2021 Planning Excellence Awards

The New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association is pleased to announce its 2021 Planning Excellence Awards. These awards honor planning initiatives, built projects, individuals and organizations that are at the forefront of planning and design in New Jersey.

Recipients of APA New Jersey’s 2021 Planning Awards will be recognized for their achievements with a plaque, feature story on the Chapter’s website and will be highlighted in press releases, newsletters, and social media announcements. Deadline for submission is Wednesday, November 23rd.


Leadership Awards

Stuart Meck Distinguished Service Award
To an APA New Jersey member who has advanced the mission of the Chapter by consistently and freely giving of themselves to the Executive Committee or Chapter initiatives.

Distinguished Civic Leadership Award
To an elected official or citizen planning advocate who has advanced sound planning in the public arena. A citizen planning advocate can be a lay member of a planning board, board of adjustment, economic development board, other appointed official, activist, neighborhood leader or head of a community development organization.

Budd Chavooshian Award for Outstanding Professional Planner
To a professional planner for sustained contributions to the profession through distinguished practice, teaching or writing.

James W. Hughes Applied Research Award
To an individual or organization whose applied research has affected change in New Jersey, as the substantive basis for legislative, regulatory or policy change, or as the driver of a shift in a fundamental approach to planning.

Distinguished Emerging Planner Award
To a professional planner, 35 years or younger, who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to leadership, professional development and the advancement of the field of planning in New Jersey.

Project Awards

Outstanding Plan Award
To a plan of unusually high merit. Examples include, but are not limited to neighborhood, economic development, conservation, transportation, and other comprehensive plans. Technical reports and site plans are not eligible for this award.

Outstanding Implementation Award
To a specific planning project or initiative of unusually high merit for which there are demonstrated “on-the ground” results and success stories that are supported by documented physical or social change.

Outstanding Community Engagement or Education Award
To a planning project or initiative that has involved or resulted in significant advancement of community comprehension of planning issues or outcomes. Examples may include publications, interactive project websites, public planning and design charrettes or seminars.

Outstanding Student Project Award
To outstanding class projects or papers by a student or group of students that contribute to advances in the field of planning. The submission should be primarily the work of the students and based in New Jersey. The students may be from any secondary education institution.


Any plan, project, program, process, or report entered must have been published, implemented, or completed within three years of the date of submission.

Nominators must select the most appropriate category for the submission and may not submit the same project for multiple awards. Changes will not be allowed by the nominator after the submission deadline. The awards jury may move a submission from one category to another.

Nominators of submissions will be notified of the jury’s decision by December. Official announcements of the winning submissions will be made after all nominators have been notified. Awards will only be made in the stated categories; however, jurors are under no obligation to grant an award in any category and may choose to make multiple awards in a single category. The awards jury’s procedures prohibit any communication with jurors on behalf of a nominee, except that the Chair may contact a nominator to clarify information contained in a submission.


The extent to which the submission presents a visionary approach or innovative concept that results in a meaningful advance to planning.

The extent to which there are potential applications in other areas or to other projects. In the case of an individual, to what extent does their work increase understanding of sound planning principles?

To what extent is there excellence of thought, analysis, writing, graphics, and sound planning principles?

To what extent is the project effective as evidenced by its degree of post-completion or post-adoption activity? In the case of an individual, to what extent have they been effective based on the implementation of their plans or ideas?

To what extent have sound planning principles been observed, especially in consideration of the project/person’s effect on other public objectives?


 Nominator’s Contact Information
 Leadership or Project Award Category
 Nominee Contact Information
 Paragraph Description of the Individual or Project
 Two-Page Long Narrative Description
 Images of the individual or project (if applicable)