Technology Division Smart Cities Awards

Deadline for entries: January 6, 2017 – 11:59 p.m. ET

The Technology Division of the American Planning Association is seeking nominations for plans or projects that have utilized and/or deployed technological tools, applications and methods as part of the planning process to be recognized for their innovative achievements.

A jury panel of planners will evaluate all nominations based on guideline criteria below to select award winning projects. Those award recipients will be invited to receive their award and showcase their Smart Cities projects at the Technology Division's Facilitated Discussion session at the 2017 APA National Conference in New York City being held May 6–9, 2017.


A jury panel will evaluate nominations and select three projects that represent outstanding achievements in the utilization of technology as part of the planning process. Based on the submittals and the selected projects, the jury panel will determine the category/areas of planning that the three awards recipients best exemplify. Award recipients will be recognized at the APA National Conference in New York City and through multiple channels, including newsletters and social media. They will also receive a plaque at the event.


A jury panel of planning practitioners will review all nominations to determine three award winning projects. Representatives of each project will be invited to the showcase their project. The nominations will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Originality: The project demonstrates an original and innovative application of a technology, and/or data collection or analysis method that advances the planning profession.
  • Implementation: The project demonstrates the utilization of a technological tool or an innovative method's ability to be successfully deployed in a planning process and policy.
  • Functionality and Use: The project demonstrates the use of the technological tool or method by planners to address a clearly defined need or project objective, ease of use of the technological tool or method's user experience, its value in participatory planning processes, and its value as a tool for planning analysis.
  • Significance to Planning: The project clearly demonstrates innovation and visionary concept in the practice of planning that aids planners and advances the profession.
  • Quality of Presentation: The nominations will be evaluated for overall quality of the submitted materials.


  1. Submitted projects for consideration shall be for an urban or regional plan completed or in process of completion that meet an identified community objective or goal. Nominations can be received either by the organization/team involved with the project, or someone not involved on behalf of the organization/team (see submission requirements below).
  2. Project must demonstrate how a technological tool, application, or method was deployed, which areas in the planning process were they utilized in, time frame and budget for the implementation of deployed technology or method, and what relationships were created and/or managed with stakeholders utilizing technology. Examples could be utilizing a new or existing software application for use on various mediums (i.e. web, mobile, etc.), sensors for data collection, methods which collected data was utilized, or even new strategies of applying new methods, data, or tool.
  3. Submitted projects may include either public and/or private planning organization as their lead coordinator of the project.
  4. Project coordinator(s) and/or representative(s) must be prepared to attend the Technology Division's Smart City Awards held during the 2017 APA Conference in New York City if they are selected. Awards recipients will be notified no later than February 10, 2017. Once notified, award recipients will have one week to confirm their attendance.


Nominations to be considered for the 2017 Smart Cities Awards will need to submit a nomination packet to include the following items:

  1. Cover letter. Information to be provided within the cover letter shall include:
    1. Nominee Name. Name of the organization, agency, firm, or team to be nominated.
    2. Contact Person. Person who will serve as point of contact for all decisions made on this nomination and will work with the Technology Division to obtain any additional information and materials. This person does not need to be part of the nominated team. Include the contact person's organization, title, address, phone and email.
    3. Executive Summary of Project. A brief description and the technological tool, application, or method deployed. No more than a paragraph.
  2. Summary Description. A summary of the project for consideration, including the details of stakeholders and organizations involved, scope of the project, objectives, funding availability, project outcomes, broader implications of the project, and other relevant background to the project. Summary not to exceed two (2) pages, single spaced.
  3. Technology or Method Deployment Details. A detailed discussion of the project's use and deployment of a technology tool, application, or method as part of the project's planning process. This should the impetus/reason to approach the aiding the project with technology, development process/scope of the tool or application, deployment details, stakeholders involved, budget and time frame utilizing technology, and outcome/current status of the project. Detailed discussion may include images and illustrations to help discussion points where necessary. Discussion not to exceed five (5) pages.
  4. Significance in Planning Discussion. A summary of how technology's utilization in the project plays a significant and visionary role in the planning profession, and ways it can be utilized by other organizations and communities. Summary should also include any lessons to be learned from the process. Summary not to exceed one (1) page.
  5. Letter(s) of Support. At least one (1) but no more than three (3) one-page letters in support of the submission from someone familiar with the nomination who is not the nominator or involved with the project organization, agency, firm, or team being nominated.
  6. Plans and/or Additional Materials. Any illustrations, reports, or materials that have been previously published that have been made available to the public or decision makers.
  7. Supporting Images/Illustrations/Video. At least three (3) images representative of the nomination. An optional video may be submitted that explains the project and its utilization of technology for additional consideration. Note that images and videos from award recipients can and may be used during APA Tech Division events at the National Conference, and posted to the Tech Division's website.

Nomination packet items 1 through 6 shall be compiled into a single PDF document. Supporting images/illustrations/video shall be packaged into a single zip file and made available to download through a file sharing site (i.e. Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, FTP site, etc.). Nomination packet should be sent via email to the contact below, and provided a link for the supporting images/illustration/video to download. Please direct any questions to either James Castañeda, AICP, APA Technology Division Smart Cities Award Coordinator, or Nader Afzalan, Technology Division Chair.

Send submissions no later than January 6, 2017, 11:59pm Eastern Time to:

James A. Castañeda, AICP
Coordinator, 2017 Technology Division Smart Cities Awards
APA Technology Division

Call for Proposals (pdf)

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