The 2021 Awards for Outstanding Planning Achievement in the Commonwealth are now open for entries. The deadline for submissions is 24.00 British Summer Time on 9 August.
There are 6 categories:
1. Planning for the climate emergency;
2. Planning for cities and human settlements / plan-making;
3. Planning for equitable and inclusive cities and human settlements;
4. Planning in response to natural or technological disasters;
5. Planning for the conservation of the built and natural environment and cultural heritage;
6. Outstanding Young Planner.
Full details can be found here.
The awards are administered by the Commonwealth Association of Planners. They have been running since 2018 and have attracted some impressive examples of the work of planners. The first winner was the Bay of Plenty Regional Policy Statement in New Zealand. The project showed how risk in relation to natural hazards had been managed through a participatory planning process.
The following year's award also went to New Zealand, for the Draft Waimakariri Residential Red Recovery Plan. This was for an area affected by the earthquakes in Canterbury in 2010 and 2011. Strong and imaginative community involvement was again a key theme in an approach that has relevance for many Commonwealth countries.
In 2020 different categories for awards were created. The City of Calgary (Canada) won the climate emergency category for its Biodiverse Communities Initiative. Calgary also landed the plan-making award for its Transit-Oriented Development Implementation Strategy. Canada made it a clean sweep when the Lethbridge Indigenous Cultural Centre Feasibility Study from Alberta and the Blackfoot Traditional Territory won the diversity and inclusion category.
In each year there were other excellent entries showing practice that was innovative and deeply committed to people and environments. For more details click here.
Perhaps surprisingly, there have been few entries from some of the largest planning institutes within the Commonwealth, notably the Royal Town Planning Institute, the Institute of Town Planners, India or the Nigerian Instituteof Town Planners. Perhaps 2021 will see more entries from these big countries.
It has been my privilege to be one of the judges since CAP began its awards programme. I am lookng forward to reading more great entries this year!