plan is written as a declaration of the community's values, priorities, and culture. This is reflected in the graphical presentation, but also in the chapter titles, which are statements of not just the plan's contents, but who the community is and what it will become. The plan lays out an ambitious path to improve not only land use policies and practices, but also strategies to combat climate change, advance citywide administrative practices, and continue to foster a vibrant culture and identity. The public engagement efforts were thoughtful, fun, but most importantly, effective. Jurors said, "The graphics and overall design of the document seemed to be more of a story than a report." Congratulations to the City of Rockford and Williams & Works!

Outdoor Engagement Event in Rockford


Outstanding Planning Project: Best Practice

The Barry County 2040 "Live Better" Master Plan 

Barry County, McKenna, and Harvey Consulting

The plan includes robust market analysis for housing, retail, and industrial space, with the calculations culminating in the acreage of land that should be set aside in each category. The County Framework is a less detailed version of the Future Land Use Map, combining Future Land Use categories into the broad visions of “Preserve”, “Enhance”, and “Grow” that more clearly express the overall intent of the Plan, and help the county planning commission make zoning decisions with both local character and regional goals in mind. Jurors said, "Due to the County’s proximity to several major job centers, it was important for the County to respond to the needs of a growing population and economy while also planning for the preservation of its natural assets, rural character, and agricultural systems."  MAP congratulates Barry County, McKenna, and Harvey Consulting!


Outstanding Planning Project: Best Practice

Eastpointe Zoning Ordinance Update and Steering Committee Workbooks

City of Eastpointe and McKenna

Seven workbooks recontextualized urban planning topics such as missing middle housing, height density, flexible land use, nonconformities and façade materials.  Different learning activities, acted as an ice breaker so that a higher level of conversation around the urban planning topic became possible.  Some of the activities included: Existing Ordinance Challenges: Pain Points Survey; Mixed-Use and Use Diversity: Land Use BINGO; and Façade Materials: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Jurors said, "We were particularly impressed with the engagement with the general public at the Gratiot Cruise Public Participation Booth, as zoning ordinance updates would not typically be something the public would find engaging."  Congratulations to the City of Eastpointe and McKenna!

Eastpointe Gratiot Cruise Event


Outstanding Planning Project: Implementation

Viva La Avenida Area Specific Plan

City of Grand Rapids, Williams & Works, Aligned Planning, and Nederveld

Since its adoption, the Area Specific Plan has resulted in a wide range of implementation efforts, including updates to the city’s zoning Oordinance to protect existing homes and encourage redevelopment with missing middle housing at key transit nodes, the transition of Cesar E. Chavez Avenue from a MDOT business route to a city street, and major multi-modal road reconstructions with enhanced streetscapes. Jurors said, "The best part of the plan was that the encroaching development pressure was recognized in time to proactively ensure that the future investment reflected the needs and wishes of the community members already in the neighborhood; this allowed the implementation to occur in a way that is equitable and desired by the community."  Congratulations to the City of Grand Rapids, Williams & Works, Aligned Planning, and Nederveld!

Gateway Mural in Grand Rapids Neighborhood

Outstanding Planning Project: Implementation

Greater Corktown Neighborhood Planning Framework Plan

City of Detroit and Perkins & Will

The Greater Corktown Neighborhood Framework Plan set forth a vision and action plan that promotes inclusive growth of Detroit’s oldest established neighborhood while preserving the community’s unique character. Since its adoption, the Framework Plan has resulted in multiple projects including: the city redesigning and redevelopment of Roosevelt Park, the conversion of 14th Street from one-way to two-way traffic, and a full city block of vacant, publicly-owned land being transformed into a $10 million community empowerment center with an early childhood education center.  Jurors said, "What put this implementation effort into the category of outstanding vs. just a good effort was that it laid the groundwork for the city to work to mitigate the gentrification that has come with that private and public investment."  Congratulations to the City of Detroit and Perkins & Will!

