Selected by a jury headed by Ann C. Bagley, FAICP, the APA's National Planning Excellence and Achievement Awards recognize "outstanding community plans, planning programs and initiatives, public education efforts, and individuals" for creating "communities of lasting value throughout the country — and the world."
Of note, in addition to the exemplary planning firms, civic organizations, municipalities, and individuals being recognized, the recipients of two of the organization's most prestigious awards are likely to generate some discussion.
While well deserved, the awarding of the National Planning Award for a Planning Pioneer to Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown can only be seen as a commentary on the recent hubbub over Denise Scott Brown's snub by the jury of the Pritzker Prize more than twenty years ago. Is the jury commenting on the status of women in the planning profession relative to architecture? Is it a commentary on professional collaboration? One can only guess.
Another prestigious award–the National Planning Award for a Planning Landmark–has gone to the Housing Act of 1949, which launched the federal slum clearance and urban renewal program that radically transformed American cities over the next two and a half decades. Though the Act certainly meets the criteria as being "historically significant, initiated a new direction in planning or impacted American planning, cities or regions over a broad range of time or space," the award synopsis makes no mention of its controversial legacy.