Awards for Excellence in Planning

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Awards for Excellence in Planning

These awards honour the best in professional planning work undertaken by members in communities and regions across British Columbia and Yukon and PIBC encourages nominations and submissions for excellence in planning in any one of the following six categories:

  1. Enduring Planning Performance Award *NEW*
  2. Excellence in Policy Planning - Small Town & Rural Areas
  3. Excellence in Policy Planning - City & Urban Areas
  4. Excellence in Planning Practice - Small Town & Rural Areas
  5. Excellence in Planning Practice - City & Urban Areas
  6. Research & New Directions in Planning

2023 Awards Timeline

Call for submissions open: January 25, 2023
Submission deadline: March 5, 2023, 11:59 pm PT
Results released to submitters: April 28, 2023
Presentation of awards: June 1, 2023 at the PIBC 2023 Annual Conference - It Takes A Village in Sun Peaks, BC

Congratulations to this year's PIBC Awards winners! Click here for a complete list of this year's award winners.

Enduring Planning Performance*

The Enduring Planning Performance category seeks to recognize and celebrate exemplary long-term planning work and outcomes that remain successful over time (minimum 10 years from substantial completion). Entries may be centred on either outstanding planning policy or planning practice but, in each case, must draw the connections to show how that planning groundwork ultimately achieved the intended character and outcomes, transforming the subject community in ways that fully endure 10 years later or more. Submissions should define the boundaries of the community in question and the date from which this planning concept/work was substantially complete. They should also outline the significant approaches, features or techniques that contributed to the work’s enduring success. 

*NOTE: This planning award category is not tied to population size.  It may be of any scale (local neighbourhood, small town, rural, larger urban centre, regional, or even larger) but generally would not refer to single building or single infrastructure facility projects.

Excellence in Policy Planning*
Small Town & Rural Areas, OR City & Urban Areas

The Excellence in Policy Planning categories seek to honour the development of leading-edge and visionary planning policy. Submissions that fall into this category include Official Community Plans, Regional Growth Strategies, Comprehensive Community Plans, strategic plans, and other long-range policy-based plans. Typically without any design or technical focus, policy submissions in this category would seek to envision planning solutions to enhance the social, economic, environmental and/or cultural wellbeing of communities. 

*NOTE: Small town and rural areas are typically those with a population under 80,000, or outside a larger urban centre or metropolitan area, whereas city and urban areas are typically those with a population of 80,000 or above, or within a larger urban centre or metropolitan area. Submitters should identify the size of the population in the community/region for which the plan or policy initiative was developed as part of their submission.

Excellence in Planning Practice*
Small Town & Rural Areas, OR City & Urban Areas

The Excellence in Planning Practice categories recognize the efforts of planners to turn policy into reality. This category includes the implementation of existing plans, participatory planning processes, and the creation of tactical plans or regulations that guide the creation or renewal of urban or rural spaces and places.  Submissions that fall into this category include neighbourhood plans, development master plans, zoning bylaws, park plans, site plans, and design guidelines. Submissions in this category should highlight the inventive ways that planners are creating transformative change through ground-breaking actions. 

*NOTE:  Small town and rural areas are typically those with a population under 80,000, or outside a larger urban centre or metropolitan area, whereas city and urban areas are typically those with a population of 80,000 or above, or within a larger urban centre or metropolitan area. Submitters should identify the size of the population in the community/region for which the plan or policy initiative was developed as part of their submission

Research & New Directions in Planning

The Research & New Directions category includes original studies, reports, or papers that show thorough examination of a planning issue, policy or practice using analytical methods that support original findings that are of value to the profession. Submissions in this category may include investigations on a wide variety of planning topics from a local, regional, national or global perspective. Submissions should include a description of the research methodology, key findings and how the results are of importance to the profession.

These categories are reviewed each year by the Awards Committee to ensure their relevance to current planning practice. On an annual basis the Committee may amend existing categories or develop new categories accordingly.

Awards for Excellence in Planning – Evaluation Criteria:

These criteria apply to all submissions but will receive different weighting depending on the submission and category.