Greater Corktown Affordable Housing Construction  

Outstanding Planning Project: Resiliency and Sustainability

MEDC Redevelopment Ready Communities Resilience Toolkit

Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and SmithGroup

Planning can be a heavy lift for communities with limited staff and resources. The RRC Resilience Toolkit includes a self-evaluation and set of goals, metrics, and actions that communities can use to incorporate resilient strategies into their next plan, policy, or assessment. It also focuses on helping often overwhelmed communities expand capacity by focusing on partnerships and implementation with a series of strategies to identify shovel-ready projects and funding opportunities. Jurors said, "This is the first significant effort by a State agency to congregate those approaches to establish a replicable approach that is both indicative of the current cultural and political expectations and calls for in-depth public engagement for a result that is specific to a community or project."  MAP congratulates MEDC and SmithGroup!

Outstanding Planning Project: Urban Design

Greenmead Historical Park Master Plan 

City of Livonia and Wade Trim

Greenmead Historical Park, operated by the City of Livonia, includes the nearly 200-year-old Greenmead Farm, a historical village of relocated buildings, community gardens, a nature trail, and soccer fields. The balance of preserving history and drawing visitors is always a design dilemma. The challenge was how bring all of the assets together to create a place people want to visit time and again. The phased approach prioritizes early development of the centralized plaza. The plan also includes space for concerts, a pavilion for gatherings and winter ice-skating, a petting zoo, a  playground, re-creation of some historic features, and an interpretive center.  Jurors said, "Fiscal prioritization is helpful with implementation. Assigning responsibilities to certain groups or individuals enables accountability."  Congratulations to the City of Livonia and Wade Trim! 

Greenmead Historical Park Existing v Proposed Plaza

Outstanding Graduate Student Award

Preserving Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing in Detroit: A Case Study of Oakman Boulevard Community along the Joe Louis Greenway

University of Michigan 
Urban and Regional Planning Program

This capstone project provided one of the first assessments of the Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH) property dynamics in a neighborhood along the Joe Louis Greenway (JLG) in Detroit.  NOAH properties are market housing whose rents happen to be affordable to low- and moderate-income households. In a country where government subsidized affordable housing is in short supply, preserving NOAH properties is critical in mitigating the housing affordability crisis and preventing resident displacement.  Working with the City of Detroit Housing and Revitalization Department, this capstone project examines NOAH preservation issues in the Oakman Boulevard Community neighborhood located along the city’s proposed JLG.  Students conducted extensive property and policy research as well as community-engagement activities to assess the risks that small multi-family NOAH properties face and develop recommendations to preserve them. MAP congratulates students Alexis Marie Farrell, Anthony Phan Bui, Christian Carroll, David Kevin Elam, Nicholas Robert Hill, Maria Garcia Reyna, Maya Joy Gingerich Baker, Michelle Marin, Melika Belhaj, Tianhong Ge, Yifei Sun and instructors Lan Deng and Rand Makarem!

Challenges of operating NOAH in Detroit


Planning Advocate Award

Ryan Kilpatrick, AICP

Owner of Flywheel Community Development Consultant

Ryan has prioritized collaboration and provided direction to community leaders as they navigate a critical shortage of housing. Joshua Lunger of the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce said, "Ryan Kilpatrick was one of the foremost subject matter experts helping craft the legislation signed by Governor Whitmer that provided new tools for local governments to support workforce housing. His working knowledge in drafting the legislation helped assure that the final product is practical and effective for both developers and communities in meeting this clear need."  The jury said: "Ryan is a passionate leader and clear choice for the Planning Advocate Award. His education, experience, and contributions through Housing Next and the development of MAP's Zoning Reform Toolkit has increased understanding and awareness of planning statewide."  MAP congratulates Ryan Kilpatrick and thanks him for his planning leadership in Michigan.

Ryan Kilpatrick

Planning Champion Award

Michelle Aniol

Community Development Manager, City of Dexter

As Community Development Manager to the City of Dexter, Ms. Aniol has increased the understanding of planning principles and the planning process by combining planning and economic development in her practice, rather than excluding one from the other. She has articulated to elected and appointed officials as well as developers how good design, building up instead of out, and connections to regional park and trail systems strengthen the economic vibrancy of the City. As an appointed official in the City of Northville, Ms. Aniol has brought the same level of planning savvy and detail. On the Zoning Board of Appeals, she has been a careful, thoughtful Board member who brings a welcome lens to each case. As a resident, Ms. Aniol has consistently advocated for planning principles, even when in the minority. Congratulations to Michelle Aniol!  MAP thanks her for her planning leadership in Michigan.  

