The Gold Medal for Planning Goes To...
As the Vancouver Olympics fill our TV screens, it's difficult to imagine that urban planning was ever a part of the international competition. But apparently the melding of art and athletics was part of Baron Pierre de Coubertin's vision when he helped create the Games back at the turn of the 20th century.
Charles Isherwood writes, "But while the first athletic competitions got under way in Athens in 1896, it was not until the Stockholm Games in 1912 that medals would be given for architecture, sculpture, painting, music and literature.
Even then, the baron's battle to keep the marriage intact encountered some tough sledding. The Swedish organizers of the Games were none too keen on the idea, arguing that judging art was a far slippier proposition than figuring out who threw the discus farthest. "
While information on the town planning awards is slight, there is more available at Wikipedia.