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Call For Nominations: Sixth Annual Awards for Excellence in Sustainability

2019 SCD Awards Packet Cover

We are excited to announce that the nomination period for the Sixth Annual SCD Awards for Excellence in Sustainability is now open! 

The APA Sustainable Communities Division Awards for Excellence in Sustainability is an annual program that honors projects, plans, policies, individuals, and organizations dedicated to supporting sustainable communities. Each year, the award winners are announced during the annual National Planning Conference.

We have updated this year’s process to utilize a web form. Entries will be accepted November 2, 2018, through 5:00 p.m. (EST) on Friday, January 11, 2019.

**We provided a brief overview of the 2019 awards program process on an 11/14 webinar. Additional speakers on the webinar discussed four of the 2018 award-winning projects and programs.**

For more information, please visit the Awards page. We look forward to reviewing your nominations!


Announcing the Winners of the Fifth Annual Awards for Excellence in Sustainability and Student Essay Contest

Today, the Sustainable Communities Division announced the winners of the Fifth Annual Awards for Excellence in Sustainability and the student essay contest at the 2018 National Planning Conference in New Orleans. You can download the presentation here [PDF].

Awards for Excellence in Sustainability

The awards honor projects, plans, policies, individuals, and organizations whose work is dedicated to supporting sustainable communities. The winners represent extraordinary achievements in eight Sustainable Planning categories. The categories and winners are:

Community Sustainability or Resilience Plan: City of Hermosa Beach, PLAN Hermosa – the City of Hermosa Beach’s Integrated General Plan and Local Coastal Program (City of Hermosa Beach, California)

State or Regional Sustainability or Resilience Plan: Thurston Regional Planning Council, Thurston Climate Adaptation Plan: Climate Resilience Actions for Thurston County and South Puget Sound (Olympia, Washington)

Sustainable Policy, Law, or Tool: San Francisco Planning Department & San Francisco Department of the Environment, Better Roofs Ordinance (San Francisco, California)

Sustainable Urban Design Plan or Development Project: City of Meriden, Meriden 2020: A Comprehensive Plan for Downtown Meriden (Meriden, Connecticut)

Sustainable Park, Recreation, or Open Space Project: City of Miramar, Miramar Fruit & Vegetable Garden (Miramar, Florida)

Sustainable Transportation Project: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Metro Expo Line Phase 2 (Los Angeles County, California)

Sustainable Green Infrastructure Project: Capital Region Water, Community Greening Plan: A Green Stormwater Infrastructure Plan for Harrisburg (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania)

Leadership in Sustainability: Environmental Compliance & Sustainability Department, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Los Angeles County, California)


Student Essay Contest

The annual essay contest aims to recognize and foster the academic excellence of university students pursuing studies in fields related to sustainable community planning. Students may submit essays on any subject that addresses items in the APA’s Sustainability Policy Framework through a planning perspective.

Undergraduate Student Winners

Elena Arakaki

  • From: Whitman College
  • Specialization: Sociology/Environmental Studies
  • Essay: “The Social Relevance of Urban Public Parks.”

Brian Gropp

  • From: University of Georgia
  • Specialization: Geography
  • Essay: “New Urbanism as the Solution to Climate Change.”


Graduate Student Winners

Hannah Osman

  • From: Binghamton University
  • Specialization: Public Administration
  • Essay: “Wind Power to Revitalize a Region.”

August Williams-Eynon

  • From: University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Specialization: Regional Planning
  • Essay: “The Northern Manhattan Climate Action Plan: A New Participatory Model for Climate Change Planning.”


To learn more please contact: Matt Bucchin (Division Chair),

Please subscribe to the SCD e-bulletin to receive updates about the 2019 awards nomination process.

Gentilly: Snapshot of a Sustainable Recovery (NPC 2018 Panel, Awards & Joint Reception)

The Sustainable Communities; Environment, Natural Resources & Energy; and Private Practice Divisions invite you to join us for a three-division special event during the 2018 National Planning Conference in New Orleans!

  • What: Three-Division Panel, Awards Presentation, and Reception
  • When: Monday, April 23, 2018, 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. CDT
  • Where: Port of New Orleans Administration Building, 1350 Port of New Orleans Place
  • Cost: $20.00
  • CM | 1.50


Gentilly: Snapshot of a Sustainable Recovery

Join us for a panel plenary focused on Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts in the Gentilly neighborhood. This locally-based panel and discussion will spotlight a multi-partnered recovery and sustainability effort that is ongoing in the Gentilly neighborhood of New Orleans, at roughly the 10-year mark post Hurricane Katrina. While the public sector has been increasingly involved in Gentilly’s recovery, particularly through the creation of the Gentilly Resilience District and the coordination of federal funds, many other players (including community groups, planning and design professionals, and academic leaders) have been instrumental since the early stages of Gentilly’s response to the devastating storm. The successes that have been achieved in the areas of new green infrastructure and development of new food and housing resources will be considered alongside the emerging challenges of gentrification and capacity building in this diverse area of the city.

