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2019 APA Ohio Award Winners

2019 Award Winners

Our biennial awards program honors outstanding planning and planning leadership in Ohio, recognizing the highest levels of achievement.

We received 27 award nominations in 7 categories. APA Ohio presented the following eight awards at the 2019 APA Ohio Statewide Planning Conference in Cleveland, OH on October 3, 2019.

The nominations were reviewed and winners selected by a jury of 7 professional planners from the APA Texas Chapter. The Jury evaluated nominations based on a set of criteria. This year’s award winners:

  • Demonstrate creative problem solving
  • Are well presented, clear & accurate, and communicate ideas successfully
  • Include an interactive public feedback process
  • Demonstrate appropriate and applicable solutions to common issues
  • Illustrate successful planning processes


Making Our Own Space
Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative
Seventh Hill Design

Typical formats for community engagement in planning processes public meetings, surveys, etc. often fail to encompass youth’s input.

Making Our Own Space is an initiative of Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative that addresses this issue by training youth in community design & planning. Students conceive, design, and construct public space improvements in hands-on workshops that empower youth to become active in shaping the built environment around them. MOOS creates a venue where youth not only have their input heard, but they are responsible for bringing some of the earliest visible physical change to their neighborhood during processes of re-investment that often take years to bear fruit.

Three Cleveland area neighborhoods Buckeye-Shaker, Shaker Heights and Clark-Fulton in addition to shorter-term workshops held on several more sites in the metro area. Built work includes temporary art installations, playscape pieces, neighborhood wayfinding, street furniture, and more that have been designed for pop-up community events, streetscapes, vacant lots, and underutilized public parks.

One Texas jury member commented: “Involving youth in a new way for innovative redesign of public spaces that are engaging is a marvelous way to utilize the creative energy in our youth.”


Plan Hamilton
City of Hamilton, Ohio
Compass Point Planning
McGill Smith Punshon

Adopted in March 2019, Plan Hamilton recognizes the city’s historic legacy while ultimately focusing on the future direction of Hamilton.

This fully web-based plan is not just a land use plan. The plan looks at a wide variety of topics that include traditional components such as land use, economic development, and mobility, but it also recognizes the importance of music, arts, and cultures, and the need for collaboration with the city’s many partners in planning.

What you won’t find in this plan is information on existing land uses, population and workforce trends, permits, etc. This plan is intentionally formatted to focus on where the city is headed in the future without burdening the site with an extensive amount of existing data.

Plan Hamilton engaged the public throughout the process with a very comprehensive and extensive public engagement process, reaching more residents than in any planning process before and gathering over 4,500 responses.

Like any thoughtful and complete plan, we must help it grow wings and fly off that proverbial shelf. Plan Hamilton is no exception. City staff are working on moving top priorities forward. Just as the Plan Hamilton process was driven by citizen involvement, citizen input is critical to the implementation process. After the plan was approved in March, the city launched a citizen-led implementation process in April.

One Texas jury member commented that Plan Hamilton is “very innovative and interactive; a 22nd century comprehensive plan.”


insight2050 Corridor Concepts
Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission
OHM Advisors

Central Ohio is projected to welcome one million new residents by 2050. 80 percent of that population growth is expected to be households without children. This creates a critical need for the communities in Central Ohio to work together to create a coordinated plan for this anticipated growth.

Enter: Corridor Concepts, a comprehensive land use and mobility strategy that demonstrates the benefits of walkable, compact neighborhoods to households, the environment, transportation, and local government budgets.

The Corridor Concepts study was made possible through a unique partnership which brought local governments and the business and development communities together to work toward shared goals. This cross-sector approach truly exemplifies the collaborative spirit of the region, known affectionately as The Columbus Way.

This process aligned the city of Columbus and multiple other cities to embrace a process and vision for the future to collectively manage the growth of more than 1 million people to the region. 


Van Aken District

City of Shaker Heights, Ohio
RMS Investment Corporation

Established in 1912 as a planned community with streetcar access to downtown Cleveland, Shaker Heights remained a largely residential city. While this forged a tight-knit community with a national reputation for excellent schools and housing stock, the lack of commercial development and its associated tax revenues hindered the City’s future. In addition, high residential taxes have long been a burden, existing commercial areas have been auto-centric, and the City has struggled to retain and attract younger residents.  In order to stay relevant and competitive, the City recognized a need to change by developing a vibrant, people-scaled downtown where none previously existed.

The Van Aken District is the result of a 15-year planning process which has resulted in $119M of public/private development.

As a pioneering change to the community’s residentially-oriented and historic character, it was recognized early in the planning process that earning community support and obtaining extensive feedback would be paramount to the project’s success. The City’s proactiveness for public participation has fostered fruitful feedback and meaningful connections through more than 60 public meetings and countless conversations.

The Van Aken District represents a physical solution to current issues experienced by many built-out inner-ring suburbs. These include a growing senior population, low retention of young adults, blighted commercial areas and aging infrastructure. Additionally, all new development had to be sensitive to, and complement, the extensive historic character of the City.

