Each year, the Illinois Chapter recognizes the best in planning across Illinois with our annual awards program. These plans exemplify the tremendous planning efforts across the State of Illinois. 


Awards News

2021 APA-IL Chapter Awards

The American Planning Association - Illinois Chapter (APA-IL) is proud to announce the 2020 APA-IL Project and Service Award Winners. These outstanding planning efforts from across the state exemplify the practice of urban planning and each stand as an example of ways our members are “Making Great Communities for All” in Illinois. Congratulations to all!

Thank you to the 2021 Awards Jury. It’s no small effort to read and review all the great project nominations we receive.

  • Lesley Roth, AICP from Lamar Johnson Collaborative

  • Cynthia Hoyle, FAICP from Hoyle Consulting

  • Mark Rinnan, AICP from Jacobs

  • Mercy Davison, AICP from the Town of Normal

  • Cristen Hardin, PGAV Planners, LLC

  • Steve Marciani, AICP from the Village of Skokie and Co-chair for the Awards Program

*note that jurors were not allowed to judge projects they were involved in

Award winning Projects were recognized and Service Awards were announced during the 2021 Awards Program on October 6th at the 2021 APA-IL State Conference in Normal, IL.


2021 APA-IL Project Awards

Scroll down for Service Award winners!


Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan

Libertyville 2030 Comprehensive Plan

Libertyville's 2030 Comprehensive Plan presents a compelling vision and planning framework in a concise, straightforward approach that reflects the community’s preference for a clear road map and direction for local action.

Click here to view the plan!


Strategic Plan Award

Oak Brook Reserve


The plan demonstrates short-term tactical enhancements balanced with long-term visionary thinking – fostering adaptation and resilience to uncertain ecological, social, and economic forces – ensuring enduring value and relevance which could be transferable to any community.

Click here to view the plan!

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Best Practice Award

Woodstock Age-Friendly Livable Community Plan

Woodstock’s Age-Friendly Action Plan provides a new model that makes a strong case for the economic value of age-friendly planning, serves the entire community, is easy to use, and is implementable over time.

Click here to view the plan!

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Advancing Diversity and Social Change Award (new for 2021)



This new award for 2021 highlights a creative, temporary, flexible space for the Austin neighborhood. The planning process included robust community engagement and empowered the community throughout its construction and future programming.

Click here to view the plan!


Public Outreach Award

“Care About the Count”: North Central IL 2020 Census Campaign Under Pandemic


The amount of engagement in this plan can only be called one thing, aggressive. A clear goal with metrics that helped to focus the strategy enabled the region to surpass previous self-response rates locally and nationally plus created a template for future outreach efforts and provided a better understanding of the RPC's role in the community -- all during a global pandemic.

Click here to read more!

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Healthy and Active Community Award

Northern Lakeshore Trail Connectivity Plan


This well organized, visual plan has an eye towards ease of implementation for municipalities as well as providing evidence of items already implemented.

Click here to view the plan!

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Student Project Award

Connecting People to Power: South Shore Energy Plan

Project Completed By: Adam Beaver, Alicia Ruiz, B.J. Ryan, Becky Darling, Corie Anderson, David Schottky, Erik Orta, Irene Henry, Isobel Araujo, Liz Kersjes, Lobna Anous, Mary Szeliga, Molly Clark, Morgan Madderom, Samantha Lenoch, and Sarah Howe 

Program: Master of Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)

This bold and innovative way of looking at "energy" sets a strong precedent for things that people used to think were beyond their control.

Click here to view the plan!


2021 APA-IL Service Awards

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Distinguished Service Award

Laurie Marston, FAICP

Laurie is worthy of this recognition because of her work to create, and subsequently reboot, the APA-IL's highly successful Plan Commissioner Training program. She took her work as more than a series of tasks. Her drive to inform commissioners so that they can better serve their communities is in every bit of her effort whether leading a session, updating materials, or doing the research necessary to provide a learning experience specific to the community. The Training program could not have gotten off the ground and succeeded with any less effort, insight, creativity, and energy that Laurie brought to it. Then again, "thoughtful" and "all in" are the best ways to describe Laurie and her ongoing efforts to advance the cause of planning and make communities better places for all who live in them.

Emerging Planner Award

Cristen Hardin

Her leadership and initiative helped to renew and propel the Pro Bono Program into the award-winning program that it is today. Cristen became actively involved in APA-IL in 2018 as a member of the Pro Bono Committee. She provided valuable information and expertise to shape the program and project selection process. In 2020, Cristen volunteered to lead the Stites Township Park District project. Cristen is a regular attendee at APA-IL Coffee Talks, has served on the APA-IL Awards Jury, and has taken strides to get to know her peers and lend her experience and expertise. She embodies what it means to be a planner through her volunteer work and leadership and there is no doubt she will continue to achieve greatness throughout the course of her career. 

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Emerging Planner Award

Phillip Green

Phil is not only a joy to work with because of his positive attitude, quick wit, and thoughtful demeanor but because he is a creative thinker who has a keen mind when dealing with equity, justice, and kindness. Phil has been the Vice-Chair of the APA-IL Membership Committee and now serves as Chair. He has been a major contributor to APA-IL's "The Lowdown" happy hours and has also contributed greatly to numerous APA-IL events and state conferences. You may have most recently seen him as co-host for the 2021 State Conference Trivia  Tour! There is no doubt Phil is just beginning his long and noteworthy career in planning and will surely contribute not just to APA-IL but the profession for many years to come.


APA-IL Chapter Awards Archives