American Planning Association honors UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation with National Planning Achievement Award

A policy-oriented research center at the third-oldest school in the University of California system is among this year’s slate of honorees for the American Planning Association’s National Planning Excellence and Achievement Awards, according a recent news release.

The UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation joins 19 other recipients in being named winners of the 2019 National Planning Achievement Award, “which recognize(s) efforts in areas of specialization within the planning profession,” for its SMART Parks: A Toolkit project, the press release said.

“This year’s award recipients demonstrate how planning helps create communities that offer access and opportunity for all,” said Wendy Shabay, AICP, 2019 Awards jury chair. “Planning is vital to keep communities thriving and to ensure quality of life for residents.”

The APA’s National Awards Program, which was established more than 50 years ago, recognizes achievements by individuals, planning departments, government agencies and private firms for their leadership and innovation on planning issues.

The two-tiered awards are selected through a juried process. Five recipients were selected to receive the National Planning Excellence Awards, the highest honor, while 20 were named Achievement Award winners for their efforts in areas of specialization within the planning profession.

Bestowed the National Planning Achievement Award For A Best Practice — Silver, SMART Parks: A Toolkit “aims to help park managers, designers, and advocates make parks more user-friendly and sustainable,” a press release attributed to UCLA Luskin said.

Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, professor of urban planning and associate dean at UCLA Luskin and the project’s principal investigator, explained that “a smart park uses technology to achieve equitable public access, enhanced health, safety, resilience, water and energy efficiency, and effective opera­tions and maintenance.”

“Each toolkit chapter evaluates the technologies that can be applied toward different uses, such as landscaping, irrigation, stormwater, and activity spaces; provides guidance on staff training and cost constraints related to technology implementation; and suggests creative funding strategies and partnerships to manage SMART Parks more efficiently,” according to the APA’s achievement profile on UCLA Luskin.

All award recipients were to be recognized during APA’s National Planning Conference at a special awards luncheon on Monday, April 15, in San Francisco.

Find out more about each of the 2019 award recipients at

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