Michelle Aniol

Planning Champion Award

Denise Cline

Chief Planner/Deputy Director, Northeast Michigan Council of Governments

Denise is well known and respected among many communities within northern Michigan for having created user-friendly zoning ordinances. She facilitates an exhaustive discussion with each planning commission regarding their goals. Based on their master plan, she guides planning commissioners through a thorough update of their zoning ordinance. The final product is an easier to understand ordinance for both the planning commission and the public. She has done extensive research to include the most recent updates such as solar installations, legal updates that reflect court precedents, and trends. The jury said, "Denise stands out as a true Planning Champion for her support and thorough understanding of the needs of planners and communities throughout Northern Michigan. Many communities lack the resources necessary to develop plans and zoning ordinances that are effective and easy to administer."  MAP congratulates Denise Cline and thanks her for her planning leadership in Michigan.

Denise Cline

Helen S. Willis Outstanding Commissioner Award

Donna Tinberg

Planning Commission Chair, City of Northville

Donna Tinberg was appointed to the Northville Planning Commission in 2017.  In 2018, she became the Planning Commission liaison to the Zoning Board of Appeals.  And she has served as chair of the Planning Commission since 2021.  By the numbers, Donna has attended over 110 planning commission meetings, approximately 40 development proposals, 30 ordinance amendments, and 2 master plan updates; with her ZBA hat, she has reviewed 47 ZBA cases, and attended 33 ZBA meetings.  She adheres to and advocates for the following principles:  resident input, predictability in the planning process, adherence to state and municipal law.  She has been a champion of missing middle housing and walkability.  Colleague Andew Krenz said of Donna, "She is a dedicated servant to her neighbors and community that is motivated by dispassionate application of Ordinance and precedent in the spirit of providing substantial justice, even when the right decision can be unpopular, no matter the scale of what’s in front of her."  MAP congratulates Planning Commission Chair Tinberg and thanks her for her planning leadership in Michigan!

Donna Tinberg

Outstanding Community Administrator Award 

Bill Bamber

Supervisor, Oceola Township

William “Bill” Bamber served as the Supervisor of Oceola Township for 27 years before his retirement in 2023. Throughout his time as an elected official, Bill was a strong advocate for planning – and for the implementation of plans. Under Supervisor Bamber’s leadership, Oceola Township developed a robust zoning administration system and a strong culture of planning. Bill ensured that the Township would be well-staffed, with a full time zoning administrator and a planning consultant. Bill also recruited strong planning commissioners and zoning board of appeals members, and nutured their sense of duty so that appointees stayed in their positions and put in time outside of meetings. Planning commissioner Timothy Weir wrote, "Mr. Bamber keeps politics, which many townships succumb to, out of all decisions and truly does what is best for the community. His vision has created a nice balance of growth while maintaining the rural characteristics of the township." Congratulations to Supervisor Bamber!  MAP thanks him for his planning leadership in Michigan.  

Bill Bamber

Outstanding Community Administrator Award 

Peter Psarouthakis

Supervisor, Sharon Township

Mr. Psarouthakis has been the Supervisor of Sharon Township since 2012 and has recently stepped down from this role. For this rural community in western Washtenaw County with less than 2,000 residents, Mr. Psarouthakis was the highest elected official and the Township’s de facto manager.  In his role, he promptly advocated for code updates, due to changes in state law and case law when many other similar municipalities have been resistant. Following the Reed v. Gilbert decision, he asked for the sign regulations to be updated. He also facilitated a contentious process to allow marijuana growing and processing facilities in Township. Barb Fuller, chair of the Washtenaw County Road Commission and chair of the Washtenaw County Broadband Task Force, said, "Among the many initiatives that Peter accomplished was a having a split-phase traffic signal placed at the intersection of M-52 and Pleasant Lake Road. As a 2-way stop, that intersection was deadly. Peter latched on to MDOT and did not let go until the signal was deployed. It has saved an untold number of lives and prevented tragic traffic accidents."  MAP congratulates Peter Psarouthakis and thanks him for his planning leadership in Michigan.  

Peter Psarouthakis