As one Texas juror rightly put it: “The planning went from book to implementation with a lot of hard work and advocacy. Truly an innovative P3 for others to look at as an example.”


Cleveland Public Library
Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative
Bialosky Cleveland

Cleveland Public Library engaged the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative and Bialosky Cleveland to help answer the fundamental question: What is the role of the neighborhood branch library in the 21st century?

Far from simply being repositories for books, today’s libraries provide technology training, social services, safe space for youth, and community work spaces. They attract hugely diverse user groups, and could be made even more relevant to a wider range of people truly becoming community hubs for the public. The plan contextualizes the branch system within the institution’s 150 years, and provides an actionable path forward to updating these community spaces to better meet evolving public needs.

The CPL Community Vision Plan & Facilities Master Plan, two interrelated plans produced from 2014-2019, collectively assessed the community needs & physical challenges around every branch library in the Cleveland Public Library (CPL) system, including 27 neighborhood branches and the downtown main campus.

The Community Vision Plan approached library planning from the perspective that every neighborhood is fundamentally different, and will need custom-tailored strategies to meet their needs. A wide range of engagement tools were developed in order to ensure all community members could find points of entry to suit their comfort level.

Taking cues from the field of Experience Design, the planning team envisioned the branch experience in totality: building; grounds; neighborhood; and services. Each of these four experience levels have a significant impact on the overall experience patrons encounter when visiting their local branch; using this framework helped the team understand the existing gaps in the overall user experience, in order to better plan future improvements.

One Texas juror commented that this is an innovative way to use planning principles during a facilities planning process. Normally, those two are not married together in a way that encompasses the whole community, and the scale at which this was done, the whole city, is impressive.”


Autism Planning and Design Standards 1.0
The Ohio State University
Urban Decision Group

During Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 terms, graduate and undergraduate students in The Ohio State University’s City and Regional Planning Junior Studio, City and Regional Planning Senior Studio, and City and Regional Planning Graduate Planning Innovations Workshop investigated the everyday needs of high-functioning adults with autism and how professional planners, policymakers, and designers can improve their lives. 33 graduate and undergraduate students, 37 professionals in allied fields, 30 adults with autism, and 23 parents of adults with autism worked on this project.

The students designed infrastructure and program ideas to produce a final deliverable planning toolkit. The toolkit helps planners become proactive in creating more inclusive places relative to autism.

This project has blazed a trail. The project appreciably reimagines existing practice for civil infrastructure and urban design relative to users with autism. It is the first of its kind in the physical planning field.

The planning principals established in Autism Planning and Design Guidelines 1.0 birthed the American Planning Association’s Planning with Underserved Populations Interest Group. This newly established interest group includes planning work with many underserved populations, including the addicted, veterans, traumatized, impoverished, and others.


Patrik Bowman AICP

Since graduating from The Ohio State University in 1977 with a Master’s Degree in City and Regional Planning, Patrik has spent 42 years shaping the natural and built environments in a number of central Ohio communities.

He began his career with the City of Columbus Planning Division and then served as Planning Director for the City of Dublin where he was part of the early development that helped lay the planning guidelines for future development.  From Dublin, he worked as a planning consultant for NBBJ.  In Central Ohio, he worked with New Albany, extensively with Grove City and developed the Grandview Heights 1997 City Master Plan and updated the Grandview Heights Zoning Code.

Patrik was instrumental in the negotiations that lead to a dense mixed-use project, the Grandview Yard, which consists of over a half a billion dollars in private investment in a 100 acre former industrial site. 

In the last 2 years he has been part of the team that negotiated the expansion of the Grandview Yard Project into a brownfield area and the negotiations for a new 60 acre mixed use project on a former landfill site, Grandview Crossing.

Patrik’s peers are eager to say that his work has left its mark of the future of Central Ohio communities. He has epitomized the role of a well-rounded community planner, able to form a strong planning process, foster community participation, and most importantly construct a creative yet durable plan of action. Patrik is a true “people’s planner”.


Steven Litt

Steven Litt has been an Art and Architecture Critic at The Plain Dealer (Northeast Ohio newspaper) since 1991. Before this position, he was an Art and Architecture Critic for The News & Observer in North Carolina. His education includes a Master’s in Urban Planning from Cleveland State University (MUPDD), a Master’s of Science in Journalism from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Art from Brown University.

Steve says: “I cover art, architecture, urban design and city planning in Cleveland, Northeast Ohio and the industrial Great Lakes region. My goals are to strengthen cultural activity, to build discerning audiences and to participate in the national discussion about the future of cities.”

Newspaper journalists who specialize in urban planning, design and development are on the endangered species list. Steven Litt is one of the last remaining.

Not only does he embody an energy for planning and design (whether you agree with his criticisms or not), his passion for place documents and delivers the built environment to the public we serve, and for us as planners to look back, to sustain, to improve – to EVOLVE.

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