Confirmed panelists include an array of local professionals who have a longstanding history of work within the Gentilly District and New Orleans in the public, non-profit, and/or private sectors. Speakers include:

  • Charles E. Allen, III, (Moderator) is the Resilience Outreach Manager for the City of New Orleans’ Office of Resilience and Sustainability. He is also the former Advisor for Coastal and Environmental Affairs to New Orleans Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu and formerly served as Director of the New Orleans Office of Coastal and Environmental Affairs.
  • Karen Parsons, AICP, is a Principal Planner at the Regional Planning Commission for Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John, St. Tammany and Tangipahoa Parishes in SE Louisiana.
  • Oji Alexander is the former Senior Project Manager at Project Home Again, a nonprofit housing and community development organization in New Orleans.
  • Joseph O. Evans, III, is a founding partner of Evans + Lighter Landscape Architecture. His work on the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan included Gentilly-specific projects such as the Mirabeau Water Gardens and the London Avenue Wetlands as well as the study “Ecosystem Services Metrics” which focused on the cumulative impacts of small scale stormwater interventions.


Following the panel will be the presentation of the 5th Annual Excellence in Sustainability Awards, other programming, and a three-division reception for the Sustainable Communities; Environment, Natural Resources and Energy; & Private Practice Divisions. The reception will include domestic beer, wine, water, assorted soft drinks and hors d’ouevres consisting of local New Orleans cuisine.


$20 per person includes the panel, awards, and reception (including all food and drink). It is the best deal in town!


EcoDistricts Foundations Course + Workshop

SCD is co-hosting this EcoDistricts training as a shoulder program for NPC18.


Friday, April 20, 2018
8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. CDT
Tulane ByWater Institute, 1370 Port of New Orleans Place, New Orleans, LA 70130
CM | 6.50

Event Overview

The EcoDistricts Foundation Course will immerse attendees in the approach and tools to create EcoDistricts, a unique standard for urban and community development that puts equity, resilience, and climate protection at the heart of every decision.

The course is hosted by EcoDistricts and APA’s Sustainable Communities Division as a shoulder program for NPC18. The course is open to APA members in addition to the New Orleans community.

This course is for planners, architects, developers, community development professionals, and municipal leaders seeking to advance their skills, apply the EcoDistricts standard, and/or become an EcoDistricts Accredited Professional.

Learning Objectives

  • Gain an in-depth overview of EcoDistricts Certified — the world’s first comprehensive framework to guide urban and community development — from planning to implementation.
  • Learn about key issues and best practices influencing neighborhood sustainability — including resiliency, equity, green infrastructure, placemaking, and community health.
  • Explore inspiring case studies, including the first set of projects committed to EcoDistricts Certified.
  • Be prepared to take the EcoDistricts Accredited Professional exam, the first credential demonstrating a commitment to creating sustainable, equitable neighborhoods.

Training Staff

  • Edward Hill, EcoDistricts AP, Director of Advisory Services, EcoDistricts
  • Eliot Allen, LEED AP-ND, EcoDistricts AP

Announcing our Second Annual Student Essay Contest


The Sustainable Communities Division is welcoming submissions for its annual student essay contest. The contest aims to recognize and foster the academic excellence of university students pursuing studies in fields related to sustainable community planning.

  • First place: One undergraduate student and one graduate student will receive awards of $250 each.
  • Second Place: One undergraduate student and one graduate will receive awards of $150 each.
Essays may be on any subject that address items in the APA’s Sustainability Policy Framework through a planning perspective. (You can review the framework at )
All submissions are due by Friday, March 16, 2018 at 5:00pm Pacific Time, and winners will be recognized at the Sustainable Communities Division’s Reception at the 2018 APA National Conference in New Orleans, LA.

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Green Streets and Tree Huggers







Kim Lundgren‘s story and podcast on “Tree Huggers” and the Green Streets project in Lawrence, MA.

GREEN STREETS: A Health Impact Assessment of the Lawrence Green Streets Program


In recognition of National Public Health Week (April 3-9, 2017) and in the spirit of APA’s Plan4Health Project, the APA-MA Chapter and SCD Division of APA just released a comprehensive Health Impact Assessment on the Benefits of Streets Trees in the built environment.

The physical environment in which we live is an important determinant of human health. Green infrastructure elements such as street trees can play an important role in the mental health, physical activity, and social interaction of residents. In 2016, Massachusetts planners and members of the American Planning Association’s Sustainable Communities Division partnered with Groundwork Lawrence on a volunteer service project to measure the health benefits of the Green Streets Program. This program’s goal is to plant 2,400 trees throughout the City of Lawrence over a 3-year period. To promote the program and achieve this goal, APA-SCD worked collaboratively with Groundwork Lawrence and residents in Lawrence to conduct a Health Impact Assessment to analyze the potential health benefits of street tree planting in the City. The result was a comprehensive assessment and evaluation of the physical, environmental and social impacts of street tree planting in Lawrence.

The final report provides an overview of the Green Streets Program HIA process, a summary of findings, recommendations and the resources that were developed by the APA-SCD team to achieve the Green Streets Program goals.  Deliverables include an Infographic highlighting the benefits of street trees in a community, a logo and a tagline to boost participation in the Program: Good for Lawrence – Great for You. The deliverables were translated into Spanish to engage the large Latino population in Lawrence. Throughout the project, the APA-SCD team documented their steps to ensure this process could be replicated by planners in any community. For more information, please contact:
Neil Angus, AICP, or
Angela Vincent, AICP,