City of AustinFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APA recognizes 12 communities for their best practices in
planning and urban design
The City of Austin has received the Gold 2017 National Planning Achievement Award for Urban Design from the American Planning Association (APA). The award recognizes Austin’s Historic Cemeteries Master Plan, which provides a framework for rehabilitating and transforming five cemetery properties into community open spaces. Austin is one of 12 APA Achievement Award recipients this year.
“The Historic Cemeteries Master Plan has united our community around a vision for how to preserve and activate these unique and complex spaces,” said Kimberly McNeeley, Acting Director of the Austin Parks and Recreation Department.
Austin’s Historic Cemeteries Master Plan combines best practices in preservation planning, urban design and public engagement. It promotes the development of accessible community gathering places and integrates green infrastructure into the urban environment and transportation network. The plan also protects and enhances the unique qualities of Austin’s treasured public spaces and promotes historic, artistic, cultural and heritage-based tourism.
With $2 million in capital improvement funding, the city began restoration of the 1914 Oakwood Chapel, which will house a visitor center and community space. The master plan serves as a model for revitalizing complex and sacred landscapes that serve the living while honoring the past.
“Good planning is not just preparing the community for the future, but engaging the residents in the discussions and decision-making that will impact their lives,” said W. Shedrick Coleman, AIA, 2017 chair of APA’s Awards Jury. “This year’s award recipients advanced the planning profession by more thoroughly engaging all residents in the planning process.”
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 recipients are the highest honor and Achievement Awards recognize areas of specialization with 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.
The 2017 National Planning Award recipients will be honored at a special luncheon during APA’s National Planning Conference in New York City on May 8, 2017. The recipients will also be featured in the May 2017 issue of Planning magazine.
For a complete list of all the APA 2017 National Planning Excellence and Achievement Award recipients, visit www.planning.org/awards.