  • Responsiveness – Tackles a particularly relevant, current, or pressing challenge facing communities; demonstrates a high degree of creativity and innovation to address those challenges; demonstrates urgency and boldness in its approach that led to the success of the project/initiative.   

  • Transferability – Principles can be applied to many diverse planning scenarios and at several scales; offers timely ways in which approaches, processes or lessons can be transferred to other locales, scopes, and regulatory or legislative structures; and can be used by different elements of planning practice (e.g.: social planning, development planning, etc.).

  • Contribution to the profession – Contributes to improving the standards of practice for the profession as a whole; brings attention and awareness of the Planning profession to new audiences by “capturing the moment” and addressing an issue receiving the attention of politicians, media and the general public; and demonstrates significant collaboration between planning and other disciplines.

  • Public process* – Engages stakeholders and/or the general public in meaningful ways; uses creative and appropriate engagement tools and techniques; and demonstrates the integration of the information gathered from the public process.

  • Implementation* – Has received the approval of relevant decision-making bodies (Council, Board, community group, etc…); and has a clear, thorough, and effective implementation strategy, including elements such as monitoring and evaluation, where applicable.

  • Sustainability – Demonstrates a deliberate integration of all aspects of sustainability (economic, cultural, social, environmental), as applicable to the scope and breadth of each project; and evidences incorporation of sustainability in original ways.

*NOTE: For the Research & New Directions in Planning category, Research dissemination and Research methods will be additional criteria against which project submissions will be evaluated. Where appropriate, these criteria will be considered in lieu of Implementation and Public process.

Awards for Excellence in Planning – Eligibility Criteria:

Entries are encouraged from PIBC members with the following stipulations: 

  • The project must have been prepared by or under the direction of a Certified (RPP), Fellow, or Candidate Member in good standing of PIBC.
  • The submission must represent a completed plan, design, policy or research study.
  • The project must have been completed during the preceding two years* and have been:
    • sanctioned by a board, council, planning department, educational institution, or firm, but not necessarily formally adopted by resolution, bylaw, or other legislation; or
    • implemented through physical construction; or
    • published by a recognized publisher or public agency.
  • Nominators must select the most appropriate category for their submission.
  • Nominators must provide basic budget* information for their submission. Additional information may be requested for clarification purposes.
  • Letters of endorsement may be included but are not mandatory.
  • No amendments to a nomination will be allowed after the submission deadline.
  • An individual project may be submitted only once. However, nominating organizations and individuals may be associated with award submissions for multiple projects.

*NOTE: For the Enduring Planning Performance category, the timeline is minimum 10 years from substantial completion, notwithstanding the ever present turnover and change underway in any growing community, and does not require budget information.

Awards for Excellence in Planning – Entry Requirements:

  • Completed Online Submission entered through PIBC’s online submission portal.
  • Award submission summary document (maximum 10 pages) describing the merits of the entry and how it meets the award criteria, and including appended letters of support (must be in PDF format only).
  • Additional relevant supporting or descriptive document(s), including plans, illustrations and supporting materials (must be in PDF format only).
  • A maximum of three (3) high-resolution, print-quality visual electronic images illustrating the nominated entry (must be in JPG/PNG format only).
  • Other display materials for presentation purposes may be requested from nominator(s) prior to the awards presentation ceremony.
  • All entry material shall become the property of the Planning Institute of British Columbia and shall be available to PIBC for reproduction, posting or distribution

Jury & Submissions:

The Awards Jury for all PIBC awards is composed of a Committee of several experienced Institute members, appointed by the PIBC Board of Directors, representing a variety of planning backgrounds from across British Columbia and Yukon. A Sub-Committee acts as the jury for each type of award.

Jury members cannot evaluate or vote on nominations for projects in which they directly participated or those submitted by the department or firm in which they are currently employed. The presentation of all awards is based on submissions received. The Awards Jury may choose to not present awards or to present more than one award in each category, as deemed appropriate.

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