APA Colorado recognizes outstanding projects, plans and people of the planning profession evey year. The Awards Committee opens the Call for Nominations in February/March and announces the award recipients at the APA Colorado State Conference in the fall. For all prior winners, visit our Previous Winners page. To learn more about the Awards Committee, visit their committee page.

Project Categories


This category recognizes advancement in “green” design and planning. Successful entries should show depth in agency collaboration, innovative ideas and achievement of project goals. Sample projects might include progressive, innovative design of a block or neighborhood; a plan to create a more compact, sustainable transportation planning effort including creation of pedestrian and transit friendly communities; the implementation of broad-based renewable and energy efficiency measures; a climate change plan; health-based planning efforts, such as a health impact analysis; the creation of a sustainable development code, green infrastructure plans, or a resource conservation plan, etc. Successful entries should show how the project fits into a broader community and/or regional sustainability effort and exhibit marked achievement of project goals.


This award honors an individual, project, or program that uses information and education about the value of planning to create greater awareness among citizens or specific segments of the public. The award celebrates how planning improves a community's quality of life. This award is for an outstanding process or innovative practice. Have you discovered a new or better way for public outreach and participation? Or have you modernized a tried and true method for superior results? Examples: Neighborhood empowerment programs, use of technology to expand public participation in planning, outreach processes to engage challenging to reach groups, and planning education programs.


Submissions in this category may be recently implemented or have some level of completion that allows for evaluation in terms of their success. Most projects submitted fall into this category and are frequently a combination of a project and a process. Comprehensive plans, code amendments, site/region plans, and other multi-faceted projects are encouraged.


This award honors projects challenged with a small budget that serve as examples of creatively utilizing low-cost or free solutions to create valuable planning outcomes. This category is aimed at projects with small work budgets but display excellent results that are difficult to judge compared to those projects with much higher budgets.


Award for a planning initiative that created extraordinary partnerships and collaborations. Extraordinary partnerships and collaborations might include special interest groups, health organizations, school districts, funding partners, or non-profit organizations. Submissions should describe how partnerships were formed and the methods to maintain them over time. The benefits of collaboration and means of engagement should be described in the award application.


This category recognizes communities, including towns, cities, counties, and/or other unincorporated areas that have made exceptional efforts towards planning for response or recovery from a community-wide problem in the recent past. These communities may have faced adversity due to natural hazards or disasters, economic struggles, or other extreme political or social issues, and have exemplified good planning that includes preparedness, resiliency, and/or response activities. Considerations for the award include the severity of the challenge, the scale of the population impacted, and the numbers and roles of community supporters and partners, and future plans for dealing with similar problems.


This award, juried and presented by the Sonoran Institute and the Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy, a center of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, recognizes Colorado towns, cities, and counties that have made exceptional strides in integrating water conservation, efficiency, quality, or reuse into their land use plans or policies. Submissions in, but not limited to the following categories will be considered for this award: a plan that identifies aggressive goals and strategies to address water supply and demand projections; enactment of regulations that have had a measurable impact on reducing water demand; processes that have increased integration among land use planners and water providers that result in water-related improvements to development applications; community education and engagement activities resulting in increased action around water conservation, efficiency, and reuse; utilization of water efficient technology; strategies to improve stormwater filtration and improve water quality and stream flows; and efforts to reduce reliance on non-renewable water sources.


Current or recent students of Colorado schools who have produced projects either individually or in a group which demonstrate outstanding work are considered in this category. Planning students and recent graduates are invited to submit team or individual planning projects. This could be a student project done in course work or internship.



The following award honors authors or photojournalists “for service rendered in the advancement of city and regional planning through outstanding journalism or coverage of a topic.” This may include academic or research papers, newspaper articles, journal articles, blogs, or books published by Colorado planners. Journalism/Media/Papers must address Colorado topics or places.


This category will celebrate a success story! It is for a planner or non-planner whose advocacy, leadership and direct involvement elevated the planning profession.


This award recognizes a planner or public official who has triumphed in the face of adversity! This planner overcame anything from harsh working conditions, to little or no project funding, to turbulent public involvement and successfully completed a planning project. It is not intended that the resulting process or project be particularly innovative or have a great wow factor, but its very achievement is remarkable because of the context in which it was accomplished.


The Awards Program is open to all planners and students who reside or practice in Colorado; graduate and undergraduate students currently teaching or enrolled in a planning, urban design or landscape architecture curriculum submitting work associated with their academic pursuits. Entries from private practice offices, non-profits, universities, planning agencies, and sections of federal, state or local governments, environmental agencies, and landscape architects are invited. Once a project receives an award, it is no longer eligible for entry in the previously awarded category. The project needs to be current, but not necessarily completed within the last calendar year. Projects or plans must occur primarily within the State of Colorado.