Metropolitan Council receives national planning achievement award

Date: Wednesday, March 28, 2018
  • Bonnie Kollodge, Metropolitan Council,, 651-602-1357
  • Roberta Rewers, APA,, 312-786-6395

CHICAGO – The Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities, Minnesota, has received the Silver 2018 National Planning Achievement Award for a Best Practice from the American Planning Association (APA). The award recognizes the agency’s Planning Assistance for Thriving Communities initiative, a multi-format compilation of planning guidance, resources, and educational opportunities in one centralized, accessible location to assist local agencies with their comprehensive planning efforts. The Metropolitan Council is one of 16 APA Achievement Award recipients this year.

“We are thrilled to receive the recognition of the APA for this important planning work at the local and regional levels,” said Lisa Barajas, Local Planning Assistance Manager. “But the credit must be shared with all our planning partners in the metropolitan area, including 181 cities and towns, the seven counties, and the Metro Cities local government advocacy group, that all worked collaboratively with us to shape these tools and share their best ideas and practices. The Handbook and the PlanIt series were created with and for them as we work together to ensure a region that delivers services efficiently, is competitive and prosperous, and continues to thrive on a legacy of civic engagement and involvement.”

Planning capacity varies widely among local government agencies depending on community population and planning staff size. The Metropolitan Council’s Planning Assistance for Thriving Communities contains planning resources and educational tools resulting from feedback from the local governments. Central to this package is the web-based Local Planning Handbook, which contains guidance and tools on numerous planning topics such as economic development, land use, transportation, natural resources, urban design, and more. The web-based format allows for faster, continuous updates that keep information current and relevant, and each participating agency has its own community web page with forecast data, mapping tools and checklists. The accompanying Planit educational series gives planners networking and professional development opportunities to support their local planning efforts.

“The Planning Assistance initiative works to diminish planning knowledge gaps and brings valuable information into an easy to access system,” said W. Shedrick Coleman, AIA, 2018 Awards Jury chair. “This approach to expanding planning intelligence is one other communities around the country can replicate.”

Each year, APA recognizes outstanding efforts in planning and planning leadership through its National Planning Excellence and Achievement Awards. The two-tier awards are selected through a juried process. Excellence Award recipients are the highest honor and Achievement Awards recognize accomplishments in areas of specialization within the planning profession.

APA’s national awards program, the profession’s highest honor, is a proud tradition established more than 50 years ago to recognize outstanding community plans, planning programs and initiatives, public education efforts and individuals for their leadership on planning issues. In addition to the Metropolitan Council, APA honors the following 2018 Achievement Award recipients:

  • Spanish Planning Committee; Los Angeles County, California
    Best Practice – Gold

  • San Francisco’s Accessory Dwelling Unit and Unit Legalization Program; San Francisco, California
    Best Practice – Silver

  • Columbus-Franklin County Local Food System Planning; Columbus, Ohio
    Best Practice – Silver

  • A Return to Past Prosperity: The ASARCO Redevelopment Project; Adams County and Denver, Colorado Economic Development – Gold

  • Collaboration: Sea-Level Marin Adaptation Response Team; San Rafael, California
    Environmental Planning – Gold

  • Street Air; San Francisco, California
    Grassroots Initiative – Gold

  • Jamestown Urban Design Plan; Jamestown, New York
    Implementation – Gold

  • Community Vision Plan for the High Line Canal; Denver Metro Area, Colorado
    Public Outreach – Gold

  • Innovations in Public Engagement; Newark, New Jersey
    Public Outreach – Silver

  • City of San Jose Video Tutorial; San Jose, California
    Public Outreach – Silver

  • National Park Service Long-Range Transportation Plan; Washington, D.C.
    Transportation Planning – Gold

  • Grand Rapids Vital Streets Plan; Grand Rapids, Michigan
    Transportation Planning – Silver

  • Charlotte WALKS Pedestrian Plan; Charlotte, North Carolina
    Transportation Planning – Silver

  • Rock Chapel Marine/PORT; Chelsea, Massachusetts
    Urban Design – Gold

  • Rockaway Boardwalk Reconstruction; Queens, New York
    Urban Design – Gold

All of the 2018 National Planning Award recipients will be honored at a special luncheon during APA’s National Planning Conference in New Orleans on April 23, 2018. The recipients will also be featured in the April issue of Planning magazine. For a complete list and summary of all the APA 2018 National Planning Excellence and Achievement Award recipients, visit

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The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides vital leadership in creating communities of lasting value. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the profession of planning, offering better choices for where and how people work and live. The 38,000 APA members work in concert with community residents, civic leaders and business interests to create communities that enrich people's lives. Through its philanthropic work, APA’s Foundation helps to reduce economic and social barriers to good planning. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago.  Learn more at


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