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2019 APA-IL Award Winners Announced!

The APA-IL is proud to announce the 2019 APA-IL 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 Happen” in Illinois. Congratulations to all!

Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan ON TO 2050

ON TO 2050’s innovative approaches make regional data accessible and distill years of research and outreach into meaningful regional priorities. Plan principles of Inclusive Growth, Resilience, and Prioritized Investment will be translated by the region’s municipalities and counties to inform their own slate of planning, infrastructure, and economic development projects in the coming decade.

Strategic Plan Award Wild Mile

Designed to be 17-acre floating eco-park, the Wild Mile will transform the formerly industrialized Goose Island Branch of the Chicago River into an open space that serves people, wildlife, and the environment. The project is a guide not only for the Chicago River, but also for any community looking to remediate urban waterways.

Strategic Plan Award

North River Communities Neighborhood Plan

A strengthening real estate market meant that residents of Chicago’s North River neighborhoods were feeling housing pressures they feared would threaten the area’s cherished diverse character. This neighborhood plan focuses on preserving housing affordability with strategies developed by ULI Chicago, improving transit access, and mitigating flooding.

Implementation Award Fountain Square Plaza

Evanston rallied around an idea to reclaim, expand, improve, and program their underutilized Fountain Square, a historic gathering space in the heart of downtown. Since opening in May, the redeveloped plaza, which includes a new, interactive fountain and other placemaking features, has become THE place to be downtown.

Best Practice Fox River Corridor Plan

This multi-jurisdictional approach a river corridor plan provides a consistent framework for planning decisions along a dedicated length of the Fox River in McHenry County. It utilizes a Climate Vulnerability & Risk Assessment which explores climate-related hazards affecting the ecosystem, infrastructure, and communities in the Fox River corridor.

Community Outreach Award North Lawndale Quality-of-Life Plan

The North Lawndale Quality-of-Life Plan’s participatory planning process empowered residents as citizen-experts. This approach revealed a strong desire to focus on topics beyond those associated with a traditional neighborhood plan, including public safety, education, and health.

Healthy Active Community Award BikeConnect HOI: Heart of Illinois Regional Bike Plan

BikeConnect HOI: Heart of Illinois Regional Bike Plan integrates the many bicycle transportation improvements that were popping up across Greater Peoria, which had largely occurred in the absence of formal regional coordination on the issue. Importantly, it also identifies a proposed network improvements and missing connections.

Student Award Downtown Viola Plan

Students in UIUC’s Small Town & Rural Planning course learned about the opportunities and challenges of planning for small towns and rural communities with their immersive project for the redevelopment of an entire block in Downtown Viola.

Join these Award Winners at the 2019 APA-IL State Conference

Award winning plans will be recognized during an awards program at this year's state conference: 2019 APA-IL State Conference 5:30 - 6:30 PM Awards Ceremony 6:30 - 7:30 PM Awards Reception & Exhibitors Meet and Greet Wednesday, September 25th Hilton Orrington / Evanston Evanston, IL #APAIL19 The 2019 Awards Program is complimentary to all 2019 State Conference attendees. Online conference registration ends on Friday, September 20th so be sure to register now to ensure your seat at the program. If you already registered, but did not add this event to your registration, please email to have the awards program added. After the Awards Program, mingle with award winners and exhibitors at the meet and greet immediately following the awards. This reception joins you and other attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors while you enjoy complimentary appetizers and and a cash bar. Some award winners will be presenting their award-winning plans at the #APAIL19 Speed Planning session on Thursday, September 26th from 1:15 PM - 2:15 PM. If you're attending the conference, be sure to stop by and chat with your favorite award-winning teams!

About Us The American Planning Association - Illinois Chapter (APA-IL) is Illinois' source for networking and professional development in the field of urban planning. The Illinois Chapter strives to enhance planning skills and knowledge through a number of activities including an annual Statewide conference, section meetings, planning awards, professional development, a newsletter, the website, and more. The Chapter exists as part of the larger American Planning Association. For more information about the APA-IL, visit Questions regarding the Awards Program should be directed to APA-IL Awards Chair, Christina Bader, AICP at

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